Video Game Trading Cards: Nintendo's Donkey Kong (1982)

DonkeyKongTradingCardsWrapperSpanning back to 1982, one year after Nintendo's Donkey Kong hit the arcades, a trading card set was released based upon the game. The cards were manufactured by Topps and sold in wax packets including one stick of bubble gum. While the gum might not be a recommended snack today, the cards are well worth looking into.

Each packet came with 3 'Rub-off' cards and 3 Sticker cards accompanying the bubble gum. Featuring only 35 cards in the set, it was a relitavely small set of cards. Featuring Donkey Kong himself, the Princess and Jumpman (Mario), these cards were an instant hit with gamers.

The Rub-off cards were special game cards based upon Donkey Kong's gameplay. The cards featured special scratch panels, similar to those found on Lottery Scratchcards, revealing different routes/elements to the small game included within the card. The sticker cards are exactly as you'd expect them to be, stickers. However on the revesre side of the sticker cards was a much smaller part of a bigger picture...

DonkeyKongTradinggGameCards1The game cards had set rules hoping to recreate the fun of the arcade game in card form. The aim of the card game was to reach the Princess at the top of the card by scratching off one circle panel at a time. Prizes and points would be hiding under certain spaces while fireballs and barrels would be lurking under others. After a player has scratched off 3 barrles or fireballs, it's game over. In true arcade style, the card also featured space at the bottom of the card to enter your name and highscore.

In the Donkey Kong trading card set, there were only four different game cards, yellow, blue and pink (x2) girder variants, each housing different routes/prizes/obstacles. The remaining 32 cards, were the collectable stickers.

DonkeyKongTradingCardStickers1Each sticker card featured anywhere between one large sticker to tweleve small ones. Out of these 32 sticker cards, 30 of these featured pieces on their reverse side, towards making larger pictures. The remaining two illustrated how these pieces line up to make the bigger picture.

The two large pictures are both illustrations of the Donkey Kong game, one being an artists representation of the game, while the other is arcade artwork. As great as these pictures once completed would look framed, unfortunately the way the cards were cut leaves a very wonky and unaligned picture. Nevertheless these pictures made up reveal a nice look back on video games merging with collectables in the 1980s.

DonkeyKongTradingCards1DonkeyKongTradingCards2Luckily for the collectors amongst us reading this article and wanting to hunt down these cards, they're still quite easy to come across. Where trading cards are concerned, collectors/resellers have been hoarding away sets for years. This set in particular (currently) holds little demand and individual packs can be had for as little as £2 - £3 each. Although we will strongly recommend that you do not eat the gum included, it's 28 years old.

Last Updated ( 04 April 2010 )  


Better known as Adam offline, Cauterize is one of RetroCollect's final bosses with an unhealthy addiction to pixels. When he's not out searching the web for the latest retro gaming news or creating content for RetroCollect, he'll will most likely be found working on his Sensible Soccer skills.

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