(The following article should be best read while listening to this.)
Zzz... *snort* Huh—what?! Who started up that blasted music again? Can't an old ape get any peace and quiet around here?!
Oh... it was one of you tropers again, eh? Jumping from page to page all day and night—drives an old ape to tears, really...
Hold up — so you're actually here to learn about my history now, are ya? Well, it's about time, if I do say so m'self! Right — where to begin
Guess I'll start with my name. See here, most people these days know me as Cranky Kong—can't rightly imagine why, though. Thing is, the ape you're looking at was the original Donkey Kong — back when all it took was four frames of animation and an infinite supply of barrels to strike terror into the hearts of game players. Seems like nowadays, if it doesn't have a gun, realistic graphics, sports teams, huge worlds, or a complicated story, people aren't interested. I tell ya, they're missing out on what a real game is and have games like mine to thank for allowing them to have all of that malarkey! Look at my no-good grandson, what with his tie-wearing, his bongo playing, his peg-swinging, banana chompin' ! Ugh.. and to think people either believe he's me during my prime or my son, but that's because those lazy boneheads at Nintendo couldn't keep consistency if their whole company depended on it. But to be fair, that big doofus has proven himself to a worthy successor of the name Donkey Kong.
Let me clear up all of this confusion and start over from the beginning.
So! It all began at the beginning of The '80s (that's nineteen 80's, if you didn't realize), the era where the video arcade was alive and thriving! Pac-Man and his family were gorging themselves on ghosts, dots, and cherries, Frogger was trying to cross roads and not get himself ran over, the Space Invaders were upsetting the availability of Japanese yen, and Radar Scope was crashing and burning—the latest in Japanese videogame developer Nintendo's attempts to break into the North American market. Things were getting desperate, so the president of the company—the late Hiroshi Yamauchi (may he rest in peace) asked Shigeru Miyamoto, who had been working at the company for just a few years on at that point, to design a game that the unsold Radar Scope units could be converted into. What the company needed (among other things) was their actual own stable of characters, after attempts to secure the Popeye license fell through.
And that's where I come into this, finally!
I was dreamed up by Mr. Miyamoto as an antagonist that's "nothing too evil or repulsive" (hmph), so I ended up in the form of an ape. Everything's Better with Monkeys, or so I keep getting told. Well, that's all fine and dandy. But how did I get named Donkey Kong? Monkeys aren't donkeys, after all. Well he was over there in Japan, where they don't always speak English s'good. He wanted a name that gave the "stupid ape" impression (not going to say anything, nope nope nope), and he had a dictionary. Well, one thing lead to another, and Mr. Miyamoto used my name as the game's title, since I was the strongest character of the game. 'Course he did!
Donkey Kong was a hit all over the world — and all because of me! I was what the kids called "OG" — Original Gorilla! They made merchandise from my game, and even a cartoon based on it! I had it all! Not only was I on top of that construction site, I was one top of the world! The game itself was an exemplar of the great values of the old days of video gaming, where my rolling barrels, throwing jumping jacks, and running a pie factory somehow made the player, who controlled a goofy little character named "Jumpman", work and sweat and dump in quarter after quarter to get to the end of each level and the game. Yeah, yeah, he won, I lost. I took my beating like a champ, and was always ready for the next round, with the obstacles a little faster, the timer a little shorter, and the hapless sucker in a near-constant state of dread, hunched over the joystick and the buttons like a — never mind.
After the success of my first game, I found myself a little woman to settle down with, and we had a son — m'boy, Donkey Kong Junior. For some reason, though, when Nintendo naturally called me back in to make the inevitable sequel to my first game, they decided to make me the one in distress by having that Jumpman character stick me in a cage, and make Junior the star! Pah, no respect, even then still, I suppose the kid didn't do too bad a job for his first of only two outings. Can you believe it? An educational math game was his only other starring role. Poor Junior just couldn't hack it in the gaming industry. These days, I don't even know where he is. Last time I saw him was in a tennis competition.
While Jumpman decided to introduce his brother into the industry and move himself away from the "Donkey Kong" name, I knew that I had at least (at least!) one more game in me, so once again I came forward to make some poor sucker's life a living heck (pardon my language there) in a little game called Donkey Kong 3. Oh, you shoulda seen it — I was downright acrobatic, with me climbing all up and down, knocking around beehives and wasp nests, making my worthy opponent have to scramble to keep them away from his blooming flowers and spraying me up the butt to win the round... y'know, I think it was around then I wanted to take a breather from the spotlight.
Around the time people were seeing video games as a dying fad, I too was starting to feel my age a bit at that point, so I gave Nintendo my forwarding address if they needed me, and decided to pack up my family and move back to my home on Donkey Kong Island. Not much to say on that account; Junior grew up, married a local girl as they do, and had himself a son — that they named after his granddaddy, of course. Since I wouldn't let 'em forget how things used to be, they started to call me Cranky Kong — and that just made me more determined to give them an earful and then some! I think it was around that time that the wife said that she was going to pursue a career in teaching "like she always wanted" (coulda fooled me) and moved off to Crocodile Isle to open a franchise. Started working out too, which I think was due to my pet name for her — "Wrinkly Kong". What? It's cute!
Meanwhile, after video games started to resurge in popularity, Jumpman managed to star in his own series of titles for a home console of Nintendo's and somehow managed to become the face of, not just Nintendo, but video games as a whole. Even to this day, I just can't believe it! I was the one who got the top billing of our debut and somehow he's the one to rise to the top! My old arcade hits were ported on there too, but they didn't look as vibrant and my first game even had a whole level taken out of it! No respect at all! Argh, if I were 40 years younger..! Sorry, sorry—lost my head there for a second.
Years later, some company called Rareware, previously known for making games about a bunch of mucus-lobbing slime-jackets and pre-rendered button-mashers, decided to work with Nintendo for a while. They needed one last hurrah for that "Super" Nintendo of theirs after some speedy blue pincushion gave them a run for their money. They wanted to bring me back into the spotlight by shoving those 3D graphics of theirs onto me, but then they thought I was just too old. Bahh, I didn't need all of that anyway, I had made a name for myself back in the early arcade days. This didn't stop them from using Junior's son as the game's main focus, and they even had the nerve to give him an old tie I used to wear. That happens to be the Donkey Kong that you people are more familiar with today, and he has me to thank for allowing him to have that honor.
At the same time came the first Kremling war. Some no-good, slimy, scaly rogue crocodiles calling themselves the "Kremlings" invaded our island in the dead of night; they stole everything in my grandson's precious banana horde and beat up his so-called nephew, Diddy Kong. Turns out that DK told Diddy to guard the bananas as a part of his "hero training" and that he would take over at midnight, but that useless lunkhead slept through the whole thing. Of course, he tried to redeem himself the next morning by going out to rescue and team up with his buddy, beat up the bad guys, and get back those yummy yellow treats. Their surfing friend, Funky Kong, as well as DK's girlfriend, Candy Kong all helped to help them reach and save at certain points of the island. I didn't wanna be caught dead in a game like this, but the boys begged me to, so I graciously offered the two advice and hints that were essential for them to progress through the game. Hey, I've been living on that island for decades now and I have extensive knowledge about it! Without it, I reckon those knuckle-dragging numbskulls would be in for a clobbering from those lizards and their leader, King K. Rool.
After DK and Diddy managed to get the bananas back, the boys told me all about their little adventure. I admit they did a good job for their first outing, but it was only because of those fancy 3D graphics and that "Play It Loud!" nonsense that people bought the game in the first place. Of course, those two goons tried to convince me that wasn't the case and that it was "just plain fun", so I made a bet with them to go on an adventure (without the help of me or the other Kongs) on the original Game Boy, the very same handheld console that Nintendo had made a remake of me and Jumpman's first starring role on almost an entire year prior (That's right, I wore the tie long before that big goof ever did). They took on the challenge, I made the arrangements, and even called K. Rool and his men to come and swipe the banana horde again! Much to my surprise, they managed to triumph over him once again.
But of course, the stupid young lug didn't learn. He let his guard down and wound up getting himself kidnapped by K. Rool (in some tacky pirate getup) months later, leading to this unnecessary sequel. Luckily for him, Diddy and his girlfriend, Dixie Kong decided to chase the Kremlings back to Crocodile Isle and get the great oaf back. I came back due to popular demand, and I decided to give them my own hero training just to see how good they were. I challenged them along with a few others to recover a series of golden Hero Coins that I hid all over the island. Lucky for the little snots that my wife had set up her school there, on Crocodile Isle, and the soft-hearted old thing was willing to help save their game. She even went and offered gameplay tips and instructions for them — that was supposed to be my job! Then again, I was the one who opened up a Monkey Museum and gave the two hints about the treasures and treats found throughout the island, including that "lost world" guarded by that big behemoth, Klubba. Wrinkly was even smart enough to charge them coins for it, so you know I had to take that approach as well! Wish I'd been that smart in the first game never you mind! Still, between her, Funky, and that game show host, Swanky Kong, I was the most useful of the help those twerps got in this game.
After the little chimps rescued that big knuckleheaded grandson of mine, the whole clan decided to head to the North Kremisphere for some well-earned vacations. My wife closed down her school, moved into some nice caves, started to work out even more, and decided to get a Nintendo 64 for some reason. I didn't really approve of it, but that didn't stop me from playing it every once in a while to test out these 3D graphics everyone was raving about. DK and Diddy would just show how lazy they could be by just drinking banana milkshakes all day and sleeping on hammocks. Me? I decided to open a dojo, as it was time for me to get out more and do some training for my next game; if those punk kids could handle it, why, so could I! I also went all over the Kremisphere in Swanky's new amusement park. Apparently, DK and Diddy managed to get kidnapped by K. Rool, now a mad scientist, and the local Kremlings. Now Dixie and her baby cousin Kiddy Kong had to rescue them along with bringing all of those banana birds back to their mother, the Queen Banana Bird. Those same birds are where the island's bananas originate from and because of the energy found in those bananas, it explains what those walking wallets want with them. Pah! And I thought the second game was unnecessary, what an adventure that was. I wasn't even in the manual this time! Though I did have some fun, as I graciously deigned to let the two useless wimps challenge me whenever they dropped by Swanky's place.
Things were admittedly a bit dull but peaceful for me for a while. Rareware had decided to give us all a break after Dixie and Kiddy's last adventure and moved on to working with other characters. They went with some dim country bear and a smart-aleck breegull after they took that "dream" from some boy and a pirate. Meanwhile, my grandson finally met my old rival and started participating in his various activities, and Diddy had ventured off with the bear to Timber's Island to help out the local residents there. At this time, I had took a page from that has-been K. Rool and started studying science so I could make a potion that could whip me back into shape! And why not? The other arcade stars were making their way into 3D! The dot muncher was celebrating his 20th birthday, Frogger and QBert eventually found their way back into the spotlight, and don't even get me started on Jumpman..
My wife sigh she passed on around this time... ahh, shut up! I'm not crying!
Some time after all of that, K. Rool showed up again with some cheap knockoff version of Crocodile Isle, which had sunk a little while after the first time the big ape was rescued. This time, those gator goons stole DK's banana horde again and their cold-blooded king was planning to blow up our island this time, not showing any mercy on anyone! Diddy and three other members of the clan were kidnapped (I'm starting to see a pattern here) and held hostage in different portions of the island. Of course, DK had to go out and save them this time because even I know how embarrassing it would be if he wasn't the star of his first self-titled 3D outing. Thankfully they all knocked out K.Rool and saved the island, but they couldn't have pulled it off without the special ability-enhancing potions I brewed up for them, and that Rareware coin I made them earn with that Jetpac game! Those sneaky salamanders also had the nerve to steal an old arcade cabinet of my first game that Nintendo was nice enough to trade me for that old Killer Instinct cabinet back at the Monkey Museum. They had the nerve to repurpose it into their own little mini game for the crew, particulary DK! At least they all got the chance to play a real game for once! Afterwards, I decided to help produce music video for the crew, which I can't believe how popular it managed to become. Later, I then got the idea to hold some auditions for my own game that was going to be released on that Dolphin console they were working on at the time, but it was eventually canned because I was just starting to feel my age again, the group that auditioned was just pathetic, and due to other circumstances beyond my control.
Unfortunately, Rareware eventually had to leave the company after being bought by that computer company and while we would still have our fun, as well as wars with K.Rool and his crew, things weren't the same as they used to be. We still did some interesting stuff, like discovering magic bongos, held Jungle Jam tournaments, quickly climb on pegs found throughout the island, and racing those rancid reptiles in rocket barrels. My grandson finally decided to actually prove himself by doing some training for once and venture off on his own for a while.
Eventually, some living instruments hypnotized the animals and stole my dumb grandson's bananas again. He and his little buddy did some platforming stuff, while I converted my house into a flying shop to offer useful items. For a modest fee, of course. Then, just as we were settling down for DK's birthday, some blasted Arctic hooligans kicked us out of our home! I know I said that I wouldn't be caught dead playable in a newfangled game like this, but this was my island and it was time I showed those horned whippersnappers a thing or two about invading an old ape's island.
After getting the island back, I knew I had some strength left in me and I decided to finish up one last potion I had worked on! It turned me into an replica of my old arcade sprite! Around that time, I found out that the little damsel I kidnapped back in the day became the mayor of the city that the original game took place in, New Donk City as it's called now. It has changed a bit, the city looked more modernized and it looks like that old pie factory was shut down. Not only did the city showcase stuff from the events from the arcade days, but they even had some references to the Kremlings wars from back on DK Island. I decided to sneak into the city once its festival started, and to my surprise, Jumpman was there and some cheap sidekick that replaced his hat tagged along with him! I gave him one last challenge and I gave it my all, and even though he managed to knock me out, it felt amazing, just like old times! It was like I had warped back to the good old days!
I've made several cameos in those Smash Bros. games, too. You can see me walking around my cabin in Jungle Japes in the second game. I even appeared in almost all of the later games representing my glory days in the 75m stage and a scribble drawing in that Pictochat 2 stage. My movement may have been limited, but it was fun smacking around the likes of my grandson and that "nephew" of his along with Jumpman, his scaredy-cat brother and that knockoff who should lay off the garlic. Not to mention, that long-tongued newt, that green-haired hoity-toity goddess and that little bodyguard of hers, those pointy-eared twerps, that sparky yellow varmint, along with that psychokinetic sideshow, that no hoper who didn't even bother collecting my Hero Coins, those so-called arcade champs of the nineties and their offbrand competition, that little windup toy, and even ol' dot muncher himself! I'd go on and list every single one of these wannabe fighters, but I'd probably fall asleep by the time I got to that loudmouthed, birdbrained galoot. Trust me though, I got my eye on every single one of 'em!
Wait! Wha.. Wussat? They got K.Rool in Smash?! Ah ha ha! I've been itching to get my mitts on him! And somehow against all odds, that dopey bear and that snarky bird got in Smash as well! Eventually, I'll bring some real action and show them all who's the real champ, just you wait and see! In the meantime, maybe I can discuss with some of the fighters and assist trophies why we were all chosen for that cheap cartoon from the late '80s that got almost everything wrong about us. At least that cartoon with the Crystal Coconut was more accurate!
Just remember, Jumpman and DK may be the top bananas these days, but Nintendo, most of their competition, and the entire video game industry as a whole wouldn't be where it is today if it weren't for me! Now, I'm not in the mood to divulge any further on my past right now, so the rest of my tale will have to wait another day. Let's just get these tropes over and done with, alright?
Tropes that apply to me:
- Abnormal Ammo: Those dentures sure have bite to them.
- Berserk Button: Don't mess with my records.
- The Cameo: I may not appear in any of the Donkey Kong Land games, but Wrinkly kept one of my old pictures in her refuge in Donkey Kong Land III.
- Cane Fu: Think it's just for show? Guess again.
- Cool Old Guy: I may be old, but I still got a lot of fight left in me!
- Deadpan Snarker: Oh, really? I can't imagine why.
- Demoted to Extra: I played Swanky's Sideshow against those twerps Dixie and Kiddie in Donkey Kong Country 3... and who you calling "extra"?!
- Expy: My first game had me fill the role that Bluto, a maiden obsessed brute that was big, strong, antagonistic and rage-filled, was supposed to fill had Popeye and his friends got in. Of course, being an ape with the surname of "Kong", you can bet some comparisons were made with that! Now that I'm an old ape, I can't say I'm surprised that people compare me to that old cartoon star Slappy Squirrel.
- Grumpy Old Man: Who you calling "grumpy", you disrespectful hooligans?!
- He Knows About Timed Hits: Someone told me that if you hold down the Y Button in Donkey Kong Country, you can run!
- Hidden Depths: I may not look like it, but I've got a pretty good singing voice. But not good enough for those chumps over at Nintendo to bother putting in their games, apparently.
- Hint System: In Donkey Kong Country, I'd give my no good grandson some advice as to how to get extra lives and discover some secrets. I know I got lazy and didn't give him tips past the first area on the island, but that changed that with Diddy and Dixie in Donkey Kong Country 2, for a fee of course.
- Mad Scientist: I was concocting potions in Donkey Kong 64! Wait who you calling "mad"?! We used to respect our elders back in my day!
- Mighty Glacier: Sure, I'm not as spry as I used to be, but in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, I'll bring plenty of attacks in!
- Nostalgia Filter: You whippersnappers don't know how good we had it back in my day! Our video game controllers weren't battery-powered — they plugged right into the console. And we liked it that way! And we didn't need the game to explain to us how it worked. That's what instruction manuals are for!
- Promoted to Playable: So you think I'm all talk, eh? Well, ignore Donkey Kong Barrel Blast and go play Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and see how you'll think of me then!
- Retired Badass: You young'uns probably don't know this, but I was the original Donkey Kong in the arcade games.
- Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!!: Hah-hah, You better believe it! It's you kids who really need to learn to be polite! Why in my day
- This Cannot Be!: I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw those young'uns get over 2000 points on my Jetpac game!
- You Know What They Say: " all graphics and no game play!"
I could tell you yarns about the old days all day long, but I'm getting tired. Gotta get my rest.
Make sure to shut the gate on your way out. Were you raised in a barn?