Ever wanted to feel as small as Mario when confronted by his 7-foot-tall nemesis? On Monday, the Strong National Museum of Play shared its new plans to create a whopping 20ft tall donkey kong arcade cabinet. Even though it will be nearly four times larger than the 1981 original, the cabinet will still be playable, without quarters.
Nintendo is notoriously protective of its intellectual property., but museum staff leading the project said they worked directly with the Japanese game company to ensure this enhanced version played as close to the original as possible. Jon-Paul Dyson, director of the National Center for Electronic Games History at The Strong, told Gizmodo in a phone interview that the museum team received advice from Nintendo of America and then presented their work. to the company itself to get the go-ahead on the oversized cabinet. The team plans to build the oversized donkey kong in the coming months and will unveil the installation at the museum site in Rochester, New York on June 30.
There are more than a few challenges when emulating a game designed for CRT TVs on a flat screen, let alone a full-scale game. Strong Museum engineers use a real motherboard from the original donkey kongthat they adapt to a Home arcade system Supergun JAMMA interface. A spare emulator motherboard also helps power the system as it converts the RGB output to a large 1.56mm pixel pitch LED display. Players won’t be playing with the oversized control panel on the cabinet itself, but a separate setup that humans the size of New Donk City can actually use.
Andrew Borman, curator of digital games at The Strong, told us that the original motherboard remains unchanged except for basic maintenance. The OG Cabinet’s use of this technology “delivers the authentic video, sound and gaming experience that people have come to expect”.
Emulating old games on new hardware is already a tricky task without needing to scale them to the degree that The Strong Museum intends to do. Dyson said that in the emulator community there are aspects of every game called “meaningful properties” that represent what makes the game feel like the original. This includes everything from how the colored pixels appear on the screen to the tightness of the controls. The game historian told us that Strong even takes into account the perspective of his players. On 1981 arcade cabinets, players were often directly or at a downward angle to the screen. Unless you’re as big as DK himself, you’ll probably be staring at The Strong’s oversized screen.
“One of the biggest challenges is understanding the original hardware configuration and the impact that modifying a single piece might have on the overall experience,” Borman said. “The same detail went into the controls, as the feel and response of the donkey kong The joystick and buttons are an important part of the overall experience. »
Dyson said Strong wasn’t looking to compare himself much to other oversized cabinets like CES 2020 NBA Jam 16 feet tall Since makers of old fashioned arcade machines Arcade1Up. But more than that, the game historian said that even though the original donkey kong The arcade cabinet came relatively late in the era of arcade games, it was a watershed moment in the timeline of games. This was the first time players could control Nintendo Mario poster in the American market, which would help Nintendo when the company brought its Nintendo Entertainment System to American shores in 1985. It also cemented Shigeru Miyamoto as a major gaming figure that remains to this day.
The massive cabinet is part of the museum’s expanded ESL Digital Worlds gallery exhibition, intended to express the larger history of gaming in pop culture. The Kong-sized cabinet is an expression of that gaming heritage.
“When the meteorite fell on the arcades, donkey kong was one of the few mammals that could survive,” Dyson said. “In this way, Mario is this living link that we have with the past.”
The Kong-sized cabinet is part of The Strong’s $65 million expansion to be unveiled June 30 in Rochester, New York. According to museum officials, the massive cabinet will be front and center as soon as visitors walk through the door.