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Donkey Kong could have been called Kong Dong, Nintendo court documents state

Also: Mr Kong, Bill Kong, or Kong the Kong.

Donkey Kong eats a banana.
Image credit: Nintendo

Nintendo court documents state that Donkey Kong once had a heap of other proposed names - including, unfortunately, "Kong Dong".

The revelation is included in 1983 court documents from a lawsuit between Universal and Nintendo (ironically now best buddies in the theme park business with actual Donkey Kong lands you can visit).

Said documents were originally scanned and placed online by gaming historian Norman Caruso in 2020, and were recently resurfaced again by Supper Mario Broth.

Donkey Kong Country Returns HD announcement trailer.Watch on YouTube

Back in the 80s, Universal and Nintendo went to court when the Mario maker stood accused of basing the Donkey Kong name on King Kong, which Universal held the rights to. (Spoilers: Universal lost the case, and Donkey Kong remains Nintendo's property to this day.)

The court documents list an extensive roll-call of alternative names for Donkey Kong that Nintendo had previously considered, including: Funny Kong, Kong the Kong, Jack Kong, Bill Kong, Steel Kong, Giant Kong, Big Kong, Kong Down, Mr Kong, Custom Kong, Kong Chase, Kong Boy, Kong Man, Kong Fighter, Wild Kong, Rookie Kong and the rather seasonal "Kong Holiday".

Oh, and Kong Dong. Let's just be glad Nintendo didn't choose that.

In another section of the court documentation, the presiding judge notes that Donkey Kong and King Kong were different as the former was "farcical and nonsexual". Which, again, let's just be glad about that too.

"Donkey Kong creates a humourous impression by jumping up and down and strutting back and forth to tease Mario," the judge noted. "The Donkey Kong gorilla is thus quite different from King Kong, a ferocious gorilla in quest of a beautiful woman who goes on rampages, chases people, crushes them underfoot, or throws them to the ground, and fights with dinsosaurs, giant snakes, airplanes and helicopters, all culminating in his tragic and bloody death."

The judge ultimately decided that Nintendo's Kong was "at best" a parody, and therefore exempt from infringement.

Back in the real world, Donkey Kong is set to return next year on Nintendo Switch in a re-release of Wii classic Donkey Kong Country Returns, scheduled for launch on 16th January 2025.

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