Donkey Kong (ドンキーコング Donkī Kongu) is a series of video games featuring the adventures of a gorilla character called Donkey Kong, conceived by Shigeru Miyamoto in 1981. The franchise mainly comprises two different game genres, plus spin-off titles of various genres.
The games of the first genre are mostly single-screen platform/action puzzle types, featuring Donkey Kong as the opponent in an industrial construction setting. Donkey Kong first made his appearance in the 1981 arcade machine called Donkey Kong, in which he faced Mario, now Nintendo's flagship character. This game was also the first appearance of Mario, pre-dating the well-known Super Mario Bros. by four years. In 1994, the series was revived as the Donkey Kong Country series, featuring Donkey Kong and his clan as protagonists in their native jungle setting versus a variety of anthropomorphic enemies, usually against the Kremlings, a clan of crocodiles, and their leader King K. Rool. These are side-scrolling platform games. Titles outside these two genres have included rhythm games (Donkey Konga), racing games (Diddy Kong Racing), and edutainment (Donkey Kong Jr. Math).
A hallmark of the Donkey Kong series are barrels, which the Kongs use as weapons, vehicles, furniture, and lodging. The Donkey Kong character is highly recognizable and very popular; the franchise has sold over 40 million units worldwide.
Donkey Kong first appeared in the eponymous arcade game in 1981 as an antagonist. He would become a protagonist in later games. Donkey Kong Jr. first appeared in the arcade style game Donkey Kong Jr. released in 1982. The plot was that Donkey Kong Jr. saves his father, Donkey Kong, from Mario (initially known as Jumpman in the Japanese arcade version of Donkey Kong). Cranky Kong is the original Donkey Kong who has alternately been called the modern DK's grandfather and father. He is elderly and frequently berates the younger generation of heroes. Diddy Kong was first introduced in Donkey Kong Country and is featured in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest as the main character. Dixie Kong first appeared in Donkey Kong Country 2 as a sidekick to Diddy Kong and has been referred to as his girlfriend. She later starred in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble alongside Kiddy Kong. Other notable members of the Kong family include Funky Kong, Candy Kong, Wrinkly Kong, Tiny Kong, and Lanky Kong. King K. Rool is the main antagonist of the Donkey Kong Country series, though additional villains have appeared as well, including Wizpig (Diddy Kong Racing), Ghastly King (Donkey Kong Jungle Beat), the Tiki Tak Tribe, and the Snowmads.
The player moves along the girders of a construction site, avoiding barrels
The original arcade game was created when Shigeru Miyamoto was assigned by Nintendo to convert Radar Scope, a game that had been released to test audiences with poor results, into a game that would appeal more to Americans. The result was a major breakthrough for Nintendo and for the videogame industry. Sales of the machine were brisk, with the game becoming one of the best-selling arcade machines of the early 1980s. The gameplay itself was a large improvement over other games of its time, and with the growing base of arcades to sell to, it was able to gain huge distribution. In the game, 'Jumpman' (the character would later become Mario) must ascend a construction site while avoiding obstacles such as barrels and fireballs to rescue Pauline, his girlfriend, from Donkey Kong. Miyamoto created a greatly simplified version for the Game & Watch multiscreen. Other ports include the Atari 2600, Colecovision, Amiga 500, Apple II, Atari 7800, Intellivision, Commodore 64, Commodore VIC-20, Famicom Disk System, IBM PC booter, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, MSX, Atari 8-bit family and Mini-Arcade versions. The game was ported to the Family Computer in 1983 as one of the system's three launch titles; the same version was a launch title for the Famicom's North American version, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Both Donkey Kong and its sequel, Donkey Kong Jr., are included in the 1988 NES compilation Donkey Kong Classics. The NES version was re-released as an unlockable game in Animal Crossing for the GameCube and as an item for purchase on the Wii's Virtual Console. The original arcade version of the game appears in the Nintendo 64 game Donkey Kong 64. Nintendo released the NES version on the e-Reader and for the Game Boy Advance Classic NES series in 2002 and 2004, respectively. The game was once more ported to Nintendo consoles Wii, WiiU and 3DS in 2013 and 2014, under the name Donkey Kong Original Edition.