Taito’s cutesy Don Doko Don joins the arcade Archives

don doko don taito arcade archives

Gnome Sweet Gnome

For this week’s Arcade Archives entry, publisher Hamster is returning to the seemingly endless catalog of coin-op kings Taito — Now available on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, it’s one of the studio’s many, many cutesy co-op platformers: Don Doko Don!

Released to the arcade market in 1989, before eventually being ported to the Famicom and PC Engine platforms, Don Doko Don is a co-op single-screen platformer, in keeping with Taito’s similar releases Bubble Bobble, Tumble Pop!, and The Fairyland Story. One or two players don (no pun intended) the pointy hats of hard-working gnomes Bob & Jim, who have taken it upon themselves to rescue the abducted king and princess of Merry Land. And so, with mallet in hand, the non-plumbing bros. set out to face an army of particularly angry-looking mushrooms. They’re certainly not fun guys…



As they make their way through the kingdom, Jim & Bob use their mallets to stun the opposition, before tossing the confuddled baddies into each other to knock them out, where they will be replaced with point-boosting fruits. If this all sounds familiar… Well, a lot of these Taito platformers were incredibly similar, albeit with their own adorable sense of style, punctuated by fun pixel art and jolly soundtracks. Oh, and — of course — if you dawdle too long on a stage, an unkillable villain appears. Though clearly not as frightening as the notorious Baron von Blubba.

Don Doko Don was followed by a single player side-scrolling sequel in 1992, titled Don Doko Don 2, naturally. This title would not see the neon of arcade centers outside of Japan, and was also not featured in the excellent Taito Legends retro compilations, rendering it something of a rarity today.

Don Doko Don is available to download now on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, priced at $8.

Chris Moyse
Senior Editor - Chris has been playing video games since the 1980s and writing about them since the 1880s. Graduated from Galaxy High with honors. Twitter: @ChrisxMoyse