Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong

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Donkey Kong is a series of video games starring a gorilla named Donkey Kong and other members of the Kong family. While the series technically started with the Donkey Kong arcade game in 1981, it didn't really come into its own until Donkey Kong Country for the Super Nintendo was released in 1994. The series has continued to this day with the most recent entry being Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
for the Wii U.


Donkey Kong made his first appearance in the arcade game of the same name in 1981. The game play was simple: you play as a small italian man named "Jumpman" and have to climb scaffolding (jumping over barrels and avoiding fireballs in the process) to rescue your girlfriend, Pauline, from the evil clutches of Donkey Kong. The game was a huge hit for Nintendo and spawned quite a few spin-offs and sequels such as Donkey Kong Jr. and Donkey Kong 3. However, the most notable spin-off was Super Mario Brothers starring a renamed Jumpman. Ironically, by that point, the original Donkey Kong was looked at as more of a Mario game than a Donkey Kong game. If Nintendo wanted to cement Donkey Kong's status as a character, he needed to be the protagonist of his own game…

Donkey Kong Country was first released in North America on November 21st 1994 for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It went on to become the second best selling game for the console with Super Mario World as the first. The game was revolutionary as it was one of the first video games ever to use pre-rendered 3D graphics. Two sequels were made for the system both utilizing the 3D technology that the first game put in place. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest and Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble sold 4.37 million and 2.89 million copies, respectively, proving the success of the franchise.

In 1999, Donkey Kong Country got its first sequel for a new system with Donkey Kong 64 on the Nintendo 64. The game featured gameplay similar to other platformers of the time like Banjo Kazooie and Conker's Bad Fur Day with a heavy emphasis on collecting items and five different playable characters. The game came with an expansion pack and banana themed controller.

The Donkey Kong Country series was forced into a transition period shortly after the release of the Nintendo Gamecube. After a falling out between Nintendo and their subsidiary, Rare (which had developed all of the previous Donkey Kong Country games), Rare was purchased by Microsoft leaving Nintendo confused over their rights to the Donkey Kong Country franchise. On the one hand, Donkey Kong himself was a Nintendo property having premiered in the arcade game Donkey Kong over ten years prior to Donkey Kong Country's release. On the other, almost all other assets of the Donkey Kong Country series were created by Rare at least, in part. Between 1999 and 2010, Nintendo released several spin-off products starring Donkey Kong such as the racing game, Donkey Kong Barrel Blast and the rhythm game, Donkey Konga but no entries into the main series.

In 2010 Retro Studios (a Texas-based developer which had previously worked on the Metroid series) released Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Nintendo Wii. The game was a return to Donkey Kong Country's roots with an emphasis on 2D platforming and challenge. In 2014 Retro released a direct sequel for the Wii U called Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze which gained a sizable internet following for its introduction of the new playable character, Cranky Kong.


Fan reception for the Donkey Kong Country series has always been high. For many years critics and fans alike have praised the series for its graphics, level design, challenge, and music. Nintendo has taken note of this and has used the Donkey Kong cast for many of their other titles such as Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. series.

Online Presence

Expand Dong

Expand Dong is a photoshop meme in which pictures of fictional characters are placed above a message (usually sexual in nature) derived from words found in various cartoons and video games. The original image comes from the Donkey Kong 64 box art with the "expand" coming from the phrase "expansion pack included" and the "dong" coming from the game's title.

Drivin Around in a Fancy Car

Drivin Around in a Fancy Car (sometimes referred to as "Droppin Around in a Fancy Car") is a line taken from the song "I Wanna be a Star" in the 2000 episode of the Donkey Kong Country cartoon series. The line has been frequently remixed by fans and used in a number of YouTube Poops.

Cranky Kong

Cranky Kong is a character from the Donkey Kong Country series said to be the original Donkey Kong from the arcade game of the same name. Most games in the series feature him as a sort of in-game guide, allowing players to sit on his porch and listen to his tips to help them progress in the game. Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze marked his first playable appearance. This sparked a massive spike in popularity from fans who noted the similarities between him and Scrooge McDuck from the NES Ducktales game, his behavior in the first few DKC games mimicking the modern "git gud" mentality of hardcore gamers, and the sheer oddity of his inclusion as a playable character.

It's on Like Donkey Kong

It's on Like Donkey Kong was a line first used by rapper, Ice Cube, in his 1992 song "Now I Gotta Wet'cha". Since then the quote has been used in sports, commercials,movies, and television with a huge surge in usage from the years 2000 through 2005. In 2010, Nintendo trademarked the phrase in order to promote the upcoming Wii game, Donkey Kong Country Returns.

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