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Donkey Kong
Basic Information
Parent franchise(s)
Donkey Kong
Arcade, ColecoVision, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 64, Nintendo DS, NES, Nintendo Switch, SNES, Wii and Wii U

The Donkey Kong video games are varied in gameplay and have recently gone into the realm of rhythm video games. The series originated in the hit arcade game featuring Mario/Jumpman and DK (Who was later revealed to be the current Cranky Kong - the modern DK is his grandson. The original Donkey Kong game was the debut of both Mario and Donkey Kong.

Games in the Series[]

Donkey Kong spawned two sequels, neither of which were as popular as the original arcade hit. In Donkey Kong Jr. 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 (1994) 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 and nephew Diddy Kong had to save his hoard of bananas from the thieving King K. Rool and his Kremling Krew. The game was an action side scrolling 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 grandson of Cranky Kong, the original Donkey Kong from the arcade game, which would equate him being Donkey Kong Junior's son. Other sources backing this up includ the manual of Donkey Kong Country and in-game dialogue from other games in the series that also suggest that the Donkey Kong in Donkey Kong Country is Cranky's grandson and the son of Donkey Kong Junior. This is supposedly contradicted by the in-game dialogue from Donkey Kong 64, as Cranky claims DK his son. Rareware released an official statement some time ago, stating that as far as they knew Cranky is indeed the D.K. of the arcades and that the current Donkey Kong is theoretically D.K. Jr. However, Nintendo reverted this back into the original relationship in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Donkey Kong Country Returns with Cranky stating he is DK's grandfather and Donkey Kong Junior is the father of the modern DK.

Sequels soon followed. In Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (Super Donkey Kong 2) Donkey got kidnapped by King K. Rool (now Kaptain K Rool) and had 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: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! (in Japan, released as 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 Nintendo 64 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 Super Circuit, 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 series of video games, he has a high top speed, but poor acceleration), as opposed to Yoshi. Donkey Kong is slated for several games on the 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.


Like the Mario series, the DK series has its own cast of recurring characters that appear in many of the different games and spin-offs. Some are playable characters and members of the Kong family. Others are just there to be stepped on.

Playable characters in Donkey Kong video games[]

Non-playable supporting characters[]

  • Cranky Kong
  • Wrinkly Kong
  • Funky Kong
  • Candy Kong
  • Swanky Kong
  • Snide
  • The Brothers Bear

Other characters[]

  • Rambi the Rhinoceros
  • Enguarde the Swordfish
  • Expresso the Ostrich
  • Winky the Frog
  • Squawks the Parrot
  • Rattly the Rattlesnake
  • Squitter the Spider
  • Clapper the Seal
  • Glimmer the Angler Fish
  • Ellie the Elephant
  • Parry the Parallel Bird
  • Glower the Tadpole

Full Donkey Kong game list[]