One of Nintendoʼs first major games to be released after turning from manufacturing playing cards into a fully fledged video game company, Donkey Kong was created by Shigeru Miyamoto and is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The character is still highly loved among Nintendo fans and after all these years, he continue to star in some of the biggest games for the companyʼs consoles.
To celebrate the many years of this iconic character and his debut game, we have compiled a list of the generation of games that Donkey Kong has starred in and please feel free to leave a comment below on your favorite Donkey Kong moment!
Original Donkey Kong Games
Back in 1981, the first Donkey Kong game was released in arcades and was not only the game in which we were introduced to the iconic ape, but also the first time that we were introduced to Mario. Two years later the game would be released on the Nintendo Entertainment System and further boost the market and popularity of video games. The game was so iconic then and now, it is still played in championships and there was even a documentary based on the game that is famously known as King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.
A sequel was released a year later and saw you play Donkey Kong Junior instead of Mario and this particular game saw Nintendo make a Nintendo Entertainment System exclusive game that involved you solving math problems while reaching to the top of each level. The third game was made for arcades in 1983, as well as some Game and Watch games made during the eighties before the ape took a long break while Mario became the popular creation that gamers wanted to play.
Donkey Kong Country Games
When Nintendoʼs 16-bit console was released and continued to develop the video game industry, Rare attempted to bring back Donkey Kong and placed him in his own platformer and made other characters, including Kranky Kong and Diddy Kong.
The game was Donkey Kng Country and was a big success with Rare deciding to make two sequels with the same gameplay elements such as riding a variety of animals and making each level different from the last.
An animated television series was made and even managed to air for two years in a mixture of countries before being released on VHS tapes and DVDs.
The same company that would make the Metroid Prime games made last yearʼs Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Wii and managed to become highly successful among gamers and critics alike.
N64 Donkey Kong Games
During the N64 and Playstationʼs reign of 3D graphics, Rare was at its most popular during this generation with games such as GoldenEye 007, Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark and Conkerʼs Bad Fur Day. But they continued to push the Donkey Kong characters into the market and while they only released two from these games, they are both highly loved even by todayʼs fans.
The first was Diddy Kong Racing and is one of the few games that Donkey Kongʼs sidekick managed to get his own title and this wacky racing game is one of the closest competitors to the Mario Kart games, with the option to drive a car, a hovercraft or an aeroplane throughout each course.
The second game was Donkey Kong 64 and was also one of the first games that used the additional Expansion Pak. Following the footsteps of the great platforming gameplay from Banjo-Kazooie, the game was another hit for the popular console and is also one of the very few games within the series to have multiplayer.
Handheld Donkey Kong Games
Even though the popularity of the original Donkey Kong game saw Nintendo make some games with the title character for the Game and Watch handheld console, there has been a surprising amount of handheld games for Donkey Kong.
The GameBoy had itʼs own version of the original arcade game and Rare even made a series of Donkey Kong games exclusive to the console known as Donkey Kong Land that was treated more as a portable version of the Donkey Kong Country games.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong started out on the GameBoy Advance that saw Donkey Kong and Mario battle it out once again using toys of themselves to solve the puzzles and challenges that has become so popular that the DS saw a few sequels that had some tweaked and improved gameplay elements. While DK King of Swing and DK Jungle Climber was released for the GameBoy Advance and DS, they were out-shined by many puzzle games that it was trying to fit into and overall, players just wanted to play more Mario vs. Donkey Kong games.
With the popular music game Guitar Hero reigning over the PlayStation 2, Nintendo wanted to break into the music genre and introduced a plastic barrel peripheral for the GameCube. It didnʼt quite sell as well as Nintendo hoped, but it did see Donkey Kong star in three music games from Namco called the Donkey Konga series and Nintendo even tried to push the Bongo drums to sell with the crazy platformer Jungle Beat.
Even with Guitar Hero beating Nintendoʼs attempt to get into the music games market, the control system of the drums was seen on Donkey Kong Barrel Blast for the Wii after Nintendo decided to release it on the Wii instead of the GameCube and was ultimately a failure from Donkey Kong fans and critics alike.