Christina Spicuzza
A gorilla named Bawang got a chance to play a Nintendo DSi XL when a boy dropped his game machine into the San Francisco Zoo's gorilla enclosure. Bawang's adopted son, Hansai, was hoping for a turn too.
By InGame reporter
NBC News
updated 8/9/2010 5:39:27 PM ET 2010-08-09T21:39:27

Nintendo appears to have found a new spokesman for their game machines — a giant ape.

No, not THAT ape.

At the San Francisco Zoo Friday, it was a gorilla named Bawang, not Donkey Kong, who could be seen playing Nintendo's latest handheld gaming gadget — the super-sized Nintendo DSi XL.

Photographer Christina Spicuzza was watching the gorillas when a boy dropped his game machine into the gorilla enclosure. A gorilla named Bawang was quick to snatch up the device.

"The gorilla was very interested in trying to figure it out," Spicuzza said, explaining that the ape flipped it over and put it up to her eyes several times.

It wasn't long before a young gorilla named Hansai made a grab for the machine. But Bawang is Hansai's adoptive mother and the big ape apparently had no intention of letting the little one play video games at his young age. She kept the machine well out of her child's reach.

Spicuzza managed to shoot several photos of the gorillas with the DSi XL and a short video before her camera battery died. You can check out more of her photos here and here.

After a few minutes, one of the zoo's trainers showed up in the gathering crowd above the ape enclosure. Bawang ran over toward the trainer and threw the DS into the crowd. The trainer quickly threw Bawang an apple in return.

Christina Spicuzza
No video games for you. A San Francisco Zoo gorilla named Bawang refuses to let her adopted baby gorilla Hansai have a turn with the Nintendo DSi XL. A boy dropped his game machine into the gorilla enclosure Friday.

"She told us that they trained them to do that," Spicuzza said. "If anything falls in there they are trained that they get a reward if they throw it back up."

Indeed, the San Francisco Zoo had this to say about the incident via their Twitter account: "A funny photo, but foreign objects in animal exhibits poses serious health risks. Enjoy pic, but pls respect the animals."

As for the DSi XL, apparently it survived the entire experience. Spicuzza said the boy and his family members checked the machine over and announced that it still worked.

All of this reminds me of those old Samsonite luggage commercials. The Nintendo DSi XL — strong enough to stand up to Donkey Kong himself.

You can find Winda Benedetti monkeying around right here on Twitter.

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