Here we go!
So they're finally here, performing for you
If you know the words, you can join in too
Put your hands together if you want to clap
And we'll take you through this funky rap! HUH!
DK! Donkey Kong!
That's quite a way to start an entry.
Everyone knows Donkey Kong. I mean everyone. Christ old people know about DOnkey Kong. It's no secret he's not from the '90s. But he was made in the '90s. That sound crazy?
Of course he would have remained a video game icon we'd all cherish if he stayed looking how he used to. But by now there'd be generations who didn't see him as anything other than "that old video game character", which obviously isn't the case. No, Donkey Kong had to change to retain his place as king of the video game jungle. And that happened.
See, until 1994 people stopped caring about Donkey Kong, or at least didn't see him as a character who'd be carrying on a legendary series the way Mario might (regardless of whether or not the games are good nowadays, Mario still is in them and they still sell a shitload of copies). Nintendo must have had a place to fill in Mario Kart though, because he was a character (still in the old leotard etc).
Then Donkey Kong came out on the Game Boy. This was, I believe, the first iteration of the simian with the monographed tie. He didn't have the cowlick - no, that would come later. After being in Mario Kart and on the Game Boy though he was ready for anything.
Rare came along and turned him into what he is today. Donkey Kong Country was born, and with it an entirely different design for Donkey Kong series games. He was fleshed out into a brand new character - no need for Mario except as an indirect reference in the intro. He was a brash, bold character whose game took advantage of the 3D "capabilities" of the SNES. It was an all new adventure, and it owned.
This bore witness to a series, which continues on to this day with brand new games and shit. Most importantly it spawned a television show in 1998 (for us Canadians) which is what I remember Donkey Kong for. Yeah - maybe the most famous video game character of all time and I remember him best for being from that monkey cartoon! Ironic!
As a footnote, I think he may have been part of the inspiration for my character Monocle Ape. No really! Gorillas in ties own!