Donkey Kong has been one of the most popular and recognizable arcade machines for nearly 40 years. Released by Nintendo in 1981, DK was an instant classic, and had given life to many of the characters we love and cherish now. It remains one of my personal favorite go-to games to this day. It is simple enough to understand but challenging enough to keep you on your toes.
Today we are going to dive into 5 facts you may, or may not have known about Donkey Kong. Lets get going!!
1. Donkey Kong Saves North America!
Donkey Kong was the answer to the failed attempt by Nintendo to penetrate the North American market with Radar Scope. With a surplus of 2000 cabs just sitting, Nintendo repurposed these cabs with DK.
Fun Fact: The first DK cabs were red, because they were converted Radar Scope cabs. After the surplus of Radar Scope cabs were used up, the cabinet color changed to the iconic blue cabinet you are likely to see today.
2. Nintendo Couldn’t Secure Popeye
Nintendo originally tried to secure the licence for a Popeye game, but did not succeed in obtaining it. This is when the concept of DK was born, and Nintendo’s idea of creating new marketable characters. Nintendo soon obtained the Popeye licence after the release of DK.
3. Not Always a Plumber
Today we know Mario as a plumber, trying to save his girlfriend Princess Peach, but that wasn’t always the story. Mario wasn’t always a plumber, nor was his name originally Mario. In the very beginning he was a carpenter who had no name, which later became Jumpman. He was later renamed to Mario once the game hit the United States because he had a resemblance to the landlord for the original offices leased by Nintendo of America.
4. Donkey Kong Documentary
Back in 2007, DK was the feature of a documentary titled King of Kong: A Fistful Of Quarters. The documentary follows the quest of two players competing for the DK high score world record. The documentary has sparked the interest of other people in competing to become the world record holder in DK in a competition called Kong Off.
5. Universal Studios Sues Nintendo
Universal Studios sued Nintendo claiming the likeness of Donkey Kong was too close to their King Kong. Nintendo countered that Universal had claimed in a previous case that King Kong was public domain property. Long story short, Nintendo won, and ended up naming another character we all know today after their star councilman, Kirby.
Donkey Kong will go down as one of the most popular arcade machines of all time, spinning off several successful franchises we still know and love today. DK is still a go to machine for us, and we get requests often to rent it out. Please like and share this article with friends and family, it helps keep the lights on for us here at The Retro!