Donkey Kong turns 40: the story of the series

Donkey Kong turns 40: the story of the series

Donkey Kong turns 40

Forty years of Donkey Kong. In nature there are few gorillas to reach this age, but we all know that Nintendo is an exceptional ape, who gave birth to a real dynasty.

For this reason we have decided to retrace its history on the occasion of its birthday, trying to understand if the Kyoto house really has a new game in store to celebrate Donkey Kong's 40th anniversary.

The origins

Born in Japan on 9 July 1981 inside the cabin of the same name, Donkey Kong is one of the many sons of Shigeru Miyamoto and the late Gunpei Yokoi. One of those who, at least at the beginning, was not understood by everyone. They had in fact mistaken him for a villain, a Brutus who kidnaps the Olivia on duty and takes her to the top of the buildings to emulate his own king. King Kong of course. The girl, for the uninitiated, was called Pauline and, after overcoming the trauma, she turned to politics and is now the mayor of a big city.

Even Super Mario, or JumpMan if you prefer, has took some time to forgive him. In Donkey Kong Jr, the mustachioed plumber imprisons the gorilla in a cell as small as this, and tries to obstruct the rescue efforts carried out by his young son in every way. In fact, if you think about the past of the old Donkey, Mario also seems to have the good reasons of him to want to keep him in captivity.

In 1984 the Game & Watch Donkey Kong Circus arrives: here the plumber reveals his sadistic and vengeful nature, making the two gorillas exhibit in a circus where he constantly mistreats them. In Donkey Kong 3, however, we don't really know what pushes Donkey into Stanley the Bugman's greenhouse. In any case, apart from a few small skirmishes related to the Mini-Mario toys that appeared in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong, the two Nintendo icons seem to have finally reached a truce, which led to the release of Donkey and his transfer to the island of the Kong.

The family expands

Donkey Kong Country, a masterpiece of 2D platformer By Donkey Kong Jr, however, we lose track. In 1992 we see him challenge Mario's friends in Super Mario Kart, but already in Donkey Kong Country, in 1994, he is the grandson of the first Donkey Kong to lead the adventure, together with a real Kong family. In the new series created by Rare we meet Candy and Funky, Diddy and Dixie, Swanky and Kiddy. However, there is no trace of the father of the new protagonist.

The original Donkey, now accompanied by his wife Wrinkly, is instead referred to by the name Cranky, which well reflects his nature as an old man who is a bit grumpy, always intent to give advice to his disrespectful nephew. In the Super Nintendo Country trilogy, we also encounter new enemies, the Cremlings: a race of warlike anthropomorphic crocodiles who have waged a never-ending war against primates. They rob them of their banana supplies and kidnap various family members.

Cranky Kong in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze On the Nintendo 64, in 1999, the series switched to 3D (Donkey Kong 64), but the new millennium makes Donkey rediscover his passion for music, with a series of musical games where we can play bongos with him (Donkey Konga). And in Jungle Beat we can even use them as controllers for a real platformer. Diddy, meanwhile, had started organizing races, with Diddy Kong Racing for the Nintendo 64.

The Kongs were also lucky on a portable console, with the Donkey Kong Land trilogy for GameBoy and the Donkey Kong Country ports on GameBoy Advance. Obviously they also appeared in the different Super Mario party games, from Super Smash Bros. to the various Mario Kart, from Mario Party to Mario Tennis. Apart from these appearances, however, we haven't had a new game entirely dedicated to Nintendo apes for a while. In 2010 we had Donkey Kong Country Returns on Wii, followed in 2014 by Tropical Freeze for Wii U, also ported to Nintendo Switch in 2018.

Celebration coming soon?

'of candles, dear Donkey Beyond the birthday, in short, the times seem to be ripe for a new chapter, on which various rumors have been chasing each other for some time. Seven years of absence are a long time and it seems that Nintendo is preparing a big surprise party: the rumors speak of a new game, of a section of the Super Nintendo World park, of which some clues have already emerged, lots of themed merchandise and even of a series, or a film, of animation. On the other hand, it would not be the first time that Donky Kong ends up on TV, even if the previous one was not too positive. The old animated series is still fondly remembered by fans, for nostalgia or perhaps for memes.

On the game, however, we can formulate some hypotheses. Excluding if Retro Studios is dealing with it, currently struggling with Metroid Prime 4, difficult will belong to the Country vein. More likely, however, that we will have something completely different, which maybe will be made by none other than Nintendo EPD 8, the prestigious and talented Tokyo team.

The timing would be good since the team releases a new game about every three years: if we exclude Bowser's Fury, the last one dates back to the end of 2017 and responds to the name of Super Mario Odyssey. Plus there's a precedent from the GameCube era, and it was the team's first official game. We are talking about the aforementioned Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat, directed by Yoshiaki Koizumi, now the software manager of the entire Edochian division.

In short, the conditions for a birthday with bows are all there. And what do you hope for the good Donkey Kong? Write your wishes in the comments below.

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