7 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Donkey Kong
Mario is Actually the Bad Guy
You might have thought that Donkey was just a stand-in for King Kong, and you're partially right. In the same way that a capture ape was brought to America and thrust in from of an audience against his will, so was Donkey Kong a pet. In this case, he's Mario's pet, and according to the game manual and he only ran away because he was abused. In fact, in Donkey Kong Jr., his son is attempting to rescue him from a cage where Mario is keeping him in line by holding a whip!
It Was Supposed to be a Popeye Game
Gamemaker Shigeru Miyamoto (Who you might know as the man that invented the concept of fun), originally wanted to make a Popeye game. However, since they were unable to secure the rights to Popeye they just took the basic character ideas and turned them from Popeye, Bluto, and Olive Oyl to Mario, Donkey Kong, and Pauline. Did the Kong thing get them in trouble over King Kong? Welllllll...
It Caused a Ridiculous Lawsuit
Once Universal Pictures heard about Donkey Kong they immediately went apeshit (So sorry) and sued Nintendo for every yen of their sweet, ill-gotten, copyright-violating fortune. The only problem was... Universal had already won a court case against RKO Pictures proving that King Kong was a public domain character. Lawyer John Kirby pointed this out, saved Nintendo's bacon, and eventually (allegedly) got the most adorable hero ever programmed named after him.