Donkey Kong Junior was the first game where I really felt like I had some investment in its characters. Modern gamers may find that statement hard to believe as Donkey Kong Junior's characters are so small, pixelated, and have a very minimal amount of dialog.
But, compared to the majority of shooters at the time, it was really Donkey Kong and subsequently Donkey Kong Junior that first attempted to present a real story within a game. As a young kid growing up, I gravitated toward Donkey Kong Junior much more so than the original. I am not really sure what it was, but I am guessing it had to do with the fact that Junior seemed to have much more personality than Mario had in Donkey Kong. He had the funny death sequences where he would flap his arms about, and I felt for him as he attempted to, "rescue his papa".
I always wanted a Junior machine as a kid, so once I had enough money to purchase one, I had to have it. I acquired my first Donkey Kong Junior
machine back in '96 and it was actually the first arcade game that I had ever purchased. However, due to external pressures that it would take me way too long to detail here, I was "forced" to get rid of it.
Thus, when I got back into collecting games in '04, I was on the lookout to replace my missing Junior. I located a decent looking machine on eBay that was having, "monitor issues". I figured a cap kit would probably do the trick so I was able to pick it up at a very reasonable price.
The monitor was displaying a shrunken image in the middle of the screen that was folded in half, a very strange sight. I pulled the monitor and applied a cap kit (Sanyo cap kits are a pain). Once applied, the monitor displayed a near perfect image. All that remained was to tweak some of the game PCBs pots to dial in the image. I was also hearing a loud hum from the speakers, so I went ahead and applied an audio cap kit.
The cabinet itself was in pretty decent shape with the exception of the side art which was only partially present. I patched and painted a couple of minor scrapes on the cabinet, applied some new side art, replaced the bulb and starter in the marquee, and Junior was looking and playing great.
I had been tempted for some time to have my Junior board converted to a Double Donkey Kong, but I didn't like the fact that the sounds aren't 100% accurate. Compound that with the controversy depicted in, "The King of Kong" related to modified boards, and I was led to pick up an original Donkey Kong PCB that I could swap in my Junior. I am nowhere near Weibe territory yet (and in all likelihood will never be), but for some strange reason I feel comforted by the fact that I could submit a score with my board.
To date, I have performed the following repairs on this game:
- Installed a cap kit (fixed shrunken monitor issue)
- Tweaked game PCB pots to dial in image
- Installed an audit cap kit
- Patched and painted a few minor cabinet dings
- Applied new side art
- Replaced florescent bulb and starter in marquee
- Purchased a Donkey Kong PCB that I can swap in and out