April 14, 2009 6:00 AM | Eric Caoili
Steven Read created what he claims is "the world's first LED Donkey Kong video game" for the Meggy Jr., Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories’ fully programmable handheld console with an 8x8 RGB LED matrix display. Other neat Meggy Jr. game projects include Darius Kazemi's roguelike and Rifflesby's Bejeweled clone.
Read has a video showing how closely Super Monkey Kong emulates the first stage of Nintendo's original arcade game, despite the portable system's limitations. There are a few differences -- the stage isn't limited to one screen, the hammer doesn't actually break barrels, and to beat the stage, players need to run under Monkey Kong's stomping legs and jump to hit him five times.
"There have been many raster, vector, VFD, LCD, even ASCII versions, but never LED," says Read. "The multi-colored LED matrix screen and the AVR microcontroller used here are fairly high tech compared to what existed back in the golden age of electronic video games when folks were coding up Donkey Kong clones left and right... The roughly 3000 lines of code I wrote for Super Monkey Kong were about as enjoyable as any I've ever written, and it compiles down to only 14K."