29 years, that's how long it has been since Donkey Kong was released in arcades, to think it has been nearly 30 years since Nintendo changed gaming and helped shaped the gaming present.
Back in the eighties Donkey Kong was huge, its impact is comparable to that of Pac-Man, Space Invaders or Pong, it was that game that everyone wanted on their console. Atari, Coleco and several other companies fought each other for the rights to do a conversion, there were many Donkey Kong conversions, some were good and some were god awful. But at the end of the day it was Nintendo who wins the title for best conversion, but lets be honest no one knows a game better than the people who made it.
Donkey Kong Jr was another case, all those companies duked it out to see who could make the most successful donkey Kong conversion, again Nintendo won.
Both Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr were ported to NES, it seems that those games were the reason why the NES was made. While game games were both given separate releases they were eventually re-released as one game, Donkey Kong Classics.
Donkey Kong Classics is a compilation containing the NES versions of Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr, like the original releases both games have a game A and game B, game A is like the normal game and game B is like a hard mode. The games also had a two player option where players took turns to see who would get the best high score.
Donkey Kong on NES is a fairly faithful conversion, the graphics replicate the original well, there isn't much to say about it, you have the legendary first stage where you jump over the barrel's that Donkey Kong throws at you, the theme of the original game was to get to the top of the screen.
After the first stage you have the second stage which consists of classic platforming, you have several platforms scattered all over the stage and you have to jump to them so that you can complete the stage, this time Donkey Kong isn't throwing barrels at you instead he is sending giant springs off you kill you, the springs move by jumping so there is always a blind spot where they jump, they can't kill you if they stand there.
One thing that is disappointing about the NES version of Donkey Kong is the decision to drop the 3rd stage, meaning that the NES version of Donkey Kong has only 3 stages. Missing stages and all Donkey Kong is a timeless classic that you can play over and over again, the games fun rests in its challenge, each time you beat the final stage the game starts over with a higher difficulty meaning that you will play until your lives run out.
Donkey Kong Jr is the opposite of Donkey Kong, you're not the small man trying to save the fair maiden from the big ape this time you are the small ape trying to save the big ape from the small man.
Donkey Kong Jr added to the foundations that had been set by Donkey Kong, I would go as far to say that this is the better game, the stages are bigger, the game is more colourful, there is a bigger emphasis on platforming and this conversion contains all 4 original stages. The biggest change to the gameplay was the vines, you get around Jr had to climb vines, this opened up the game play to new ideas.
Graphically Donkey Kong Jr is better than Donkey Kong, but both are still good considering that this is a conversion of an arcade game.
The two games are timeless classics. Both are available on Nintendo Virtual Console.