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We review the origins of the Donkey Kong series, its games and more

The donkey kong series has had us on hold for several years. There hasn’t been a new release since 2014’s Wii U title Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, which hit Nintendo Switch in 2018.

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However, the appearance of Donkey Kong in the most recent trailer for the Mario movie has done nothing more than revive our desire for a new game for this charismatic primate.

In honor of that, we will review in this article everything about the donkey kong seriesincluding his origins and how he saved Nintendo of bankruptcy.

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The donkey kong series was the last hope Nintendo in the West

The story of donkey kong started in the early 80’s when Nintendo He was beginning to reap the fruits of his labor. They were having significant success with their portable device, but they knew that video games held much more potential. For this reason, they also wanted to venture into the recreational machine market.

It didn’t take them long to launch Sheriff Y Radar Scope, two games that were well received in Japan. However, the success did not translate to America, where Radar Scope it didn’t look interesting. This meant that Nintendo he had bought thousands of machines that were not selling.

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With its permanence in the American market at risk, Nintendo decided to entrust an inexperienced engineer with the task of redesigning these machines with a game more attractive to the West. That engineer was none other than Shigeru Miyamotowho would one day become the father of Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda and many other jewels.

The origin of the donkey kong series

Incredible as it may seem, Miyamoto did not immediately have the idea of ​​the donkey kong series. In fact, his original goal was to make a Popeye game, as it was a popular franchise outside of Japan. Players would take the role of Popeye, who would try to save Oliva Olivo
From the hands of the strong Brutus.

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Nevertheless, Nintendo he couldn’t get the rights to Popeye for the game, and with all the plans already in place, Miyamoto had to figure out how to make an original game. Taking inspiration from King Kong and working with what he already had, he came up with a new universe of characters. In this case it would be “Jumpman” (Mario) who would have to save Pauline from the clutches of Donkey Kong.

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But since the IP had to be original, Miyamo decided to put all his effort into it and did more than necessary. He created a complete background for the characters and introduced her through brief cutscenes.

Having a story in a video game may seem basic to you now, but in the days of arcade machines, it was revolutionary. Games usually just came with a series of characters and objectives to complete, without much to explore further.

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It was a risky bet, but Nintendo he trusted Miyamoto. They began by testing these new arcade games at two bars in Seattle, and it didn’t take long for them to become the most popular in the venues. The owners began to ask for more and the competitions were added, so much so that by 1981 Nintendo it had already sold more than 60,000 arcade games.

4,000 machines a month is not bad for a business on the verge of bankruptcy. In fact, Donkey Kong went on to sell 132,000 units in total, generating more than $280 million in profit.

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donkey kong series

The takeoff of Donkey Kong in arcade machines

There was no doubt that the donkey kong series It had a lot of potential, so Nintendo prepared a new game for each following year, either on Arcade arcades or on their own consoles.

The direct sequel was Donkey Kong Jr. in 1982, a game featuring Donkey Kong Jr. as the protagonist and Mario as the villain. Miyamoto was probably trying to figure out who was responsible for the success of the first game, and it ended up being both characters. The game was a success, but it sold less than the original installment with only 30,000 units.

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But Donkey Kong would return once more in 1983 with Donkey Kong 3, a game in which Mario would stop being the villain, but would disappear from the game entirely. The gameplay was very different from the first installment, and it seemed more like a shooter game, so it was not well received. In fact, it only managed to sell 5,000 units, a clear message that fans were looking for something more.

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Even so, Nintendo he didn’t give up on Donkey Kong and decided it was time to take the series to new horizons.

donkey kong series

The arrival of the series on consoles

Despite its steady decline, the donkey kong series managed to make the transition to consoles with their NES games. The first of these was a spin-off educational game, but it also received ports from the series. However, things began to change with Donkey Kong Country for the SNES, which quickly received the Game of the Year award in 1994 with half a million copies sold in its first week.

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DK Country was the beginning of donkey kong as a hero in his fight against King K.Rool, which established a new direction in the series. In fact, it received some direct sequels that included Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong Quest Y Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! Both.

The success continued later with Donkey Kong 64, a game that explored 3D in the best refreshing style of Mario 64 and even Banjo-Kazooie. It became the best selling game of Nintendo in 1999 and in one of the most critically acclaimed.

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Unfortunately the success did not continue on the GameCube due to the introduction of controllers. DK Bongos. Despite being a pretty fun innovation, it was too “new” and cost extra, so donkey konga Y Donkey Kong Jungle Beat They had regular sales.

donkey kong series

The laptops and the return of the series

From there the series continued on handhelds, often with spin-off titles. Nintendo tried to differentiate Mario and Donkey Kong with a healthy rivalry between the two franchises.

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The company even released Mario vs. Donkey Kong, with which both series were connected and stayed afloat. However, these installments focused on minigames far removed from what made Donkey Kong such a success in the first place.

Things changed in 2010 when Nintendo decided to return to his roots with Donkey Kong Country Returns, a hit with fans. This was the return to 2D platforming that many had been waiting for. It was a sales success with 130,000 units shipped in its first month.

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Its continuation had almost the same impact. Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze came to Wii U with 100,000 copies sold in its first three months. However, the game received a definitive edition for Nintendo Switch. To this day, it has sold more than 6.5 million units between both versions.

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All Donkey Kong games in order of release

As we mentioned above, the donkey kong series It was founded on arcade machines, but it has expanded to other platforms over the years. To this day, the franchise has had games for both desktop and portable consoles.

Below you will find all the Donkey Kong games in order of release:

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  • Donkey Kong (Arcade)
  • Donkey Kong Jr. (Arcade)
  • Donkey Kong 3 (Arcade)
  • Donkey Kong Jr. Math (NES)
  • Donkey Kong Circus (Game & Watch)
  • Donkey Kong Hockey (Game & Watch)
  • Donkey Kong Classics (NES)
  • Donkey Kong Country (SNES)
  • Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong’s Quest (SNES)
  • Donkey Kong Land (Game Boy)
  • Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! (SNES)
  • Donkey Kong Land 2 (Game Boy)
  • Donkey Kong Land 3 (Game Boy)
  • Diddy Kong Racing (Nintendo 64)
  • Donkey Kong 64 (Nintendo 64)
  • Donkey Kong GB: Dinky Kong and Dixie Kong (Game Boy Color)
  • Donkey Konga (GameCube)
  • Mario vs. Donkey Kong (Game Boy Advance)
  • Donkey Konga 2 (GameCube)
  • Donkey Kong Jungle Beat (GameCube)
  • Donkey Kong: King of Swing (Game Boy Advance)
  • Donkey Kong: Jungle Fever (Arcade)
  • Donkey Konga 3: Tabe-houdail Haru Mogitate 50 Kyoku for Japan (GameCube)
  • Mario vs Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis (Nintendo DS)
  • Donkey Kong: Banana Kingdom (Arcade)
  • Diddy Kong Racing DS (Nintendo DS)
  • DK: Jungle Climber (Nintendo DS)
  • Donkey Kong Barrel Blast (Wii)
  • Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again (Nintendo DS)
  • Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-land Mayhem! (Nintendo DS)
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii)
  • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)
  • Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (Wii U)
  • Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze DX (Switch)

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