Donkey Kong is a series of games by Nintendo. The series, composed of a mixture of platformers and other titles, stars the eponymous ape Donkey Kong.
The Donkey Kong series got its start in 1981, when Shigeru Miyamoto created the arcade classic Donkey Kong. The game, which starred the famous ape and Mario, Nintendo's future mascot, would become one of the most popular games of the early 1980's. Several direct sequels would be made, including Donkey Kong Jr. and Donkey Kong 3.
Despite the popularity of his arcade games, Donkey Kong would not become a staple Nintendo character until a pair of major releases in 1994: Donkey Kong, a reimagining of the original game for the Game Boy, and Donkey Kong Country for the SNES, a 2D platformer using pre-rendered sprites that would launch developer Rare into stardom. The latter game got two sequels on the SNES in 1995 and 1996 as well as a trilogy of Game Boy successors known as the Donkey Kong Land series from 1995 to 1997.
Donkey Kong entered the the fifth console generation with 1997's Diddy Kong Racing, a kart racing game similar to the Mario Kart series. However, there would not be a true successor to the Country trilogy until Donkey Kong 64 was released at the end of 1999. 64 featured a number of playable characters and hundreds of items to collect in several worlds.
Donkey Kong appeared on the Game Boy Advance in Diddy Kong Pilot, a flying game starring the sidekick character. He also appeared in the 2003 racing game Donkey Kong Racing, in which various characters from the series raced on animals instead of conventional vehicles. However, the only new platformer Donkey Kong would have this generation was Jungle Beat, which was controlled using a special bongo controller.
Donkey Kong has recently had something of a revival with 2010's Donkey Kong Country Returns. Unlike previous games, which were developed by Rare, this title was developed by Retro, another Nintendo studio in the West.
There have been a number of ports and remakes of Donkey Kong games. Most notable are the Country trilogy, which was re-released on the Game Boy Advance, and 64 3D, which was released for the Game Boy 3DS in May 2013.
Donkey Kong was one of the preeminent games of the Atari era, and since the series revival on the SNES, it has remained one of Nintendo's most prolific franchises. As of the end of 2012, over 60 million games in the various series have been sold, nearly 30 million Country games. Furthermore, many of these games are considered to be among the best for their respective platforms, such as the recent Country Returns for the Revolution.