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Who is Donkey Kong?[]

For all that Mario has done for Nintendo, Donkey Kong, Mario's first villain, was there to watch it all. From the very first Donkey Kong title until even today, Donkey Kong has seen it all. Donkey Kong may not have nearly the respect that the rest of his Nintendo crew receives (far from it, actually), but this does not change the fact that Donkey Kong was one of Nintendo's first characters, and may very well be as big an icon as the rest of them. He's been around that long.

The beginning of Donkey Kong's series may have been his starting point, but the pinnacle of his career is easily the Donkey Kong Country series for the SNES. Thanks to some fun, fresh gameplay elements not seen in platformer titles of the past, the series sold by the millions. Some have even argued that it was the Donkey Kong Country series that finally helped Nintendo defeat Sega in the SNES era. Whether that is true or not, who knows? What we do know is that we may never again see Donkey Kong so well-loved again.

Nintendo tried giving Donkey Kong another title in Donkey Kong 64, but it failed. Because of this, he has since been all but abandoned by Nintendo. He has been appearing less and less in their party games, and it wasn't until very recently that Donkey Kong starred in another title, Donkey Konga.

But despite all that has happened with Donkey Kong, whether you like him or not, the big ape is like Pong. If for nothing else but his longevity, he deserves at least some respect.

"I was going to play the DK Rap for the Vivi/Donkey Kong match, but then realized that the exact same tune is what is currently playing in Hell." - MMXcalibur

Donkey Kong's Contest History[]

Win-Loss Record: 6-8

Summer 2002 Contest - North Division - 4 Seed

  • Northern Round 1 --- Defeated (13) Bub, 32602 [61.96%] - 20016 [38.04%]
  • Northern Quarterfinal --- Defeated (12) Aya Brea, 31798 [51.06%] - 30478 [48.94%]
  • Northern Semifinal --- Lost to (1) Mario, 11507 [18.02%] - 52333 [81.98%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 46th Place [13.51%]


Summer 2003 Contest - West Division - 6 Seed

  • Western Round 1 --- Defeated (11) Vyse, 61027 [62.42%] - 36743 [37.58%]
  • Western Quarterfinal --- Lost to (3) Tommy Vercetti, 50457 [49.52%] - 51425 [50.48%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 29th Place [24.52%]


Summer 2004 Contest - Midgar Division - 10 Seed

  • Midgar Round 1 --- Lost to (7) Vivi, 37338 [43.54%] - 48443 [56.47%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 32nd Place [21.96%]

For as long as Donkey Kong has been around, he doesn't get nearly the love and admiration one would expect a Nintendo character of over 20 years to receive. For whatever reason, Donkey Kong simply cannot draw the support of a Mario, Link, or Samus no matter what he does. It was blatantly obvious after he struggled with Aya Brea, it was blatantly obvious after he was killed by Mario, and one look at any of GameFAQs' "Who is your favorite Nintendo character?" polls all yield the same result. Donkey Kong may be Nintendo, but it doesn't mean people will vote for him as such.

2002 wasn't the only example, either. Donkey Kong manages to have legendary struggles with characters that he should be able to defeat with ease, or at least, the obscenely high prediction percentages that he gets in all of his contest appearances would suggest that Donkey Kong should be able to win these matches with ease. But he doesn't. He had to scratch and claw just to beat Aya Brea, he had to scratch and claw just to stay in it with Vercetti, he had to scracth and claw to prevent a loss at the hands of Duck Hunt, and he didn't even bother showing up against Vivi. People know Donkey Kong. People even pick Donkey Kong to win his matches. But it doesn't translate into votes come poll time for whatever reason. DK has proven himself to be one of the most unreliable characters in these contests. Hid seeding and Extrapolated Strength have gradually dropped every year, as has when he exits the contest. He went from losing in the Divisional Semifinal round to losing in the first round in the span of two years, and if this pattern continued, DK may find himself out of the field entirely.


Summer 2005 Contest - Flood Division - 4 Seed

  • Flood Round 1 --- Defeated (5) Sam Fisher, 56433 [64.76%] - 30708 [35.24%]
  • Flood Semifinal --- Lost to (1) Master Chief, 48597 [49.21%] - 50165 [50.79%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 24th Place [27.84%]

Donkey Kong is known for close matches and choke jobs, but Summer 2005 is arguably the worst one yet. Not only did Donkey Kong choke away a big lead against Master Chief, but he allowed Master Chief to score the biggest successful comeback we've ever had in a contest. Had DK won it would have gone down as one of the biggest upsets ever given that the match happened after Halo 2's release, but as it stands the choke against Chief is simply another bad match in a long line of bad matches for DK. One can only wonder how he'll ever top this one.


Summer 2007 Contest - Division 7 - Second Group

  • Division 7 Round 1 --- 2nd place, 33266 [27.66%] - Kratos, 48265 [40.13%] - Marth, 24832 [20.65%] - Prince of All Cosmos, 13902 [11.56%]
  • Division 7 Round 2 --- 4th place, 19213 [14.39%] - Kratos, 43362 [32.48%] - L-Block, 37825 [28.33%] - Kirby, 33122 [24.81%]

Not much to say about DK's performance in this contest. He pretty much did what he was supposed to do. He finished a distant second behind Kratos (though, for all the flak he gets about being SFF-prone, he seemed to avoid any of that with Marth there, for what it's worth) and got SFF'd by Kirby in the second round. Of course, this brings up one very important issue: If Donkey Kong isn't there to hold Kirby down with some LFF, would it have been enough to stop the historic run of the L-Block, which had not yet gone into full force? Like the answer to how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know.


Summer 2008 Contest - Division 5 - First Group

Another contest, another ugly showing by the big ape, though this was only the second time he's ever failed to get past the first round. Some thought that DK might have had a shot at upsetting Tidus here, but he ended up getting clobbered and losing by over 10% to him. While Tidus may be a Final Fantasy lead, he's hardly a pillar of strength. While this may not have been DK's worst contest showing ever (Has he even had a GOOD one?), he still ended up looking as sorry as ever.


Winter 2010 Contest - Chaos Division - 10 Seed

  • Chaos Round 1 --- Lost to (7) Vivi, 23379 [43.71%] - 30113 [56.29%]
  • Extrapolated Strength --- 80th Place [20.02%]

Rematches of past battles are rarely interesting (Mario vs Crono notwithstanding), and this was no exception, as DK scored just a tiny bit better than last time in another loss to Vivi. About the only thing notable about this battle was that just under 40% of brackets correctly picked Vivi, proving that while his strength may be down, Donkey Kong still has name recognition.


Summer 2013 Contest - Division 9 - 15 Seed

  • Division 9 Round 1 - 1st place, 13316 [45.76%] - (4) Lightning, 11181 [38.42%] - (24) Falco Lombardi, 4604 [15.82%]
  • Division 9 Round 2 - 3rd place, 4683 [17.08%] - (7) Charizard, 11374 [41.49%] - (16) Zelda, 11359 [41.43%]

While some people would have taken the upset in a 1v1 situation very few people thought Donkey Kong would be able to win due to Falco LFF and Donkey Kong having a bit of a reputation of choking. With Donkey Kong getting his first major release since contests began and Final Fantasy XIII not being a huge hit it did not matter, Falco was SFF quite badly and Donkey Kong had no issue winning. Of course the reward was being on the short end of a Nintendo match, though all things considering Donkey Kong held up quite well in the face of SFF.


Fall 2018 Contest - Division 1 - 10 Seed

  • Division 1 Round 1 --- Defeated (7) Tidus - 14826 [56.93%] - 11216 [43.07%]
  • Division 1 Round 2 --- Defeated (2) Leon Kennedy - 15845 [55.68%] - 12610 [44.32%]
  • Division 1 Semifinal --- Lost to (3) Vivi - 13347 [45.02%] - 16301 [54.98%]

Facing Tidus, another character with a reputation for choking, the joke was that somehow both characters would come up short of 50%. However, the casuals' faith in Donkey Kong would be rewarded for once as he had little trouble dispatching the FFX lead and benefited from the "icon boost" that saw 20th-century characters boosting all over the place, especially those from E-rated games. This allowed him to beat the oft stronger Leon afterwards and continue on to the third round where he would face his designated rival, Vivi. Sadly, Vivi seemed to have boosted as well and DK could only take solace in breaking 45% after having been held under 44% in each of his previous two matches against the Black Mage.

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