It all started back when Shigeru Miyamoto first started working for Nintendo in the 80's. He was originally going to make a Popeye game but Nintendo's license fell through. Miyamoto then came up with some new characters, Jumpman (soon to be Mario) and Donkey Kong. The idea for the name Kong came from the movie King Kong and the 'Donkey' part apparently meant "stupid" according to a Japanese/English dictionary.
The game Donkey Kong was fairly simple, you played as Mario and you had to get to the top of a set of girders avoiding barrels and fireballs thrown by Doney Kong to rescue your girlfriend Pauline. The game was an instant success in the arcades when it was released in 1981.
Nintendo Entertainment System
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
- Donkey Kong Country (1994)
- Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (1995)
- Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! (1996)
Game Boy Color
Game Boy Advance
- Donkey Kong Country (2003)
- Classic NES Series: Donkey Kong (2004)
- Mario vs. Donkey Kong (2004)
- Donkey Kong Country 2 (2004)
- Donkey Kong Country 3 (2005)
- DK: King of Swing (2005)
- Donkey Kong Barrel Blast (2007)
- New Play Control! Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (2008)
- Donkey Kong Country Returns (2010)
- Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis (2006)
- Diddy Kong Racing DS (2007)
- DK: Jungle Climber (2007)
- Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again (2009)
- Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! (2010)
The DK series has been represented in every game of the Mario Kart series, with the younger Donkey Kong playable in each one. He appears racing alongside characters from the Super Mario, Wario, Yoshi, Pac-Man, The Legend of Zelda, Animal Crossing and Splatoon series. Diddy Kong appears as a playable character in Mario Kart: Double Dash!! and Mario Kart Wii, and Funky Kong appears as playable character in Mario Kart Wii. Additionally, the Mario Kart series features several DK themed tracks, most notably DK Jungle from Mario Kart 7 and Mario Kart 8, which is based on the world of Donkey Kong Country Returns.
Donkey Kong has appeared as a playable character in every game of the Super Smash Bros. series first appearing as one of eight characters in the original Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64. He was the first heavy fighter in the series, and featured many slow but powerful attacks.
Diddy Kong was later introduced as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as an agile fighter. There have been many stages based on games in the Donkey Kong series, including Kongo Jungle in Super Smash Bros., Kongo Jungle and Jungle Japes in Super Smash Bros. Melee, Rumble Falls and 75m in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and Jungle Hijinx in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.
Mario Sports series
Donkey Kong has appeared as a playable character in almost every game of the Mario sports series since the Nintendo 64 era, including Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, Super Mario Strikers, and Mario Superstar Baseball.
Diddy Kong is also featured as a playable character in many titles, while additional characters from the Donkey Kong Country series, such as Dixie Kong, Funky Kong, and King K. Rool, have made rare appearances. Donkey Kong appears as playable character in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games and every game in the Mario & Sonic series thereafter.
Diddy Kong was introduced to the series in Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
In the Mario Party series, Donkey Kong debuted as a playable character in Mario Party for the Nintendo 64, a role he kept until Mario Party 5. Here, he was given a space on the board maps as a foil to Bowser. He returned as a playable character in Mario Party 10 for the Wii U and Mario Party: Star Rush for the Nintendo 3DS. Diddy Kong makes cameo appearances in Mario Party DS and Mario Party 9, and is an unlockable character in Mario Party: Star Rush.
- Mario was originally a carpenter, not a plumber as he became later with the introduction of Mario Bros..
- The word "donkey", in Donkey Kong, is a play on the Japanese word for "stupid".
- Pauline is the name of Mario's girlfriend in Donkey Kong. In the Japanese version, her name is Lady, but she got her name changed when Nintendo released the Famicom version.
- The game's name evolved was that it was supposed to be "Monkey Kong", but due to a barely legible fax transmission, the screenprinters created thousands of pieces of artwork that read "Donkey Kong" instead. Since the manufacturers were in a rush to get the game released, they opted to change the game's title rather than wait for the artwork to be reprinted.
- This game appeared in an episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood where a young boy explains a little to Fred Rogers what the game is about and how it is played.
- A modern version of Donkey Kong was made called Donkey Kong '94 for Super Game Boy. This version begins exactly the same as the original with the same four stages (with updated graphics and play mechanics). But when you finish these levels, instead of repeating them over, the player is taken to 96 more levels, each with tons of puzzles to solve.