Monday, December 29, 2014

Ape of the Geek: Donkey Kong!


Species: Gorilla


First Appearance: Donkey Kong video game, 1981

Other Appearances: Many other video games since then, including Donkey Kong Country and much more!

Merchandising: Donkey Kong has been reproduced as plush figures, plastic action figures, and all sorts of other items.

Biography: In the original Donkey Kong video game, DK was the bad guy, stealing plumber Mario's girl Pauline and climbing to the top of a construction site, where he would throw barrels at Mario to prevent him from getting the girl back. Obviously inspired by King Kong, the game was of course a huge hit, and would later lead to a sequel, Donkey Kong, Jr., which introducd DK's son, who tried to rescue his father from Mario. In Donkey Kong II, a video game for Nintendo's Game & Watch System, DK Jr. was off to rescue his father again. In Donkey Kong 3, DK's back to being a villain, and this time he's up against Stanley, who tries to keep DK from stirring up insects that will kill Stanley's flowers. Another Game & Watch game was Donkey Kong Circus, which had you controlling DK while he juggled pineapples.

With the Donkey Kong Country series (that also led to the later Donkey Kong Land series), the series is taken over by DK's grandson, also named Donkey Kong (making him Donkey Kong III, right?), and his sidekick Diddy Kong. The two faced off against King K. Rool and his Kremling Krew to save a hoard of bananas. The sequel, Diddy Kong's Quest, had DK being kidnapped by Rool, and it's up to Diddy and his girlfriend, Dixie Kong, to rescue him. This led to Dixie Kong's Double Trouble, where DK and Diddy are both kidnapped, and Dixie has to save them with her cousin Kiddy Kong's help! 

DK and Diddy take the forefront again in Donkey Kong Country Returns where they have to retrieve their bananas and save their island from the Tiki Tak Tribe. There were also other DK games, including Diddy Kong Racing and Donkey Kong Racing. 

DK was also the star in two animated series, one was part of the Saturday Supercade show, with DK escaping from the circus and Mario and Pauline going after him. A two-season Donkey Kong Country game was also produced, based on that video game.

Powers: Donkey Kong and his family have no special powers that other video game characters lack.

Miscellaneous: When the first game came out Universal Studios sued Nintendo, claiming copyright infringement of King Kong, although the court found in Nintendo's favor, saying there was no possibility of confusion between the two Kongs. I suspect that the suit would've gone better if there had been action previously taken against movies like Konga and other movies, toys, and so forth using "Kong" or a variation of it as the name of a giant gorilla!

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