Why is Donkey Kong called like that? The origin of one of Nintendo’s best-known characters

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Donkey Kong meets this year 2021 nothing less than 40 years. Four decades of jumps, adventures, some misdeed and humor. Magic. The Nintendo ape is one of the greatest icons and also one of the first great references of the great N as such, because for know its history we have to go back to the seventies, when the Kyoto firm tried to open a gap in the incipient world of video games.

The attempts of its president, Hiroshi Yamauchi, for sealing its brand in North American territory, it was initially unsuccessful; The Radar Scope did not succeed in the shops back in 1979. It is then that the figure of Shigeru Miyamoto comes into play, at that time a young designer with a lot of desire, ideas and talent. Miyamoto had been working at Nintendo since 1977, but it would not be until that moment when Yamauchi gave him his first major commission, supervised by Gunpei Yokoi.

From Popeye to Super Mario: how the Donkey Kong figure was created

Nintendo wanted the license to Popeye, but did not get it. This implies that the creative will to make a video game based on the famous Elzie Crisler Segar comic was frustrated; not so the ideas they had thought. This is how they begin to replace the characters in the series with other Nintendo originals.

Jumpman it would be Popeye; Olivia would be Pauline and finally, Bluto he turned into a gorilla which, according to Nintendo, should be neither too bad nor too disgusting. Miyamoto also took inspiration from King Kong Y Beauty and the Beast when designing what we would later know as Donkey Kong.

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The final name of this character would be “Donkey Kong” thinking of the North American market, a name that would attract these players; but actually the name Miyamoto wanted was “Monkey Kong”. Although it was said that it was a translation error that’s why Donkey (donkey) instead of Monkey (monkey) it’s false.

Master Miyamoto later said that Shigeru wanted a “silly gorilla” and chose “Donkey“Because that was how you could represent a more carefree and, to a certain extent, stupid creature. They also chose “Kong“Instead of” Gorilla “because in Japan the former was more popular.

The evolution of the character, as they say, is history. We invite you to learn the story of Donkey Kong in this special MeriPodcast.

References | WIRED


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