The Interesting History of Legend of Donkey Kong

It all began in the 1980s when Shigeru Miyamoto first started working for Nintendo. He had planned to produce a Popeye game, but Nintendo’s licensing agreement fell through. Jumpman (soon to be Mario) and Donkey Kong are two new characters created by Shigeru. The name Kong was inspired by the film King Kong, and according to a Japanese/English dictionary, the ‘Donkey’ element of the name means dumb.

Donkey Kong is one of Nintendo’s oldest properties, and with a new Wii U version, it’s regaining popularity. DK is, without a doubt, Nintendo’s second most well-known character. But how well do you know Donkey Kong?

He’s been in some of the most well-known video games of all time, but most casual fans are unaware of his background. What has the reactionary gorilla been up to all these years, and what are the most peculiar aspects of his ancestry?

When first we met

Nintendo had barely dipped its toe into the burgeoning Japanese game market when it decided to go to the United States in 1981. The game really became a classic 90s video game in the US. The goofy but straightforward story followed a carpenter’s pet gorilla stealing the workman’s lady, introducing a real narrative to gaming. As a result, Donkey Kong was born.

Neither Monkey Kong nor King Kong

Fans are still perplexed as to why a massive gorilla is named Donkey. It’s a frequent misconception that Donkey Kong is a mistranslation of Monkey Kong, although this has been proven false. According to inventor Shigeru Miyamoto, the name “Donkey” was chosen on purpose to reflect the ape’s obstinacy.

DK’s last name got Nintendo in difficulty with Universal Studios, regardless of where his initial name came from. The movie studio alleged that the narrative and title of the game infringed on its King Kong copyright. The huge studio thought it could bully Nintendo into settling, but Nintendo’s legal team stood firm.

The court sided with Nintendo after establishing that Universal didn’t even own the rights to King Kong. This was a significant victory for Nintendo on its way to US expansion.

Save Papa!

Donkey Kong did not return as the conquering hero in his second adventure when it was finally time for the ape’s big sequel. He’s the damsel in distress, held captive by Mario and aided by his son, the titular Donkey Kong Junior.

As a whip-wielding jailer out to kill a newborn gorilla, Mario is unsettling these days, perhaps to play against player expectations at the time. It’s a gamble Nintendo would never take with its mascot again. In reality, after this game, Donkey Kong and his nemesis would split ways for a long time.

Forgotten Enemies

This time, the intimidating beast avoided Mario—who was reveling in his newfound success in Mario Bros—and seized control of a stranger’s greenhouse. The now-forgotten Stanley the Bugman was the only one who came to the vulnerable plants’ aid.

Donkey Kong 3 is an odd asterisk in the ape’s history, abandoning platforming in favor of a Galaga-styled shooter. Stanley is an unnecessary Mario substitute, as cool as he is. However, I do like the little dance he makes after winning. Looking back, players experienced a peculiar mood swing throughout this period.

In Country

Then, in 1994, he made a big comeback, complete with a new red necktie. Then, courtesy to some Northern English tech wizards, Kong got his own console series.

Enter Diddy Kong

Nintendo rejected Rare’s redesign for Donkey Kong Jr., forcing Rare to recycle the appearance for Diddy Kong, an altogether new sidekick. Throughout DKC, the tiny monkey stayed close to his elder, even in the treacherous underwater and mine cart segments, and he developed a sizable fan base of his own.

The Missing Link

Donkey Kong Country may have reintroduced DK to the spotlight, but it also raised a question of identity that Nintendo has yet to properly address. DKC debuted a new Kong family, including the crotchety (yet endearing) Cranky Kong. If that’s the case, who is Donkey Kong in Donkey Kong Country, and what happened to DK Jr.?

Cranky claimed to be DK’s father and grandfather at different times when Rare was in charge of the DK mythology, although Nintendo first ignored the narrative when Donkey Kong appeared in other games.

Too much of a good thing

Unfortunately, despite its high quality, the game’s formula had become stale. The actual issue with DK64, apart from the so-bad-it’s-good rap that opens the game, is that it buried players in collectibles.

Many gamers needed a break from the ape’s world after DK64. The publisher, predictably, returned the ape to the first party fold at that time. And if you want to discover the 5 Amazing Health Benefits of Playing Video Games, click the link.

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