Donkey Kong

From Academic Kids

For the original arcade game called Donkey Kong, see Donkey Kong (arcade game).

Donkey Kong (Japanese:ドンキーコング) is a gorilla character from Nintendo that appeared in many video games since 1981. Like many Nintendo franchises, Donkey Kong was created by Shigeru Miyamoto.

Donkey Kong was redesigned for the   series.
Donkey Kong was redesigned for the SNES Donkey Kong Country series.


The exact origins of the name "Donkey Kong" are unclear and debated. The most common explanation of the name is that it was created by Shigeru Miyamoto as a combination of the word "Kong" from King Kong, and "Donkey", a word which Miyamoto (with his loose understanding of English) believed was a general synonym for "stupid." Another similar version of the story said that Miyamoto used the word "Donkey" to represent the stubborn aspect of the ape's personality. It is believed by many that the name "Donkey Kong" was the result of a typo on the original cabinet's art work for "Monkey Kong", but this has been denied by Miyamoto and others.

In the original Donkey Kong game, the player's character "Jumpman" (later: "Mario") must jump over barrels thrown by Donkey Kong while climbing ladders up a crooked construction site to reach the top of the screen to rescue his girlfriend Pauline (who was originally called Lady in Japan). Each screen is a game stage, with stages grouping to form levels. Each successive level is progressively harder.

This game was first released in the arcades, but was ported to home video game consoles and home computers. The game was also sold as a portable LCD game (1982) by Nintendo in two versions: Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong II.

The game was quite revolutionary for its time, featuring multiple, distinct levels, large colorful graphics, and a unique form of play control.

Sequels and spin-offs

Donkey Kong spawned two sequels, neither of which were as popular as the original arcade hit. In Donkey Kong Junior Donkey Kong was kidnapped by Mario and players had to control his son Donkey Kong Jr. to rescue him. In Donkey Kong 3 DK broke into a greenhouse and got chased out by Stanley the Bugman, who carried a spray can to protect his greenhouse from Donkey Kong's insects. In 1994, Nintendo produced a remake of the original game for the Game Boy (often dubbed "Donkey Kong '94" to distinguish it from the original) which contained 96 new stages (most which were puzzle-oriented) in addition to the original four from the Arcade game. Donkey Kong's and Pauline's respective appearances were updated for this game (DK now had a tie and Pauline was made into a brunette to set herself apart from Peach)..

After that he went on hiatus until he appeared in Donkey Kong Country (in Japan, Super Donkey Kong). Donkey Kong Country was an entirely new DK franchise established by the British company Rareware which took the Donkey Kong premise in an entire new direction. Severing DK's ties to the Mario world (until Mario Kart 64), Donkey Kong Country established a whole new world for DK, and became a showcase title to show-off then-revolutionary 3D CGI graphics.

In Donkey Kong Country, DK was the hero and he and his sidekick Diddy Kong had 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. Some sources, such as Nintendo Power, suggest that the Donkey Kong in the Country series was the son of Cranky Kong, the original Donkey Kong from the arcade game, which would equate him with Donkey Kong Junior. Other sources, including the manual of Donkey Kong Country1 and in-game dialogue from other games in the series, suggest that the Donkey Kong in Donkey Kong Country is Cranky's grandson and the son of Donkey Kong Junior. This is also contridicted by the in-game dialogue from Donkey Kong 64, as Cranky specifically calls DK his son. Rareware released an official statement some time ago, stating that Cranky is indeed the D.K. of the arcades and that the current Donkey Kong is the D.K. Jr. However, Nintendo hasn't made up their minds yet as to what it should be, and because they own the characters, it is ultimately their call.

Sequels and adaptations soon followed. A computer generated animated television series was produced that lasted 40 episodes by a French animation studio, released in North America as simply, Donkey Kong Country.

The official sequel, Donkey Kong Country 2 (Super Donkey Kong 2) involves Donkey being kidnapped by King K. Rool (now Kaptain K Rool) and has to get rescued by Diddy Kong and his girlfriend Dixie Kong, in a less cheery and a more dark themed game. In Donkey Kong Country 3 (in Japan, Super Donkey Kong 3) he and Diddy both got kidnapped and Dixie and her cousin Kiddy Kong had to save them in the final game of the series for the SNES. The Donkey Kong Land series for the Game Boy were smaller and slightly modified versions of the "Country" games.

A successful N64 sequel was also developed. In Donkey Kong 64 DK once again had the starring role and he had to join forces with Diddy Kong, Tiny Kong, Lanky Kong, and Chunky Kong to save Donkey Kong Island from destruction at the hand of the Kremlings.

The Donkey Kong Country series died after Rareware split with Nintendo to develop games for the Xbox. Though the DKC series were always solely developed by Rare, they featured Nintendo's trademarked characters and as a result are not allowed to appear on any other system.

Nintendo's first title after Rare was Mario vs. Donkey Kong, a return to the earlier arcade-style games. While its style was that of the original games, the Rare-design for Donkey Kong carried over.

Donkey Kong also appears in a number of other games such as Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, the Mario Party series, Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, and the two crossover games Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee. In nearly all of these games, Donkey Kong is presented as a powerful but slow and cumbersome character (for example, in the Mario Kart games, he has a high top speed, but poor acceleration), as opposed to Yoshi. Donkey Kong is slated for several games on the Nintendo GameCube and the Game Boy Advance.

While still under Rare's influence, numerous spin-offs of Donkey Kong were created. Diddy Kong Racing, a racing game released in 1997 starring the Diddy Kong character, was the launching point of the Banjo-Kazooie and Conker franchises as well as the first appearance of several characters that would later spring up in Rare games. These franchises are now owned by Microsoft, but they'll always have their origins in Donkey Kong's universe.

"Donkey Kong Universe" (DKU) refers to the place in which all Donkey Kong games (except the original arcade versions), and games taking place in the same universe as Donkey Kong, exist. The list of characters in the Donkey Kong Universe include all of the Kongs in the Donkey Kong Country series, the Banjo-Kazooie series, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Grabbed by the Ghoulies, and Star Fox Adventures. The games are inter-related by cameo appearances by characters from other Rare games or references to the other games.

Playable characters in Donkey Kong games

Mario (originally called Jumpman) is the Italian star of many Nintendo games, created for the arcade game Donkey Kong, where he must rescue his girlfriend, Pauline.

Donkey Kong Jr. was Donkey Kong's son, who rescues DK in Donkey Kong Jr..

Stanley the Bugman the mysterious "second hero" against Donkey Kong appeared in the lesser known 1983 sequel to Donkey Kong Jr.: Donkey Kong 3. Throughout the game, Stanley continuously fights against Donkey Kong in a greenhouse with his trusty bug sprayer, while Donkey Kong sends his vast army of swarming insects in Stanley's direction to hinder his progress.

Donkey Kong in the Donkey Kong Country games is not the original Donkey Kong, but his grandson or son (Donkey Kong Jr.). He is playable and the star in Donkey Kong Country, and Donkey Kong 64. In Donkey Kong Country 2 and 3, he is kidnapped for the duration of the game, and the objective of the game is to save him.

Diddy Kong first appeared in Donkey Kong Country as Donkey's sidekick. In that game and its sequels he is smaller and weaker than Donkey. He returned as the star of Donkey Kong Country 2. In Donkey Kong Country 3, he appeared as a non-playable hostage alongside Donkey, and starred in Diddy Kong Racing. He reappeared in Donkey Kong 64 as one of five playable characters, where he possessed a rocket pack perhaps reminiscent of Rare's game Jetpac, which is playable as an unlockable in that game. Most recently, he's started appearing alongside Donkey Kong in Mario sports titles, such as Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, and Mario Power Tennis.

Dixie Kong is Diddy Kong's girlfriend. She first appeared in Donkey Kong Country 2 as Diddy's sidekick who helped him save Donkey Kong. She also appeared in Donkey Kong Country 3 as the star with her cousin Kiddy Kong as her sidekick.

Tiny Kong is said to be Dixie Kong's little sister and was playable only in Donkey Kong 64. Most recently, she had a cameo in the Game Boy Advance port of Donkey Kong Country 2. Her talents include the ability to shrink and hover with her pig tails.

Lanky Kong is one of Donkey Kong's friends who appeared in only Donkey Kong 64, and is an orangutan. His persona is described as wacky and his specific skills in that game are generally due to his long arms.

Kiddy Kong is a cousin of Dixie Kong. Kiddy appears only in Donkey Kong Country 3 and Donkey Kong Land III as Dixie's sidekick. His uniqueness derives from his size.

Chunky Kong is playable so far only in Donkey Kong 64, in which he is the fourth and final character that Donkey Kong has to rescue. Like Kiddy Kong, his size is a major factor in his importance.

Non-playable supporting characters

Cranky Kong is an older Kong who refers to the "good old days" of videogames, typically breaking the fourth wall. He is the original 8-bit Donkey Kong, and the current Donkey Kong is either his son (Donkey Kong Jr.) or his grandson. In Donkey Kong Country 3, he is the opponent in Swanky Kong's game. In the cartoon show, he played the role of a potion concocting scientist. While the cartoon has little relevance to the games, for some strange reason, Cranky provided this same role in Donkey Kong 64, in which he would sell you potions that served as the method of teaching DK & crew new moves.

Wrinkly Kong is Cranky Kong's wife, and is a schoolteacher in Donkey Kong Country 2 who took over Candy's role of saving game progress. She retired from school teaching in Donkey Kong Country 3 to life of leisure, exercising, playing Super Mario 64, napping in her chair, and again saving the game. She also took care of the Banana Birds that were obtained in trades with the Brothers Bear or freeing from a crystal prison by playing a Simon (game)-esque memory game. By Donkey Kong 64, she passed away but was able to appear in ghostly form to provide hints for Kongs who wandered up to the doorways with her face on them in each lobby of the game's worlds.

Funky Kong is a Kong of the same generation as Donkey Kong, but is not as heroic. He is a surfer, who lives a more mellowed out life style. He also runs a travel service on the islands. His first two appearances had him run an airline service but in Donkey Kong Country 3 he would build you different boats for the player to travel around the Northern Kremisphere. In Donkey Kong 64, Funky moved to weapons and gave each Kong a projectile weapon.

Candy Kong is Donkey Kong's girlfriend, and in Donkey Kong Country, she allowed the player's game to be saved. She also provided instruments for the playable characters of Donkey Kong 64 to use against the Kremlings.

Swanky Kong is a Kong who has a taste for glitz and glamour. In Donkey Kong Country 2, he is a game show host, who hosts a trivia challenge where the player can earn extras. In Donkey Kong Country 3, he runs a carnival game where the player throws balls at cardboard cut-outs of Kremlings to earn extras.

Snide is an anthromorphic weasel who was a featured character in Donkey Kong 64. With K. Rool, he had helped build the mechnanical version of Crocodile Isle and it's deadly Blast o'Matic cannon. When his usefulness had been fulfilled, K. Rool fired Snide, prompting him to help the Kongs out of spite by requesting them to gather the blueprints for the cannon so he could jam it when K. Rool tried to fire.

The Brothers Bear are the bears in Donkey Kong Country 3. They run various shops in the Northern Kremisphere. Often, items could be swapped between them to get banana birds. Their names are: Bazaar, Barnacle, Brash, Blunder, Bazooka, Blue, Bramble, Blizzard, Barter, Benny, Bjorn, Baffle, and Boomer. And naturally, their last name is Bear.

Bluster Kong is DK's snobbish rival for Candy's affections, and he runs the barrel factory owned by his mother. He did not appear in the games, but was a regular on the Donkey Kong Country cartoon show.

Eddie the Yeti, like Bluster, only appeared in the cartoon. He lives high in the mountains of Kongo Bongo Island, the set of the show, in seclusion. This is due to being quite plainly stupid as well as loud, rude, obnoxious, and mean. Hence his nickname "the mean old Yeti". Very rarely does he portray kindness but he didn't really make that many appearances from the start.

Other characters

Rambi the Rhinoceros was the very first animal buddy that appeared in Donkey Kong Country. His horn made it possible to charge through enemies with ease while breaking through walls to reach bonus rooms. His size could be a hindrance, however, with low jumping ability and inability to crawl through narrow spaces. Rambi appeared in Donkey Kong Country and its ports, Donkey Kong Land, Donkey Kong Country 2 and the GBA version, Donkey Kong Land 2, Donkey Kong 64, and Donkey Konga.

Enguarde the Swordfish has appeared in all of the games of the Donkey Kong Country trilogy and the Donkey Kong Land trilogy, with the exception of the original DKL. His moves include the swinging of his bill to knock out enemies and the superstab, first introduced in Donkey Kong Country 2. Enguarde is available only in underwater levels, though it is barely possible to control him out of water in certain situations. Enguarde returned in the Gloomy Galleon world of Donkey Kong 64.

Expresso the Ostrich has appeared in all versions of Donkey Kong Country, in Donkey Kong Land, and in the GBA port of Donkey Kong Country 2. A tennis shoe-wearing ostrich, Expresso can flutter in mid-air for a short time. His long legs meant that he could be kept safe from smaller enemies like Klaptrap, but they were also weak and spindly against larger foes. Expresso was absent in the series after DKL, but he was reinserted into DKC2 when the GBA version was released in the new Expresso Racing mini-game.

Winky the Frog was in all versions of Donkey Kong Country and also made a cameo in all versions of Donkey Kong Country 2. A giant tropical frog, Winky could leap high distances and knock out even the most stubborn of enemies with his powerful legs. Flibbits, the tropical frogs from Banjo-Kazooie, were based on Winky's design.

Squawks the Parrot has been featured in many of the Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Land games. In the first Donkey Kong Country, Squawks only held a flashlight in one level. But by the time Donkey Kong Country 2 was released, Squawks was able to carry Diddy Kong and Dixie Kong to new heights. The same goes for Donkey Kong Country 3. His main (and only) attack is spitting eggs, out of his mouth and through his beak, naturally. Squawks acted as a non-action guide character in Donkey Kong 64.

Rattly the Rattlesnake debuted in Donkey Kong Country 2 and would return in Donkey Kong Land 2. He had a super-charged jump that could send players to platforms or hidden barrel cannons high above in usually out-of-reach areas.

Squitter the Spider appeared in Donkey Kong Country 2, Donkey Kong Land 2, Donkey Kong Country 3, and Donkey Kong Land III. He could spin webs that could defeat enemies and build web platforms. Like most animal buddies of the series, Squitter is, in fact, very useful, and at times, players were forced into using him.

Clapper the Seal appeared in all versions of Donkey Kong Country 2 as well as Donkey Kong Land 2. While he couldn't be ridden like most animal buddies, by hitting his back he would blow cool air into a body of water, either returning boiling hot water to room temperature or freezing ice cold lakes.

Glimmer the Angler Fish was a non-ridable animal friend who appeared in one stage in Donkey Kong Country 2. Using his built-in light, he helped illuminate the interior of a dim sunken galleon.

Ellie the Elephant was featured in Donkey Kong Country 3, Donkey Kong Land III, and made an appearance in Donkey Konga. She had the ability to suck barrels towards her via her trunk. However, she had a rather stereotypical weakness: Ellie is afraid of mice.

Parry the Parallel Bird appeared in Donkey Kong Country 3. When freed from the case he was enclosed in, Parry would fly above Dixie Kong and Kiddy Kong, collecting out-of-reach items.

Glower the Tadpole appeared in Donkey Kong 64. When the player entered the central sunken ship in Gloomy Galleon, Glower lit the area. He replaced Glimmer as the light provider.

Full Donkey Kong game list

External links


1. Donkey Kong Country Instruction Booklet p. 6, Nintendo, 1994.

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