Indeed, when Nintendo gave developer Shigeru Miyamoto the task of revamping Radar Scope to appeal to the masses, he just decided to pretty much scrap the whole thing and start over. What he came up with was a game that centered around a short little plumber named Mario who had to scale a bunch of scaffolding to rescue Pauline from the clutches of a giant gorilla.
Along the way, Mario would meet obstacles like barrels, pie, and fireballs, but he always had a handy hammer to rely on. Genius.
As for the name ‘Donkey Kong’? Well, stories are all over the interwebs about how maybe (a) it was supposed to be ‘Monkey Kong’, but the translation from the Japanese got messed up, or that (b) it was a typo when the memo went out from Nintendo… but it turns out Miyamoto meant ‘Donkey Kong’ all along–– Kong because of King Kong (duh), and Donkey because he wanted an animal that exemplified stubborness and difficulty.
In the end, the meaning of ‘Donkey Kong’ doesn’t really matter, we suppose. The simple fact is that the game was an instant hit, bringing kids with their quarters from far and wide. And it ended the 80s as the #4 best-selling arcade game of all time.
It had it goin’ on like… well, you know.
We ♥ Donkey Kong.