Retro Coin Op Synopsis
Tastes and trends may come and go, but one truth spans the generations: kids love monkeys. Through the ages, clever adults have applied this truth to books (Tarzan of the Apes), movies (The Monkey’s Uncle), television (Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp), toys (Barrel of Monkeys) and more. In the 1940’s, some bright mind at Industrial Engineering decided to bring the monkeys to the arcade.
Monkey Climb pitted adorable toy monkeys Wilber, Gramps, Jazoo and Speed against each other in a race to the top of each simian’s own palm tree. To play, gamers pulled a plunger to send a metal ball into play. Depending on where the ball landed in the glass-enclosed playfield, that player’s monkey scooted up a step or two, wagging its fuzzy head adorably. Up to four players could join a game of Monkey Climb at once, but even a single monkey fan could play, racing the machine-controlled “Champ” up to palm frond glory.
Unfortunately, not every kid in America got a chance to give the monkeys a go. Monkey Climb didn’t catch on as well as Industrial Engineering had hoped, and the machines were gone before too long. Distraught kids were left without their arcade monkey fix, and the primates wouldn’t get their due until the video age made a great ape named Donkey Kong into an international star.