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For more Donkey Kong series related info, see his page in the Donkey Kong Wiki

Donkey Kong (also commonly referred to as DK) is a major character in the Mario series. He is the first Mario antagonist who premiered alongside Mario (then called Jumpman) and Pauline (then called Lady in Donkey Kong on the arcade). Donkey Kong was an antagonist before Bowser existed. He later starred in the Mario series games which depicted him as a hero, though he remains a featured character in Mario spin-off games and in several Mario adventure and puzzle games, notably Mario vs. Donkey Kong, Yoshi's Island DS, and Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis.

Creation and conception

Neil's name came from the his creator Shigeru Miyamoto who believed "donkey" meant "stupid" in English and assumed the name would show the sense "Stupid Ape" to the American audience. Some say, that the Donkey Kong story may be based on King Kong, adding Mario as the hero.

Donkey Kong's first appearance (un-chronologically) was in the Arcade game of the same name, where he was the main villain. In the game Donkey Kong made off with Mario's girlfriend Pauline, and carried her to the top of a high construction site. He was pursued by Mario, and attacked him by throwing Barrels and creating living Fireballs. He was eventually pursued to the top of the construction site, where Mario caused the bars supporting him to crash, sending him to the ground. However, this could be Cranky Kong going by the name of "Donkey Kong."

Donkey Kong tried to kidnap Pauline yet again in the Game Boy game Donkey Kong, this time accompanied by his son Donkey Kong Jr.. Donkey Kong's tactics in this game remained virtually the same, he attacked mainly by throwing a variety of objects at the hero.

It is still speculated exactly why Donkey Kong tried to kidnap Pauline, while some sources say that he took her in revenge against Mario (who had abused him) others (perhaps trying to show Mario in a more favorable light) say that Donkey Kong fell in love with the damsel-in-distress.


Donkey Kong Jr.

Donkey Kong took the role of damsel-in-distress during Donkey Kong Jr.. In this game, Mario actually kidnapped Donkey Kong perhaps to keep him from from kidnapping Pauline and stood guard next to his cage with a whip. In the end, Donkey Kong Jr. arrived and defeated Mario to free Donkey Kong.

Donkey Kong 3

In Donkey Kong 3 Donkey Kong was a main villain once again, although this time he did not fight Mario (who had gone on to star in his own series, and would not meet with Donkey Kong again until much later). In this game, Donkey Kong has gone on a rampage inside a greenhouse and a local exterminator called Stanley the Bugman was called in to defeat him (along with other bugs destroying plants in the greenhouse). Donkey Kong would use a system of ropes to lower himself to the greenhouse floor. When he reaches the floor, the game ends and Donkey Kong is able to destroy the rest of the greenhouse. After Stanley sprays Donkey Kong with insecticide three times to keep him off the greenhouse floor, he runs away.

Post-Arcade, Pre-Rare

All the DK arcade games were ported to the NES. But Donkey Kong and DK Junior were thrown back into supporting roles for a long time, most notably, Super Mario Kart. However, in 1994, Nintendo released a Game Boy re-make of Donkey Kong, The only notable difference between the versions is Donkey Kong's now famous necktie he sports.

Rareware era


The 1994 Super NES game Donkey Kong Country made by British game developer Rare marked a turning point for Donkey Kong by creating a new setting (Donkey Kong Island) and back-story for the character.

In the Donkey Kong Country series, it is implied that the current Donkey Kong is the grandson of the original Donkey Kong from the arcade game, who has become a bitter, elderly ape named Cranky Kong. This Donkey Kong is portrayed as a powerful, yet lazy and laid-back ape who was more interested in lounging than heroics, and as such was constantly vilified by Cranky and his peers. The series introduced a sidekick for Donkey: his hyperactive friend, Diddy, and DK's crocodilian archenemy, King K. Rool.

Despite his name being in the titles of both games, DK is not the protagonist in the sequel Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest nor Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!. Instead he is captured by K. Rool, while the player controls different Kongs who have set out to rescue him. The Donkey Kong Country series also inspired the Donkey Kong Land trilogy and a television series.

Donkey Kong 64 for the Nintendo 64 would be the last platform game developed by Rare starring Donkey Kong. The modern Donkey Kong supplanted Junior's role in the Mario Kart series from Mario Kart 64. In addition, DK became a regular playable character in the Mario sports series and other spinoffs such as Mario Party and Super Smash Bros.

Post-Rare era

Following Rare's departure from the series, Nintendo co-produced a trilogy of rhythm games with Namco for the Nintendo GameCube known as the Donkey Konga series, which were based on Namco's own Taiko: Drum Master, though only two of the series' games made it to America. DK Jungle Beat was released on March 14, 2005 in North America for the Gamecube. DKJB served as his main platforming adventure on the GCN and depicted DK as being more violent than his original image. It also used the bongos. In October 2007, Donkey Kong: Barrel Blast was released in North America for the Wii. However, the game was going to be on the GameCube. The game was panned by critics but was loved by fans of the original Donkey Kong Country trilogy due to its inclusion of characters, art, locations, and items from the trilogy. Many believe Barrel Blast to be the equivalent of the Donkey Kong Racing, a game that was planned but never came out due to restrictions of the Rare departure. Donkey Kong also has had a space in every console version of Mario Party since Mario Party 5, as well as being playable in some of the earlier games of the series.

Meanwhile, on the handhelds, Donkey Kong was reunited with his former rival Mario in the 2004 Game Boy Advance game titled Mario vs. Donkey Kong. A throwback to the Donkey Kong title for the Game Boy, Donkey Kong resumed his antagonist role from his earlier games by taking over the Mario Toy Company, upset over the lack of Mini-Mario toys available for purchase. The game was followed by a 2006 sequel titled Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis, where Donkey Kong, who is infatuated with Pauline, kidnaps her and takes her to the roof of the Super Mini-Mario World amusement park when she ignores a Mini-Donkey Kong toy in favor of a Mini-Mario. Aside from those, DK King of Swing on the GBA was released by Paon around the time of DKJB, and its sequel, Donkey Kong Jungle Climber for the DS, was released in America on the 10th of September. Jungle Climber took the gameplay of its predecessor, KoS, and mixed it with the style, locations, and items of the Donkey Kong Country trilogy.

Other Appearances

Super Smash Bros. series

Super Smash Bros.

In 1999, he was one of the first to appear in the successful game and eventually the Super Smash Bros. series. He has been an obvious candidate to return to all games in the Smash Bros. series for almost 10 years. The stories of these games never really meant anything so therefore his involvement was nothing special but that was about to change.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl


Donkey as seen in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Donkey Kong returned to the Super Smash Bros. series in Super Smash Bros. Brawl with a new stage based on the look of Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat and Donkey Kong's Final Smash is Konga Beat which is based on the DK Bongos.[2] In the Subspace Emissary, the single-player adventure mode, Donkey Kong, along with Diddy, are chasing after the Koopas and Goombas that stole their bananas in an attempt to retrieve them. A surprisingly violent side of Donkey Kong is shown in the opening cutscene in a brief scene where DK pounds a Koopa Troopa into the ground(making it appear he crushes its shell). When they confront Bowser, the leader of the Koopas, Bowser attempts to turn Diddy into a trophy, but DK punches Diddy out of the way and takes the shot himself. DK is a playable character in most Mario Party games, until 7, in which he becomes in charge of DK spaces. In 7 these bring a DK related mini-game, but in Mario party 8 landing on a DK space gives an advantage (i.e. a chance for a free star). Donkey Kong also appears as one of the challengers Little Mac has to fight in the Nintendo Wii version of Punch-Out!!

Mario Kart series

Donkey Kong has appeared in most of the Mario Kart games, all of which excluding Super Mario Kart, where Donkey Kong Jr. was a racer instead. He is a heavy weight in every installment as well.


Staff Ghost Tracks

Mario Party series

Donkey Kong has played a major role in the Mario Party series. He has appeared as a playable character in the early Mario Party titles. However, with the debut of Mario Party 5, Donkey Kong became a supporting character. He usually hosted his own space on the boards that gave the characters extra coins and stars. However, in Mario Party 8, his role increased on the board maps.

Mario Party 1-4

Donkey Kong was one of the original six playable characters to appear in Mario Party. In this game, he gets his own board map called DK's Jungle Adventure, which requires the characters to travel around the board map and collect stars by paying Toad twenty coins. Donkey Kong appeared with the original six characters again in Mario Party 2. In this game, his favorite item is the Bowser Bomb. If an item mini-game was initiated, the computer-controlled version of Donkey Kong would try to go for this item. Donkey Kong appears again in Mario Party 3 as a playable character and an opponent in Story Mode. He was often associated with the Strength Stamp (unless he was the one being used in the story, in which case Luigi was), and battled the player on the Pipesqueak board map. His beginning partner for Duel Mode is Whomp. Donkey Kong made his final appearance in Mario Party 4 as a playable character.

Mario Party 5-7

Starting with Mario Party 5, Donkey Kong was removed from the playable character line-up, which caused some controversy among the fanbase. He then became a host of the DK Space on the boards in this game. At the start of the game before the players start their turns, one of the Star Spirits would reveal the location of the DK Space. When a character landed on this space, they would be able to collect coins or stars through different events. They also had a small chance of engaging in a DK Mini-game, where they would collect bananas and trade them in for coins. Before the DK Mini-game starts, a roulette wheel would be spun to determine the number of coins each banana was worth. DK would also appear to fend off Bowser when a player landed on a Bowser Space. When DK appears, Bowser would only take ten coins from the player. DK also appeared in Super Duel Mode as an unlockable playable character. In order to unlock him, the player must beat him in the hard difficulty of the tournament mode.

In Mario Party 6, DK continued his role of hosting a space on the board maps. He once again gives out coins, stars, or starts a DK mini-game when a character lands on a space. During day time it is a DK space while when it's nighttime DK space is replaced by Bowser space. His bigger role in this game is in Castaway Bay, where he will give a star to the characters that meet him at the boat. He will switch positions with Bowser on this board map when a character visits him. His position can also be altered with the help of a happening space. DK reprises his role as a board space host again in Mario Party 7. This time, he appears with a whole new set of mini-games for the characters to play.

Mario Party 8

Donkey Kong's role as a helping character increased in Mario Party 8. In this game, he hosted his own board map called DK's Treetop Temple. This board took place on top of a giant Donkey Kong statue and is full of barrels, vines, and Ukikis. The method of collecting stars on this board map is similar to collecting stars on other board maps in past Mario Party games, in which the characters must chase a star and pay twenty coins in order to gain it. The Donkey Kong space appears in this game again. However, it will change into a Bowser Space the moment another character steps on this space. When the DK Space is activated, Donkey Kong would usually perform an event that would benefit the players. The type of event that he performed differ from each board. After the event is complete, Donkey Kong will disappear until another character lands on the DK Space again. Donkey Kong also appears as a computer-controlled racer in Moped Mayhem.

Board map appearances

The following list below describes Donkey Kong's appearance in each of the board maps that appear in Mario Party 8. The events that DK performs on this board was positive, in contrast with Bowser's evil antics.

  • DK's Treetop Temple - When a player lands on the DK space, Donkey Kong will appear and toss the player to the star space, granting them the star.This then turned to a Bowser space.
  • Goomba's Booty Boardwalk - Donkey Kong will require the player to place five coins in a barrel. The player will then shake the Wiimote to shake the barrel, causing them to earn more coins depending on the intensity of the shake. The maximum amount of coins a character can earn is twenty five.
  • King Boo's Haunted Hideaway - Donkey Kong will place a platform over one of the pitfalls when a character lands on his space. When a player comes across his platform, he will reward them with a free star, and the haunted house becomes randomized again.
  • Shy Guy's Perplex Express - Donkey Kong will replace the front car of the train with a car of his own. When a character reaches his car, he will reward them with a free star. The car will then be replaced with the regular one after he gives the star away.
  • Koopa's Tycoon Town - Donkey Kong will appear at one of the character's hotel and invest a bundle of coins into it, increasing the star rate of the hotel. The coin amount ranges from twenty to thirty coins.
  • Bowser's Warped Orbit - Donkey Kong will appear on his own satellite and reward the player with a free star when they land on his space.

Mario Party DS

Donkey made a relatively minor appearance in Mario Party DS as a large statue in the board DK's Stone Statue. Prior to the events of the game, Donkey and Diddy Kong are invited to Bowser's feast, unaware that it was a trick. Donkey Kong was petrified into stone by Bowser and his minions. Diddy Kong pleaded for the shrunken heroes to revive him. They later accidentally step on the scepter that shrunk the heroes, returning them to normal size.

Mario Super Star Baseball

Donkey Kong appears as a playable character in Mario Super Star Baseball. The intro shows him using his climbing ability to catch the ball until he realizes that he is above the chain chomp. It almost eats him alive as the ball on his glove goes flying. He later survives this, as he is shown playing for Wario's Team.

Mario Series Appearances

Mario Kart series

Mario Golf series

Mario Tennis series

Other sports

Mario Party series


Note: bolded games are playable appearance.


  • In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the current Donkey Kong is revealed to be the original one's grandson in a conversation by CODEC between Solid Snake and Otacon.
  • Donkey Kong was mentioned in Lego City Undercover, that he player hoped that it wasn't a "giant ape" which could be a reference to Donkey Kong from 1981.

Donkey Kong Controversy

The Donkey Kong Controversy is a controversy involving the background of Donkey Kong, Cranky Kong, Donkey Kong Jr. and Baby Donkey Kong. The controversy started with Donkey Kong Country in 1994 when the character Cranky Kong whom is said by Rare (the company that was developing the Donkey Kong series at the time) to be the star of the original Donkey Kong games and grandfather of the current Donkey Kong. This would also make Jr. his father. Years later during the release of Donkey Kong 64 Cranky Kong calls Donkey Kong his son which then created the connection making it seem that the current Donkey Kong is a grown up version of Donkey Kong Jr. and the original Donkey Kong is grown old into becoming Cranky Kong. This also explained Donkey Kong Junior's absence in games after Donkey Kong Country but contradicts the original idea. Donkey Kong Junior did make an appearance in Mario Tennis on the Nintendo 64 alongside the current Donkey Kong but this is likely not meant to be considered canon due to Mario appearing alongside Baby Mario in that game as well. When Yoshi's Island DS was released a few new baby versions of characters debuted in this title which one was Baby Donkey Kong. Baby Donkey Kong is likely to be the baby version of Donkey Kong instead of Cranky Kong due to him being younger than Mario and his strong resemblance to the current Donkey Kong.  Since Rareware originally created this fact and they are no longer in control of the Donkey Kong series it was unknown if Nintendo keeps this fact in consideration of what there view on the situation is. But since 2010 and the release of Donkey Kong Country Returns Nintendo and Retro Studios support the original idea of the current Donkey Kong being the son Donkey Kong Jr., the grandson of Cranky Kong, hence giving him the name Donkey Kong III.

Powers and Abilities

  • Superhuman Strength: Donkey Kong can break through and destroy most objects smaller or bigger than him. He has Super Strength since he is an ape. He can also climb trees and mountains and can swing from vine to vine.



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