Legendary video game mascot Donkey Kong has turned 33 today.

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Debuting on 9th July 1981 in arcades, Donkey Kong was one of Shigeru Miyamoto's first creations and marks the first appearance of video game's most ubiquitous mascot, Mario - though at the time he was known only as Jumpman.

While Mario stole Donkey Kong's thunder, the big ape didn't go down lightly. According to Jörg Ziesak's 2009 book, Wii Innovate - How Nintendo Created a New Market Through Strategic Innovation, Donkey Kong cabinets earned Nintendo $180 million dollars in its first two years. That's the equivalent of over $650 million today. (Thanks, Wikipedia.)

As of 2006 the Donkey Kong series had shifted 48 million games, according to Forbes.

The big ape continued to star in dozens of games in the last three-plus decades. According to Wikia, he's starred in 29 titles not counting ports or other games where he's made an appearance in as a supporting role like Mario Kart and Smash Bros.

So happy birthday, Donkey Kong! May you get your own popular internet meme in Mario Kart someday.

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Jeffrey Matulef

Jeffrey Matulef

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Jeffrey Matulef is the best-dressed man in 1984. Based in Portland, OR he operates as Eurogamer's US news editor.

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