|First release||Donkey Kong|
July 9, 1981
|Latest release||Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze|
May 3, 2018
Donkey Kong[a] is a series of video games featuring the adventures of a gorilla character called Donkey Kong, conceived by Shigeru Miyamoto in 1981. The franchise consists mainly of two game genres, but also includes additional spin-off titles of various genres.
The games of the first genre are mostly single-screen platform/action puzzle types, featuring Donkey Kong as the opponent in an industrial construction setting. Donkey Kong first made his appearance in the 1981 arcade machine called Donkey Kong, in which he faced Jumpman (Mario), now Nintendo's flagship character. This game was also the first appearance of Mario, pre-dating the well-known Super Mario Bros. by four years. In 1994, the series was revived as the Donkey Kong Country series, featuring Donkey Kong and his clan of other apes as protagonists in their native jungle setting versus a variety of anthropomorphic enemies, usually against the Kremlings, a clan of crocodiles, and their leader King K. Rool. These are side-scrolling platform games. Titles outside these two genres have included rhythm games (Donkey Konga), racing games (Diddy Kong Racing), and edutainment (Donkey Kong Jr. Math).
A hallmark of the Donkey Kong franchise is barrels, which the Kongs use as weapons, vehicles, furniture, and lodging. The Donkey Kong character is highly recognizable and very popular; the franchise has sold over 40 million units worldwide.
Donkey Kong first appeared in the eponymous arcade game in 1981 as an antagonist. He would become a protagonist in later games. Donkey Kong Jr. first appeared in the arcade style game Donkey Kong Jr. released in 1982. The plot was that Donkey Kong Jr. saves his father, Donkey Kong, from Mario (initially known as Jumpman in the Japanese arcade version of Donkey Kong). Cranky Kong is the original Donkey Kong who has alternately been called the modern DK's grandfather and father. He is elderly and frequently berates the younger generation of heroes. Diddy Kong was first introduced in Donkey Kong Country and is featured in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest as the main character. Dixie Kong first appeared in Donkey Kong Country 2 as a sidekick to Diddy Kong and has been referred to as his girlfriend. She later starred in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble alongside Kiddy Kong. Other notable members of the Kong family include Funky Kong, Candy Kong, Wrinkly Kong, Tiny Kong, and Lanky Kong. King K. Rool is the main antagonist of the Donkey Kong Country series, though additional villains have appeared as well, including Wizpig (Diddy Kong Racing), Ghastly King (Donkey Kong Jungle Beat), the Tiki Tak Tribe, and the Snowmads.
|1982||Donkey Kong Jr.|
|1983||Donkey Kong II|
|Donkey Kong 3|
|Donkey Kong Jr. Math|
|1988||Donkey Kong Classics (NES)|
|1994||Donkey Kong (GB)|
|Donkey Kong Country|
|1995||Donkey Kong Land|
|Donkey Kong Country 2|
|1996||Donkey Kong Land 2|
|Donkey Kong Country 3|
|1997||Donkey Kong Land III|
|Diddy Kong Racing|
|1999||Donkey Kong 64|
|2004||Mario vs. Donkey Kong|
|Donkey Konga 2|
|Donkey Kong Jungle Beat|
|2005||DK King of Swing|
|2006||Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis|
|2007||Donkey Kong Barrel Blast|
|Diddy Kong Racing DS|
|DK Jungle Climber|
|2009||Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!|
|2010||Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!|
|Donkey Kong Country Returns|
|2013||Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move|
|2014||Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze|
|2015||Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars|
The original arcade Donkey Kong game was created when Shigeru Miyamoto was assigned by Nintendo to convert Radar Scope, a game that had been released to test audiences with poor results, into a game that would appeal more to Americans. The result was a major breakthrough for Nintendo and for the videogame industry. Sales of the machine were brisk, with the game becoming one of the best-selling arcade machines of the early 1980s. The gameplay itself was a large improvement over other games of its time, and with the growing base of arcades to sell to, it was able to gain huge distribution. In the game, 'Jumpman' (the character would later become Mario) must ascend a construction site while avoiding obstacles such as barrels and fireballs to rescue Pauline, his girlfriend, from Donkey Kong. Miyamoto created a greatly simplified version for the Game & Watch multiscreen. Other ports include the Atari 2600, Colecovision, Amiga 500, Apple II, Atari 7800, Intellivision, Commodore 64, Commodore VIC-20, Famicom Disk System, IBM PC booter, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, MSX, Atari 8-bit family and Mini-Arcade versions. The game was ported to the Family Computer in 1983 as one of the system's three launch titles; the same version was a launch title for the Famicom's North American version, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Both Donkey Kong and its sequel, Donkey Kong Jr., are included in the 1988 NES compilation Donkey Kong Classics. The NES version was re-released as an unlockable game in Donkey Kong 64 for the Nintendo 64, Animal Crossing for the GameCube and as an item for purchase on the Wii's Virtual Console. The original arcade version of the game appears in the Nintendo 64 game Donkey Kong 64. Nintendo released the NES version on the e-Reader and for the Game Boy Advance Classic NES series in 2002 and 2004, respectively. The game was once more ported to Nintendo consoles Wii, Wii U and 3DS in 2013 and 2014, under the name Donkey Kong Original Edition.
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Released in 1994, Donkey Kong Country (in Japan, Super Donkey Kong) launched an entirely new DK series established by the British company Rare and Tim Stamper, taking the Donkey Kong premise in an entirely new direction and becoming a showcase title to show off then-revolutionary CGI graphics. In Donkey Kong Country, the original Donkey Kong's grandson, also called Donkey Kong, is the hero and he and his sidekick Diddy Kong have to save his hoard of bananas from the thieving King K. Rool and his Kremling Krew. The game was an action sidescrolling title similar to the Mario games and was enormously popular for its graphics, music and gameplay. The sequel, Diddy's Kong Quest (Super Donkey Kong 2 in Japan) involves DK being kidnapped by K. Rool, who is now a "Kaptain", and getting rescued by Diddy Kong and his girlfriend Dixie Kong, in a less cheery and a more darkly-themed game. In Dixie Kong's Double Trouble (in Japan, Super Donkey Kong 3) Donkey and Diddy both get kidnapped by K. Rool, now Baron K. Roolenstein, and Dixie and her cousin Kiddy Kong have to save them in the final game of the series for the SNES.
The Donkey Kong Country trilogy games are primarily platforming games in which players complete side-scrolling levels. Each world is uniquely themed and consists of tasks such as swimming, riding in mine carts, launching out of barrel cannons, or swinging from vine to vine. Players lose a life when hit by any enemy or falling off the screen. To defeat an enemy, players can either execute a roll, jump or ground slam which can also unveil secret items. However, some enemies cannot be taken down like this, so the player must either throw a barrel or use the assistance of a friendly animal. The player can gain additional lives by collecting items scattered throughout the levels, including 100 bananas; all four golden letters that spell out K-O-N-G; extra life balloons; and golden animal tokens that lead to bonus levels. There are also many secret passages that can lead to bonus games where the player can earn additional lives or other items.
In the newer games that succeed the original trilogy, new gameplay elements were added such as levels in which the characters and foreground environments appear as silhouettes, spawning several new gameplay mechanics. In Donkey Kong Country Returns and Tropical Freeze, collecting K-O-N-G letters will not award any lives to the player, but instead unlock various bonuses and hidden levels. Additionally, in these games collecting puzzle pieces unlocks artwork from the games. In Tropical Freeze the Kongs are able to pluck items from the ground and pick up and throw stunned enemies. Additionally, filling up a 'Kong-POW' meter allows Donkey Kong and his partner to perform a special move which defeats all on-screen enemies and converts them into items depending on the partner.
Donkey Kong Country players control one of the various characters, depending on the game: Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Dixie Kong, Kiddy Kong and Cranky Kong. In the original trilogy, the player can switch between characters if they are both on the screen. This is changed in the Retro Studios games, where the player has to choose character(s) before each level. Each character has its own specific characteristics: Donkey is the larger and stronger of the two, and can defeat enemies more easily. Diddy is faster and more agile, but not as powerful, and can use his barrel jetpack to glide the air over short distances and his peanut gun to stun enemies. Dixie can spin her ponytail into a propeller and slowly descend through the air, with an initial boost in height at the start, allowing her and Donkey Kong to fly up out-of-reach platforms or items, and can also use her candy gun to stun enemies. Kiddy has the ability to bounce across open water. Cranky, in a similar mechanic to the DuckTales video game, can use his cane to bounce on dangerous surfaces such as spiky thorns and reach higher areas and defeat certain enemies the other Kongs cannot. In several levels, players can gain assistance from various animals, who are found by breaking open crates. These helpers include Rambi the Rhino, Expresso the Ostrich, Enguarde the Swordfish, Winky the Frog, and Squawks the Parrot, among others. These animals have certain unique abilities that the player can use such as Rambi's ability to charge at enemies. Animal buddies can sometimes give players access to otherwise inaccessible bonus games, examples being Rambi and Enguarde busting through walls.
The Donkey Kong Land games were handheld counterparts of the Country games adapted to the hardware of the Game Boy. Donkey Kong Land was released in 1995, Donkey Kong Land 2 in 1996 and Donkey Kong Land III in 1997. They were presented in distinctive yellow cartridges instead of the typical grey ones.
A successful Nintendo 64 sequel to Rare's Donkey Kong Country games was also developed. In Donkey Kong 64, DK once again has the starring role as he joins forces with the DK crew. The game allows play as DK, Diddy Kong, Lanky Kong, Tiny Kong and Chunky Kong to save Donkey Kong Island from destruction at the hands of K. Rool and his Kremling Krew in a fully 3D adventure. It also features multiplayer arena-battle modes. This game features a unique yellow cartridge and is only playable with the included Expansion Pak.
Nintendo's first Donkey Kong title for the Game Boy Advance after Rare left was Mario vs. Donkey Kong, a return to the earlier arcade-style games that incorporated many elements from the Game Boy version. While its style was that of other games, the Rare design for Donkey Kong carried over. Donkey Kong, originally a villain, returns to this role in the game: wanting a Mini Mario clockwork toy, he finds that they are sold out at a local toy store. Enraged, he terrifies the Toads at the factory and steals the toys. This sets up the game's plot, where Mario chases Donkey Kong until he can take the Mini Marios back from Donkey Kong. The game was followed by March of the Minis for the Nintendo DS, Minis March Again on DSiWare, Mini-Land Mayhem in 2010 for the DS, Minis on the Move for the Nintendo 3DS in 2013 and Tipping Stars for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U in 2014.
The Saturday Supercade was the character's first role in a television series. In it, Donkey Kong (voiced by Soupy Sales) has escaped from the circus and Mario (voiced by Peter Cullen) and Pauline (voiced by Judy Strangis) are chasing the ape. As with the original game, Donkey Kong will often grab Pauline, and Mario has to save her.
The Donkey Kong Country television series was developed based on game of the same name. Airing in France in 1997 and in the USA in 1998, the series lasted two seasons with 40 total episodes featuring exclusive characters including Bluster Kong, Eddie the Mean Old Yeti and Kaptain Scurvy.
The Planet of Donkey Kong, later DKTV.cool was broadcast in France from September 4, 1996 to September 1, 2001. It was presented by Mélanie Angélie and Donkey Kong, voiced by Nicolas Bienvenu. After the departure of Angélie, the program continued without a host and was renamed DKTV.cool on July 1, 2000. The show had several variations, especially during the summer, including "Diddy's Holidays", airing on Saturdays and Sundays around 7 am during the summer of 1997, and "Donkey Kong Beach" at 9:30 on Saturday mornings in the same year.
A 2007 documentary, King of Kong, was also produced and follows the games highest recorded scores.
|Donkey Kong Country||89% (SNES)
|Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest||90% (SNES)
|Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!||83% (SNES)
|Donkey Kong 64||87%||90%|
|Donkey Kong Country Returns||87% (Wii)
|87 (Wii) |
|Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze||84% (Wii U)
|83% (Wii U)|
86 (NS) 
This section needs expansion with: reviews of non-DKC games and prose descriptions. You can help by adding to it. (March 2014)
After the first Donkey Kong was released, Universal Studios sued Nintendo, alleging that the video game was a trademark infringement of King Kong, the plot and characters of which Universal claimed for their own. In the case, Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Nintendo Co., Ltd., a United States District Court ruled that Universal had acted in bad faith, and that it had no right over the name King Kong or the characters and story. The court further held that there was no possibility for consumers to confuse Nintendo's game and characters with the King Kong films and their characters. The case was an enormous victory for Nintendo, which was still a newcomer to the U.S. market. The case established the company as a major player in the industry and arguably gave the company the confidence that it could compete with the giants of American media.
The success of the Donkey Kong series has resulted in Guinness World Records awarding the series with 7 world records in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008. The records include: "First Use of Visual Storytelling in a Video Game" for the rudimentary cut scenes featured in the original Donkey Kong arcade game, and "Most Collectible Items in a Platform Game" for Donkey Kong 64.
"It's on like Donkey Kong" is an expression used in pop culture that is inspired by the game. Nintendo requested a trademark on the phrase with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in November 2010.
The original game was the focus of the 2007 documentary The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.
In 2007, the USHRA Monster Jam racing series licensed Donkey Kong's appearance for a monster truck. The truck is driven by Frank Krmel, and is owned by Feld Motorsports. The truck is decorated to look like the character and has Donkey Kong's tie on the front. The truck made its debut in the Monster Jam event at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US on December 8, 2007. It went to the Monster Jam World Finals 9, as well as World Finals 10, where it was the fastest qualifier.