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The Evolution of Our Most Beloved Ape: Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong - A Humble Beginning

Donkey Kong first entered our lives in 1981 in the form of a simple platform game. In the case of most original Nintendo games, Donkey Kong's first game involved the player maneuvering Mario on various platforms simultaneously dodging and bounding over the numerous obstacles in a bid to save the damsel in distress, Pauline, from the giant ape, Donkey Kong.  

Nintendo's previous attempts to crack North America had failed miserably, so the creation of Donkey Kong came from a place of desperation as Nintendo looked to develop worldwide. With a budget of $100,000, industrial designer, Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo's head engineer Gunpei Yokoi, set out to create a game that would help transform Nintendo forever. 

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Their investment payed off, with Donkey Kong becoming hugely successful in both the USA and Canada. By October of 1982, orders for the game had multiplied from 2,000 units to 4,000 and by the following June over 60,000 Donkey Kong units had flown off the shelves and made Nintendo a decent $180 million. Also selling steadily in Japan, Donkey Kong became Nintendo's top seller as the units continued to sell well into the summer of 1983. 


So how has Donkey Kong's appearance changed over the years?


The first time ever we saw Donkey Kong's face (1981)

The First Donkey Kong in 1981

Donkey Kong Land (1995)

Donkey Kong Land

Donkey Kong Country (1997 - 2000)


So where are we now?

With multiple Donkey Kong appearances, this primary antagonist has become an extremely popular playable character, with appearances on Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. 

Not only has Donkey Kong's appearance had a massive overhaul over the years as developments in technology allow for more sophisticated game play - he has had many voices too, with Grant Kirkhope, Takashi Nagasako and Garry Chalk all helping to bring Donkey Kong to life.

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So why am I sat here writing this about Donkey Kong, well because of the Nintendo Switch game release Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, of course! With awesome game play promises and a Funky Donkey Kong character introduction, this game will have you wishing for your own tropical adventure

Here's what Nintendo had to say about Funky Donkey Kong:

"Exclusively on Nintendo Switch, enjoy a chill new mode as groovy surfing simian Funky Kong! He can double jump, hover, perform infinite rolls and even perform infinite underwater corkscrews! Thanks to his sturdy surfboard, even spikes can’t slow him down. With this righteous dude, even stages packed with perils can be smooth surfing."

Funky Donkey Kong
Funky Donkey Kong (2018)

Many gamers have already taken to the internet to review the latest addition to the Nintendo Switch family.

With one gamer commenting, "displaying gorgeous visuals, fantastic level design and a steep difficulty curve that seasoned players will appreciate, it's a game that fully deserves a spot in your Switch collection."

And another stating, "Its now or never, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze for Nintendo Switch is probably one the best 2D platform experiences available for the console."

Although the comments appear to be glowing, one gamer explained, "Laden with beginner's traps and environmental hazards that are not well-telegraphed in the slightest, this frequently-trial-and-error affair features sloppy, unresponsive, & slippery controls as the icing on the cake."

Whatever your own opinions are about the latest addition, Donkey Kong has endured a lot of changes through the years and still remains a firm favourite with all of the family. Who would have thought an ape created out of almost desperation would still be around nearly 40 years down the line?!

Whether you love or hate the Nintendo Switch adaptation, we want to hear what you think in the comments below...

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