->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 the girlfriend of a carpenter nicknamed Jumpman and escaped into a construction zone. Jumpman then had to brave the game's four levels, each one with many obstacles, in order to rescue his girlfriend. ''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 Jr'' In this game, however, DK was made a DistressedDude by Jumpman, newly rechristened as [[Franchise/SuperMarioBros Mario]], in revenge for kidnapping 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 Brooklyn 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 {{Rare}} with the ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongCountry'' games on the 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 {{SNES}}' color rendering capabilities. It also paved the way for {{Rare}} to become one of Creator/{{Nintendo}}'s most acclaimed development studios. Rare also produced ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong64'' for the 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 [[NamcoBandai 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 CluCluLand set in the Rare continuity, as well as the RacingGame ''DonkeyKongBarrelBlast''. The American subsidiary Nintendo Software Technology also produced ''MarioVsDonkeyKong'', which reunited Mario with his former rival (or probably the son/grandson of his former rival). The limbo came to an end when 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 daughter 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 {{Rare}} games with the extended ''Mario'' universe, as they were unsure if they could use those elements. 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 Jr''
** ''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/DiddyKongRacing''
*** ''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: 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''

* Other:
** ''VideoGame/DonkeyKonga''
** ''Donkey Konga 2''
** ''Donkey Konga 3''
** ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongJungleBeat''
** ''DK King of Swing''
** ''VideoGame/DKJungleClimber''
** ''VideoGame/DonkeyKongBarrelBlast''
!!Tropes displayed by the Donkey Kong Franchise
* 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''.
* DigitizedSprites: The ''Donkey Kong Country'' series popularized it for 16-bit consoles. The ''Mario vs. Donkey Kong'' series also uses this.
* EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys
* OutsideContextVillain: 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.