Jack the Giantkiller

Arcade Video game published 39 years ago by Cinematronics, Inc.

Jack the Giantkiller screenshot

Listed and emulated in MAME.

Jack the Giantkiller © 1982 Cinematronics.

This game plays a lot like "Donkey Kong" except that the controls are not quite as smooth. There are 5 screens to master if you want to help Jack in his mission. You do not get to play each screen at first, they are added on as you progress through the game. The first time through the game skips from screen 1 right to screen 4.
* The 1st screen is fairly simple, you just have to climb to the top of the beanstalk. There are a few enemies, but they can be defeated by simply tossing beans at them. You can find the beans scattered all around the stalk, and picking one up adds one to your ammunition count (or two, depending on the dip switch settings).
* In the 2nd screen, Jack manuevers through the clouds and attempts to cross the drawbridge into the castle, but lions and birds stand in his way.
* The 3rd screen has Jack climbing the castle stairway in a scene that was obviously inspired by "Donkey Kong". Avoid the cat and the mouse and you can make it to the top.
* On the 4th screen you have to jump from platform to platform until you reach the giant's lair. There will be several treasures, grab the flashing one and try to make your escape.
* The 5th screen is the first one again, except that this time you are climbing down the beanstalk, and you have falling rocks to dodge, and the giant himself may even be after you (that one depends on the level).

After making it back to your house you get to watch a little intermission before going after the next treasure. There are four different treasures altogether. The last one is the princess, when you have her the giant himself will follow you down the beanstalk, and you must chop it down to defeat him. After rescuing the princess the game starts over with increased difficulty.


Jack The Giantkiller was available in 2 different dedicated cabinets, and upright and a cocktail. The cocktail one really lent itself to easy conversion due to the large control panels, so the upright is far more common. The upright machine came in a conservatively designed cabinet that had curves instead of sharp angles. This same cabinet was also used for "Zzyzzyxx", "Naughty Boy", and "Boxing Bugs". The marquee showed Jack about to get squished by a giant boot as he runs over clouds toward the beanstalk, while carrying the golden goose. The sideart was a large sticker and it showed Jack scaling an immense beanstalk while a bearded giant points at him with a menacing look on his face. The monitor bezel shows a few more images of Jack and the Giant, while the control panel contained game instructions. The one really nice thing about the artwork on this machine was that it all actually appears to have been done by the same artist, in the same style, with the same color scheme. So many games seem to have trouble with that. The cocktail version of the game came in a small table format that had woodgrained sides, and control panels on either end. Most cocktail tables tended to have tiny control panels that were in strange places, but the panels on this game were full sized, and were right up next to the monitor with only a slight downward slant to them. The game's top glass had beanstalk graphics bordering the screen, and the control panel overlays were exactly the same as the upright machine, except for a few stripes, and the lack of start buttons on panel for the second player. Some game cabinets just scream out 'easy conversion' to the arcade operator, and this was one of them. The large control panels and 19'' monitor meant that you could easily convert this one into almost anything, so that is what happened to almost all of them. Only the "Joust" cocktail seemed to be even better for conversions, as it had the players sitting side by side. Both machines used a standard 19'' arcade monitor and used a unique wiring harness that was not JAMMA compatible.

Main CPU : Zilog Z80 (@ 3 Mhz)
Sound CPU : Zilog Z80 (@ 1.5 Mhz)
Sound Chips : General Instrument AY8910 (@ 1.5 Mhz)

Screen orientation : Vertical
Video resolution : 224 x 256 pixels
Screen refresh : 60.00 Hz
Palette Colors : 32

Players : 2
Control : 8-way joystick
Buttons : 2 (jump and shoot)


Released in May 1982.

This game is known in Japan as "Treasure Hunt".

Jack the Giantkiller is based on the classic fairytale known as 'Jack And The Beanstalk'.

Mike Klager holds the official record for this game with 9,401,050 points.


Game's ROM.
Machine's picture.