->For the 1981 arcade game, go [[VideoGame/DonkeyKong here]]

''Donkey Kong'' is a franchise of video games centered around the eponymous necktie-wearing gorilla Donkey Kong.

Donkey Kong made his debut in the 1981 arcade game ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong''. The premise of the game was that a gorilla named Donkey Kong kidnapped a maiden and escaped into a construction zone. Jumpman the carpenter then had to brave the game's four levels, each one with many obstacles, in order to rescue the lady. ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong'' was the UrExample of the genre known as the PlatformGame. The game was the BreakthroughHit of Creator/{{Nintendo}} as a video game company, paving the way for their later success in the industry.

DK later returned in the game's sequel: ''Donkey Kong Junior''. In this game, however, DK was made a DistressedDude by Jumpman, newly rechristened as [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Mario]], in revenge for kidnapping the beautiful girl (later named Pauline). DK had to be rescued by his son, Donkey Kong Jr., from Mario, who kept DK in a cage and summoned many creatures to stop DK Jr. from rescuing his father.

After ''DK Jr.'', Mario would later go on to establish [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros his own franchise]] separate from DK. First, he would star in ''VideoGame/MarioBros'', where he and his brother Luigi (who made his debut there) had to deal with the creatures in the New York sewers. Afterwards, he and Luigi starred in the landmark ''VideoGame/SuperMarioBros'', which [[TropeCodifier codified]] the standards for the PlatformGame genre and made Mario the mascot of Nintendo and the centerpiece of their gaming empire.

Donkey Kong wasn't done yet, though. He once again appeared in ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong3'', which was very different from either of its predecessors, being more like a 2D shooter instead of a simple PlatformGame. In this game, Donkey Kong terrorized a gardener named Stanley, and Stanley had to defend his greenhouse from the swarms of bees DK sent at him.

Donkey Kong was completely reinvented by the British studio Creator/{{Rare}} with the ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry'' games on the UsefulNotes/SuperNintendoEntertainmentSystem. The trilogy breathed a new life for the Donkey Kong character, giving him a supporting cast of other Kongs such as Diddy Kong and Dixie Kong as well as giving him an established group of enemies to fight called the Kremlings, an army of anthropomorphic crocodilians lead by a constantly name-changing king called King K. Rool. It was also established that the Donkey Kong of the arcade games was now old and retired, going by the name of Cranky Kong, while the playable Donkey Kong was either his son (and therefore the old Donkey Kong Jr.) or his grandson. These games were massively popular for their highly detailed digitized graphics that took full advantage of the {{UsefulNotes/SNES}}' color rendering capabilities. It also paved the way for Creator/{{Rare}} to become one of Creator/{{Nintendo}}'s most acclaimed development studios. Rare also produced ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong64'' for the UsefulNotes/Nintendo64, often thought to be a SelfPlagiarism of their own ''VideoGame/BanjoKazooie''.

Rare was later bought out by Microsoft, leaving the franchise in a state of limbo. Nintendo still kept the rights to all elements of the ''DKC'' games introduced by Rare. During this period, they collaborated with [[Creator/BandaiNamcoEntertainment Namco]] to produce the ''VideoGame/DonkeyKonga'' series of {{Rhythm Game}}s, which used elements of the DKC trilogy, and the platform game ''Videogame/DonkeyKongJungleBeat'', which was set outside the continuity and used no elements from the Rare games. The franchise was eventually given to Paon, who produced ''DK King of Swing'' and ''DK Jungle Climber'', two games reminiscient of ''VideoGame/CluCluLand'' set in the Rare continuity, as well as the RacingGame ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongBarrelBlast''. The American subsidiary Nintendo Software Technology also produced ''VideoGame/MarioVsDonkeyKong'', which reunited Mario with his former rival (or probably the son/grandson of his former rival). The limbo came to an end when Creator/RetroStudios released ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountryReturns'', which marked a return to the 2D platforming style, and its success led to the production of [[VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountryTropicalFreeze a sequel]].

Throughout its life, the ''Donkey Kong'' franchise has maintained a connection to its greater franchise, ''[[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Mario]]''. DK himself appeared in several ''Mario'' spinoffs like the ''VideoGame/MarioKart'' series, ''VideoGame/MarioTennis'' series, and the ''VideoGame/MarioParty'' series. For a while, Creator/{{Nintendo}} was reluctant to incorporate the elements from the Creator/{{Rare}} games with the extended ''Mario'' universe, due to ambiguous IP rights between Nintendo and Rare. The DKC elements were finally integrated into the extended ''Mario'' universe with ''Mario Kart: Double Dash!!'', which featured Diddy Kong as a playable character. Since then, other DKC characters have made appearances in the ''Mario'' spinoffs, among them Funky Kong and the Kremlings. Donkey Kong is also a perennial playable character of the ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'' series of {{Fighting Game}}s, which, unlike the ''Mario'' spinoffs, has incorporated DKC elements from the very beginning. Diddy Kong later joined in ''Brawl''.

* ''Donkey Kong'' series:
** ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong''
** ''Donkey Kong Junior''
** ''Donkey Kong 3''
** ''Donkey Kong Jr. Math''
** ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong94''[[note]]Note that the game's official name is Donkey Kong; the Fan Nickname (which was actually the Working Title) is often used to distinguish it from the original arcade game and said arcade game's various ports, which is why it is used that way here as well.[[/note]]

* ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry'' series:
** Creator/{{Rare}}-produced games:
*** ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry1''
*** ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry2DiddysKongQuest''
*** ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry3DixieKongsDoubleTrouble''
*** ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong64''
** Creator/RetroStudios-produced games:
*** ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountryReturns''
*** ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountryTropicalFreeze''

* ''Donkey Kong Land'' series:
** ''Donkey Kong Land''
** ''Donkey Kong Land 2''
** ''Donkey Kong Land 3''

* ''VideoGame/MarioVsDonkeyKong'' series:
** ''Mario vs. Donkey Kong''
** ''Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis!''
** ''Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!''
** ''Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem''
** ''Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move''
** ''Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars''

* Other:
** ''VideoGame/DiddyKongRacing''
** ''VideoGame/DonkeyKonga''
** ''Donkey Konga 2''
** ''Donkey Konga 3: Tabehōdai! Haru Mogitate 50 Kyoku''
** ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongJungleBeat''
** ''DK: King of Swing''
** ''[[VideoGame/DKJungleClimber DK: Jungle Climber]]''
** ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongBarrelBlast''

!Other Media
* The AnimatedAnthology ''WesternAnimation/SaturdaySupercade'' had two segments based on the franchise:
** ''Donkey Kong'': Here, Mario and Pauline are re-imagined as a circus owner and his animal trainer. Their star attraction Donkey Kong escapes and wanders the country, just wanting to live his life in peace. Mario and Pauline constantly chase him, and all three of them often get tangled with criminals or other disasters. They would often set aside their rivalry to deal with the situation, then resume the chase.
** ''Donkey Kong Junior'': Happening around the same time as the above segment, Donkey Kong's son attempts to visit his father at the circus, only to learn of his escape. Junior befriends a cowardly but well-meaning biker named Bones, and together they travel the country on Bones' motorcycle, searching for his father and getting into adventures along the way.
* ''WesternAnimation/CaptainNTheGameMaster'': Donkey Kong appeared in a few episodes and would sometimes get manipulated into serving Mother Brain.
* ''WesternAnimation/DonkeyKongCountry'': An animated adaptation of the ''Donkey Kong Country'' games.
* ''Film/{{Pixels}}'': Donkey Kong is a game the main protagonist Sam Brenner had never been able to beat as a child. In this adventure of video game characters coming to life, Donkey Kong is the final opponent.
!!Tropes displayed by the Donkey Kong Franchise
* BlindIdiotTranslation: How "Donkey Kong" got his name. Miyamoto was looking for a word in English that meant "stubborn" or "foolish" to match the character's personality, hence "Donkey." And he assumed from ''Film/KingKong'' that "Kong" was the English word for "big ape." Hence "Donkey Kong" "big stubborn ape."
* ConjoinedEyes: A quirky detail that people like to point out are Diddy and Dixie's eyes: They never blink with their eyelids but instead "squish" their irises to create the illusion of blinking. And the way that their face is designed makes it look like their eyeballs are connected to each other. So by definition, Diddy and Dixie are ''double-irised one-eyed monkeys''.
* ContinuitySnarl: The timelines presented by this series and the rest of the Mario franchise don't match up very well. Cranky Kong was the original DK, who fought Mario in his debut. He had a son, Donkey Kong Junior, who was quite young at the time. The current DK is Cranky's grandson, yet somehow also the same age as Mario.
* DigitizedSprites: The ''Donkey Kong Country'' series popularized it for 16-bit consoles. The ''Mario vs. Donkey Kong'' series also uses this.
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys: The heroic Kongs are all primates of various kinds.
* KingKoopaCopy: Many of the villains are highly reminiscient of the Koopa King:
** King K. Rool is often seen as the series' answer to Bowser. He is an overweight yet muscular crocodile who is green, has sharp teeth, menacing claws, and is the leader of an army of crocodiles known as the Kremlings. Throughout the series, he and the Kremlings have often stolen Donkey Kong's banana hoard, captured Donkey Kong and/or his friends, or any combination of the two.
** ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountryReturns'' gives us [[spoiler:Tiki Tong]], leader of the villainous Tiki Tak Tribe. He's get RedEyesTakeWarning, a JaggedMouth, and a scary roar.
** ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountryTropicalFreeze'''s main villain, Lord Frederik, is a powerful warlord who leads the vikings known as Snowmads. Like K. Rool, he too is pretty tubby, but still able to put up a fight. Interestingly, he's AnIcePerson, while Bowser is PlayingWithFire.
* OutsideContextProblem: Both of the villains from the Retro-created "Returns" series have been entirely new and unrelated to the Kremlings.
* SharedUniverse: Has a loosely defined shared universe with the ''[[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Mario]]'' series.
* TinyHeadedBehemoth: A few of the Kremlings, especially Klubba and Kudgel from ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry 2''.
* TrademarkFavoriteFood: Collecting bananas is a major part of the franchise.
* UselessAccessory: DK's necktie, Diddy's Nintendo hat, etc.