Rochester’s Strong Museum Is Now Home to the World’s Largest ‘Donkey Kong’ Arcade Game—and Yes, It’s Playable

The 20-feet-tall arcade cabinet was created with input from Nintendo America as part of a museum expansion.

The 20-feet-tall 'Donkey Kong' arcade cabinet installed at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. Photo courtesy of The Strong National Museum of Play.

Heroes can now save Pauline from Donkey Kong’s grasp by playing a giant-sized version of the original 1981 game at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.

The game is playable in a nearly 20-foot tall arcade cabinet that Shane Rhinewald, the senior director of public relations for the museum, called “big enough for Kong himself.” The museum is touting the installation as the world’s largest playable Donkey Kong arcade game.

The game has been recreated at its massive scale with input from Nintendo America, as part of a 90,000-square-foot expansion at the museum known for its highly interactive exhibits geared toward the exploration of play.

“Given Donkey Kong’s immense size and its huge impact on the history of arcade games, it lends itself perfectly to this whimsical format,” Rhinewald told Artnet News. “It’s been fun to see kids and adults alike stand beneath the towering game and smile at the uniqueness of it.”

The Donkey Kong arcade cabinet is seen suspended between the first and second floors. Photo courtesy of The Strong National Museum of Play.

To play the game, visitors stand beneath the screen and use a regular-sized joystick set on a pedestal on a recreated cabinet. The arcade cabinet has been suspended in the middle of the platform between the first and second floors, apparently so that the joysticks can be reached by human arms.

While the arcade cabinet retains the original gameplay, wherein the main character Jumpman is tasked with rescuing a damsel in distress, Rhinewald conceded “some added intensity,” especially since the game’s flying barrels now appear life-size.

“The giant Donkey Kong works from an original motherboard, just scaled up 370 percent,” Rhinewald said. “The museum’s digital curator and arcade technician used a series of adapters and scalers to ensure that the game itself plays exactly like the original.”

The Strong National Museum of Play’s 90,000-square-foot expansion seen from outside. Photo courtesy of The Strong National Museum of Play.

Rhinewald said the idea for creating the giant video game popped up early in the expansion process for the museum. “The team settled on Donkey Kong to get the supersized treatment because it’s one of the most iconic and recognizable arcade games,” he said.

The Strong’s expansion, which opened June 30, includes a new World Video Game Hall of Fame, as well as a 24,000-square-foot exhibition called “ESL Digital Worlds: High Score” dedicated to the history and artistry of electronic games from mainframe computers to today’s modern consoles.

The new World Video Game Hall of Fame at the Strong National Museum of Play. Photo courtesy of The Strong National Museum of Play

Other additions include a 17,000-square-foot exhibition called “Hasbro Game Place” that features larger-than-life landscapes inspired by classic board games—from an 18-foot, fire-breathing dragon from Dungeons & Dragons to Candy Land’s Forest of Candy Canes. More game makers are represented in the museum’s “Game Time!” exhibition on the history of board games and puzzles.

“The Strong’s expansion emphasizes the importance of electronic games on how we all learn and play—but the museum is much more than electronic games,” Rhinewald said. “It explores all facets and types of play.”


More Trending Stories:  

Artist Stuart Semple Is Releasing a ‘Barbie-Ish,’ Ultra-Fluorescent Pink Paint to Protest Mattel’s Trademark on the Color 

An Australian Photographer Was Disqualified From a Photo Contest After Her Submission Was Mistakenly Deemed A.I.-Generated 

Artist Tara Geer Goes Through Hundreds of Pencils a Day Creating Charcoal Drawings in Her Harlem Studio, Dog by Her Side 

Famed Art Dealer Massimo de Carlo Has Revealed Plans for a Monumental Private Art Foundation in Italy. Here’s What We Know 

Artist Michael Moebius Is Suing Fast Fashion Retailer Shein in a Landmark Case for Artists Going After Multinational Companies 

He Overpaid, Bid Against Himself, and Hid a Monet in His Basement. Here’s What We Still Need to Learn From Visionary Art Dealer Joseph Duveen 

Two 10th-Century Stone Idols, Which Were Stolen From a Temple in India and Found in a Garden Shed in the U.K., Will Be Repatriated 

How Indie Band Manchester Orchestra Brought Its Latest Album to Life by Blending Music and Immersive VR Art 

Influencers Are Realizing That A.I. Might Not Be a Magic Money-Making Machine For Artists After All 

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.