Updated at: 29-05-2023 - By: Leo Hall
Donkey Kong video games abound. All of the arcade, console, and handheld Donkey Kong games are listed here in chronological order.

One of Nintendo’s most recognizable characters, Donkey Kong has also appeared in a wide variety of video games across arcade, console, and handheld platforms.

While Donkey Kong, the banana-loving ape, is most often associated with 2D platformers like Donkey Kong Country, this wasn’t always the case.

Here, we’ll take a look at every arcade, console, and handheld Donkey Kong game ever made, in chronological order.

In the event that Nintendo announces any additional Donkey Kong titles in the future, we will update this timeline accordingly.

Arcade Games

Donkey Kong

Date of Publication: July 9, 1981

The now-iconic Donkey Kong character first appeared in the 1981 arcade platformer Donkey Kong, which was later ported to home consoles like the Famicom/NES.

Jumpman’s girlfriend Pauline has been kidnapped by Donkey Kong, and players must help him scale a series of girders to get her back.

Donkey Kong’s success was seen as a huge win for Nintendo, which had recently experienced a string of failures prior to its release, and it helped usher in a new era for the company.

Donkey Kong Jr.

Date of Publication: June 30, 1982

Players in the sequel arcade platformer Donkey Kong Jr. assume the role of Donkey Kong’s son, who must free his father from Mario’s clutches.

Donkey Kong Jr. - IGN

This is the only Nintendo game in which Mario appears to be actively working against the player.

Donkey Kong Jr. followed in the footsteps of the original by being ported to the Famicom/NES and other home consoles.

Donkey Kong 3

Date of Publication: September 28, 1983

Donkey Kong 3 introduced Stanley, a bug-man tasked with defeating DK after he broke into a greenhouse, marking the first time in a few years that Mario and DK faced off against each other.

To reflect these alterations, the game’s mechanics were changed from platforming to shooting using Stanley’s bug spray to eliminate any pests that DK may have let in.

Fans were not pleased with the significant changes to the formula, leading to poor sales and one of the mascot’s more forgettable escapades.

Donkey Kong: Jungle Fever

Publication Date: 2005

Before Nintendo commissioned Capcom to create and publish Donkey Kong: Jungle Fever, another DK arcade game hadn’t been released in a whopping twenty-two years.

Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat 2 was a rhythm-based 2.5D platformer for the GameCube that featured bongo controller peripherals and was released exclusively in Japan.

Little is known about the reception of Jungle Fever due to its limited release, but the idea of slapping bongos in public to the tune of Donkey Kong does sound appealing.

Console Games

Donkey Kong Jr. Math

Publication Date: 12/12/1983

System: NES

Donkey Kong Jr. Math, another outlier in the series’ canon, was released as an educational NES title in which the titular ape solved math problems in order to “win.”

In the two-player mode, one player takes on the role of Donkey Kong Jr., while the other plays as a female version of the character.

The game was well received in Japan but received negative reviews from the media in North America.

Donkey Kong Country

Publication Date: November 18th, 1994

SNES is the system.

DK really began to shine in Rare’s creative reimagining of the property and character in Donkey Kong Country.

The gorilla and his nephew Diddy are back in an all-new adventure to recover the stolen bananas of King K. Rool and his Kremlings henchmen.

DKC became the best-selling Super Nintendo Entertainment System game in the month of November 1994, selling over 500,000 cartridges in its first week.

Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest

The date of its public debut is 11/21/1995.

Species: SNES

The following year, Nintendo gave Rare the go-ahead to make a sequel to DK Country for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

Diddy Kong and Dixie Kong try to save Donkey Kong from King K. Rool in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest.

DKC2’s graphics, gameplay, and soundtrack were all praised by critics, and it was 1995’s best-selling video game, second only to Mortal Kombat 3.

Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble!

The official date of release is 11/18/1996.

Super Nintendo Entertainment System

In the third DK Country film, Dixie Kong and her cousin Kiddy Kong play a central role in an effort to rescue Diddy and Donkey from the clutches of the evil robot KAOS.

Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! was well-received by critics upon its release, with many praising the game’s graphical presentation and innovative gameplay.

Although it wasn’t unexpected given the nature of video game development, it was still interesting to see Nintendo release DKC3 for the SNES instead of the N64.

Diddy Kong Racing

The official date of release is 11/21/1997.

Nintendo 64 System

Instead, Rare’s Diddy Kong Racing, a 3D kart racer starring the eponymous monkey and featuring cameos by Rare mascots Banjo and Conker, was the first game released for the new console.

The sequel was well received by gamers and reviewers, sold over four million copies, and is now the number eight best-selling N64 game of all time.

Donkey Kong Racing 2, which had been in the works for the GameCube, was cancelled after Microsoft’s acquisition of Rare.

Donkey Kong 64

The official date of release is 11/22/1999.

Nintendo 64 System

First appearing in Donkey Kong 64, a 3D platformer similar to Super Mario 64 in which the gorilla must free his friends from King K. Rool’s clutches, Donkey Kong made his official N64 debut.

Having five different characters to choose from, each with their own set of skills and arsenal, was a welcome addition to the otherwise solid platforming experience.

DK 64 was well-received by critics, with some minor complaints centered on its collectible-heavy design, a common theme in games at the time that were developed by Rare.

Donkey Konga Series

Dates of Initial Publication: 12 December 2003 – 17 March 2005

System: Nintendo GameCube

Because of their shared rhythm-based gameplay and varied song selections, we’ve decided to group the three Donkey Konga games together.

Donkey Konga | Nintendo GameCube | Games | Nintendo

The player takes control of Donkey Kong as he plays a set of bongo drums to the tune of different songs in this Namco and Nintendo GameCube series.

Whether you’re using the DK Bongos peripheral or a regular controller, you can rock out to songs from Super Mario, the Legend of Zelda, and other Nintendo properties, as well as covers of popular singles.

Donkey Kong Jungle Beat

Date of Publication: December 16th, 2004

System: Nintendo GameCube

Donkey Kong Jungle Beat is a platformer for the GameCube that makes use of the GameCube’s standard controller in addition to the DK Bongos made famous in Donkey Konga.

Side-scrolling levels with combo-based interactions allow DK to collect fruit and climb vines on his way to vanquishing a series of evil kings and taking control of the jungle.

The game received mostly positive reviews, with some minor complaints about its short length; Rare hasn’t made a console platformer since Country, but Jungle Beat is the first one in a long time.

Donkey Kong Barrel Blast

Date of Publication: June 28th, 2007

Console: Wii

Despite a history of games for the DK Bongos, Nintendo has taken the unusual step of releasing Donkey Kong Barrel Blast for the Wii without DK Bongos support.

Even though this is understandable given the game’s protracted development time (it was supposed to come out on the GameCube as Donkey Kong Bongo Blast), I’m sure there was a more efficient way to go about things.

Since the Bongos had to be replaced with the Wii-mote and nunchuk, this led to some negative reviews being “blasted” at Barrel Blast.

Donkey Kong Country Returns

November 21st, 2010 – Date of Publication

Hardware: Wii

Donkey Kong Country Returns, developed by Retro Studios, is a throwback to the original DK Country trilogy in the form of a side-scrolling platformer.

Bananas belonging to Donkey and Diddy are stolen by a tribe of evil Tiki-like creatures who have traveled to DK Island and are using mind control on the locals.

Upon its release, DKCR was praised for its great platforming gameplay, retro-inspired visuals, and difficult levels.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

On the market as of February 14th, 2014

Wii U is the system in question.

A sequel to DKCR arrived in 2014 for the Wii U and again in 2018 for the more popular Nintendo Switch.

In Tropical Freeze, the banana-obsessed ape battles a group of arctic-themed bad guys who want to freeze his tropical paradise.

It expanded on what made DKCR enjoyable while also experimenting with new visual themes and control options, earning it near-perfect reviews from a number of gaming publications.

Handheld Games

Donkey Kong

Date of Publication: June 14, 1994

Game Boy is the system.

Donkey Kong, originally released in the arcades in 1981, was remade for the Nintendo Game Boy in 1994 with new levels and bonuses.

Many aspects of the gameplay have been altered from the original, such as giving Jumpman (Mario) new attacks.

All of the levels required the use of special abilities, such as a triple jump, handstand, backflip, and the ability to hang and spin from wires.

Donkey Kong Land Series

Dates of Initial Publication: June 26, 1995–October 27, 1997

Hardware: Game Boy

We’ve also decided to group the Donkey Kong Land games together because of how similarly they play to the original Donkey Kong Country titles.

DK Land 2 (DKC2) and DK Land 3 (DKC3) are sequels to the original DK Land, which is an updated version of DKC with new levels.

Critics and fans alike praised the handheld adaptation of the platformer trilogy, and the games were generally well received.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong

Published on May 24, 2004.

Game Boy Advance is the system.

Released for the Game Boy Advance in 1994, Mario vs. Donkey Kong is a worthy successor to the original DK arcade games.

The game’s central mechanic is a series of puzzle-platforming levels in which Mario must unlock doors to free a host of Mini Marios.

Although it wasn’t an essential part of the franchise’s development, it was a fun spinoff that audiences enjoyed and which led to several sequels.

DK King of Swing

Date of Publication:February 4, 2005

Gaming System: Game Boy Advance

DK King of Swing, another puzzle-platforming style Game Boy Advance game developed by Japanese studio Paon, is planned as the next portable entry in the series.

Like the classic NES game Clu Clu Land, it deviates from the standard DK gameplay by having characters rotate around pegs to advance through levels.

The release of King of Swing, a game that offers both cooperative and competitive multiplayer as well as a single-player adventure mode, was met with mixed reviews.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis

Date of Publication: September 25, 2006

Gaming System: Nintendo DS

The sequel to Mario vs. Donkey Kong, March of the Minis, is another side-scrolling platformer where the player takes control of a squad of Mini Marios.

It included more references to the original Donkey Kong arcade game, with Pauline, the game’s original damsel in distress, making an appearance.

Reviews for the sequel were generally positive, and as of 2007, it had sold over 1.2 million copies around the world.

DK Jungle Climber

Date of Publication: August 9th, 2007

Nintendo DS, the Platform

The 2007 Nintendo DS exclusive, DK Jungle Climber is the sequel to the popular game King of Swing.

Swinging between pegs to make your way through vertically scrolling levels is at the heart of the gameplay, just as it was in the original Donkey Kong.

The dual screens of the DS are used to create the illusion of vast environments, and the game also features new moves, items, and minigames compared to the original.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!

Date of Publication: June 8, 2009

Gaming System: Nintendo DSi

The third installment in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series, Minis March Again!, builds upon the success of its predecessor by emphasizing the puzzle-solving aspects of the gameplay.

Besides guiding Mini Marios, players will also meet Mini Princess Peach, Mini Toad, and Mini Donkey Kong.

The Minis March Again! level editor allows players to create their own levels and share them with the community for the first time in a DSiWare game.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!

The official date of release is 11/14/2010.

Game System: Nintendo DS

In Mini-Land Mayhem!, the upcoming Mario vs. Donkey Kong game, Mario and Pauline are attending the grand opening of a new amusement park when Donkey Kong crashes the party and abducts Pauline.

Mario chases DK around the park in an effort to rescue Peach with the help of wind-up toy versions of himself, Mini Marios.

Spike pits, conveyor belts, springs, warp pipes, and cannons are just some of the new obstacles and tools in the game.

Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move

May 9th, 2013 — Date of Publication

Nintendo 3DS System

Minis on the Move is still part of the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series, despite its new name, because it features the Minis.

In this Japanese game, which goes by the name Mario & Donkey Kong: MiniMini Carnival, players create paths for Minis to follow by placing blocks in a grid.

The game received generally positive reviews, with many critics singling out the game’s level editor as a standout feature.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars

Date of Publication: March 5th, 2015

Nintendo 3DS and Wii U

It appears that Tipping Star, rather than Tropical Freeze, is the last game in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series.

The game, which was released simultaneously for the Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS portable, centers around drawing and connecting lines to lead Mini Marios past obstacles.

Mario Vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars - 3DS Review - GAMING TREND

Many reviewers praised Tipping Stars for its difficulty and length but criticized it for being too formulaic.

13 Things You Might Not Know About Donkey Kong


The iconic plumber made his debut in the Donkey Kong arcade game back in 1981. His actual moniker, however, didn’t come until the sequel, Donkey Kong Jr.

Mr. Video and “Ossan,” a Japanese term for a middle-aged man, were temporary names for the character while rookie game designer Shigeru Miyamoto was still planning the original. Because early arcade systems couldn’t render hair or facial features, designers gave Mario his distinctive red overalls and blue shirt (originally intended as carpenter’s threads) to make his body stand out. Jumpman was chosen by Nintendo as the name of Donkey Kong’s protagonist (and the game itself for a short time during development) due to its resemblance to the more well-known Walkman and Pac-Man.


An insider at Nintendo claimed that during the creation of Donkey Kong, Jr., they were reminded of Nintendo’s Italian landlord Mario Segale. So, Mario entered the world. Pauline was simultaneously bestowed upon the original “Lady” character in honor of one team member’s wife, Polly.


Miyamoto said in an interview with Nintendo’s current president Satoru Iwata that he never intended for the main character to be able to jump. The old Radar Scope game cabinets he had to repurpose for the new game, however, came equipped with a joystick and a button that proved invaluable in teaching Mario his signature move.

Miyamoto: The original concept was an escape the maze game. The game’s strategic value would have been lost if players could simply jump over obstacles. But then we asked ourselves, “What would you do if a barrel was rolling straight at you?” Iwata: (Laughs) Of course you would skip that! Of course you’d leap over it, Miyamoto! So we made a prototype to see if it would work and found that pressing the button gave players the ability to make a successful jump. I believe that the game would have been extremely challenging to play if we hadn’t allowed Mario to jump.


GamesRadar acknowledged Donkey Kong twice as pivotal to the history of video games. The first was for pioneering the “platforming” style of game design, which allows players to quickly and easily overcome obstacles “by pressing a single button to jump in one direction” and “is at the bedrock of gaming and will probably be a defining element of games for as long as they exist.” ”


The second innovation praised by GamesRadar is the way Donkey Kong’s story develops as its characters interact with one another and work out their differences. This was a huge improvement and “helped games evolve from simple, one-note diversions to epic, character-driven sandboxes with expansive worlds and a wide variety of gameplay options.”

Overall, these modifications assisted in making video games significantly more entertaining for ’80s arcade players and future generations of players. Miyamoto elaborated on this in his interview with Nintendo.

Now, a fun game should always be intuitive; it shouldn’t take more than a glance to figure out how to play. The objective should be obvious at a glance, and if you don’t achieve it, you should be able to put more of an emphasis on your own shortcomings than on the game itself. In addition, spectators should take pleasure in watching the game as much as the players do.


Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Nintendo Co., Ltd. was originally filed in 1982, argued in May 1984, and resolved in October of that same year..shown Universal’s desire to get in on Nintendo’s Donkey Kong. The studio claimed copyright infringement in 1982 after the game earned $180 million from sales of around 60,000 arcade machines. The game’s antagonist resembled King Kong.

It was Nintendo’s attorney, John Kirby, Jr. (after whom the company’s fluffiest character is reportedly named) who pointed out that Universal had already proven in Universal City Studios, Inc. v. RKO General, Inc. that the story and characters of King Kong were in the public domain. According to the court’s decision in Nintendo’s favor, Universal filed the lawsuit in bad faith, lacked any legal claim to the characters at issue, and failed to provide evidence that “an appreciable number of prudent purchasers” would be confused as to the origin of Donkey Kong given the similarities between the two.


Despite successfully countering Universal’s claims, Nintendo has been vigilant in guarding its own IP. While Nintendo was busy filing for trademark protection on the catchphrase “It’s on like Donkey Kong,” which has been used in everything from an Ice Cube song to a description of political strife, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the company was also firing legal rounds at pirated and knockoff versions of Donkey Kong like Crazy Kong, Konkey Kong, Congorilla, and Donkey King. Nintendo acquired the trademark for the phrase on August 27, 2013.


There was a popular culture precedent for Donkey Kong. Miyamoto and his team were tasked with coming up with new characters after Nintendo was unable to secure a license for the Popeye characters from the comic strip. Miyamoto created a love triangle involving a carpenter, a gorilla, and a beautiful woman, reminiscent of the one between Popeye, his ogre-like enemy Bluto, and Olive Oyl. Miyamoto claimed that turning his Bluto doppelganger into an ape kept the big brute from being “too evil or repulsive.”


Jumpman’s hammer attack is accompanied by a rousing tune reminiscent of the tune played by buglers to rally the home army before a battle.


Miyamoto has stated in interviews that he initially mistook “Kong” to mean gorilla and thus wanted “something-something” Kong to be the character’s name. Donkey meant stupid in English, so he went with that. It was effective because the original Donkey Kong was just an escaped pet and not a bad guy.


The U.S. team at Nintendo of America were turned off by the game’s unusual title and its structure, which was different from the maze and shooter games that were popular at the time, when Miyamoto and supervising developer Gunpei Yokoi sent it over for testing. But Nintendo executive Minoru Arakawa, who originally tasked Miyamoto and others with making Donkey Kong, was confident in the game’s potential, and the Japanese designers refused to change the name to appeal to American gamers.

American Nintendo representatives were able to place Donkey Kong machines in two Seattle bars once the game’s cabinet art and plot were finalized, and despite initial skepticism from the bars’ managers, both establishments have since requested additional units after the first two averaged 120 plays per day in their first week.


After the initial run of 2,000 units sold out and Nintendo waited too long for more to arrive from Japan, Nintendo’s representatives in the United States began producing additional components to install in the Radar Scope cabinets they already had on hand. By June of 1982, Nintendo had sold 60,000 Donkey Kongs, or $180 million. Sales had increased from 4,000 units per month in October 1981. The following year, the game brought in another $100 million for Nintendo, and right up until the summer of 1983, it was the company’s best-selling product.


After playing Super Mario Brothers 2 (a game in which you choose your character) with his daughter, age 3, video game designer Mike Mika said she was “genuinely disappointed” to learn she couldn’t “play the girl” in Donkey Kong.

He went on, “I saw her and she looked really down,” he said. As a professional game designer, I should be able to fix this. That is the nature of my professional life. I can’t take her to the moon, but I should be able to help her out here. ”