The Rarest Game in Nintendo History: Play it on Two Machines


In July 1981, Donkey Kong was released, marking a significant moment in the young video game industry. The game, featuring the rivalry between Nintendo’s gorilla and Super Mario, captured the attention of video game fans. However, its lesser-known counterpart, Sky Skipper, faced a different fate with very limited availability today. There are only two machines in the world where you can play Sky Skipper, making it almost completely extinct.

Sky Skipper, designed by Shigeru Miyamoto and Genyo Takeda in collaboration with manufacturer Ikegami Tsushinki, offered a simple gaming experience. Players controlled a bomb-throwing plane to save animals and people from cages guarded by evil gorillas. Despite its heavyweight creators, the game failed to capture the attention of the Japanese public upon its release.

After struggling to gain traction in both Japan and the US, Nintendo reconfigured the Sky Skipper arcade machines to showcase a different game. However, a group of enthusiasts took on the challenge of restoring a Popeye arcade machine to its original Sky Skipper form. Only two arcade machines in the world are now capable of playing Sky Skipper, making it a rare and almost lost piece of video game history.

In 2018, the Hamster Corporation released an official Nintendo Switch ROM of Sky Skipper as part of the Arcade Archives compilation. While it may not be the original format, it provides an opportunity to experience this piece of video game history. Whether played in its original arcade form or through re-releases, Sky Skipper serves as a reminder of the ever-changing and historically rich landscape of video games.

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