Donkey Kong – High Score Kit Installed

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Anyone familiar with Donkey Kong knows that one of the most frustrating things about the game is its inability to save high scores on power down. Powering off the machine results in all 5 top scores being erased and the high score resetting to a measly 7,650 points. Fortunately, a high score kit is available to remedy this frustrating problem.

The Donkey Kong High Score Save kit was developed by Scott Brasington of Braze Technologies. The kit is fairly simple to install and permanently remembers the top 5 scores and initials. The kit also adds some extra features, such as deluxe free play, the ability to play game sounds while in attract mode, a self test on powerup and on-screen settings (no more dip switches!). Mine arrived in the mail yesterday.

The kit is fairly simple to install. The first step is to locate the Z80 chip on the Donkey Kong board and remove it from it’s socket. The Z80 chip then gets plugged into the open socket on the high score save kit, making sure to properly align pin 1. Pin 1 is clearly marked on the High Score Save kit and my Z80 chip had an indented circle over pin 1. After installed the Z80 chip in the High Score Save kit you then plug the kit into the socket on the Donkey Kong board where you previously removed the Z80 chip. Again, it’s important to align pin 1. Below are few blurry pictures of my installation:

Upon powering up the Donkey Kong machine I am now greeted with a selftest. After the selftest, the game pauses for 5 seconds where I have the option of entering setup mode. If I don’t enter setup mode within the 5 seconds, the game starts normally. To enter setup mode, I simply hit the player 1 start button.

Once in setup mode, I can configure all of the games options on-screen. These settings previously had to be done via dip switch settings. I can configure the number of lives, when a bonus life is awarded, keep or clear high scores, the coin requirements and whether game sounds play during attract mode. The high score options and attract mode sounds are new enhancements, previously not available via dip switch settings.

This kit was a great addition to an already great game. Friends will be warned that my scores are not to be beat. If I ever get the Missile Command working, I may look at Scott’s Multigame Missile Command kit, which allows you to play both Missile Command and Super Missile Attack. It also includes the on-screen settings and saving of high scores.

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