A lot of the classic arcade games are pretty straight forward and have a logical plot. For example Turtle Dragon steals your good woman so you have to stomp the mushrooms until he gives her back to you. Hey that's cool, and we get it. However some of the other classic games we're familiar with seem to actually hide the lunacy and madness behind their fun and juvenile veneers, with a video game backstory. Let's take a look at one.
Everyone's familiar with the story of Donkey Kong, right, but who's ever considered it to have a video game backstory, surely it is just a plot based around Japan's answer to King Kong? The giant ape escapes and creates mayhem, kidnapping a woman and clambering to the top of a high rise only to be cut down to size by a plumber, who's not entirely sure of his job description.
Having a read of the game's manual, one discovers that Donkey Kong is in fact Mario's pet ape, but how would you have known otherwise without venturing too deep into legal issues evolving around primate ownership?
The reason that Donkey Kong escapes to start with was only because his owner Mario had been abusing him. This is not some whimsical claim we are making up, the manual actually spells it out as plain as day. It says Donkey Kong is actually Mario's pet who has been mistreated.
Now the manual doesn't exactly get into the specifics as to what exactly happened and how DK had been abused. Who knows, maybe these 80's game developers figured this was all a bit too heavy to lay on to its young audience, although it's pretty easy to fill in the blanks, once you have a bit of the backstory.
Think about it for a second, we have Mario sticking Donkey Kong in a cage and then next thing he's chaining him up. What's that he's carrying in his hand to coax him into the cage? It's certainly not a banana, it's a flipping whip!
Isn't this kind of the way that Planet of The Apes all got started? This poor beast ends up suffering years of neglect and physical abuse and you expect him to be all calm and collect and act properly when he finally gets a shot at freedom?
One can hardly blame an abused dog if it takes a chunk out of the mailman, so how can we blame Donkey Kong for grabbing hold of Mario's girlfriend Pauline and simply running off with her? He never even hurt anybody, all he did was just run, and of course everybody knows what happened next, don't they?
The invincible Mario totally consumed by rage, demolishes every object in his path in his pursuit of his frightened pet. Fireballs will not stop him, barrels will not stop him, ramshackle construction sites will not hold him back, not even the consequence of death, until he chases down and corners the poor abused terrified monkey, finally dropping him from the top of the skyscraper.
Maybe there's a valuable lesson about pet care to be learned from this early classic game, although one has to read closely between the lines. One also needs to fully understand what's behind the plot too. Now you know the video game backstory, you can clearly see there's more than meets the eye.