The origin of the name of the once popular video game “Donkey Kong” has always intrigued me. It has been suggested that the actual name was Monkey Kong and for some reason it was changed. Either it was the original bad translation, “All your base” style, a typo, mispelling or just that donkey is worse than monkey. In any case the big bad boss monster monkey is not a “King” and calling the game King Kong would have infringed.
Does anyone have the SD on the game’s name?
No one really knows where the name “Donkey Kong” came from. Some say it was a typo of “Monkey Kong.” Others say it was the Japanese-to-English or English-to-Japanese translation of “stupid monkey” or “stubborn monkey.”
You also mention “King Kong” would have infringed. Actually, after “Donkey Kong” became a success in the U.S., MCA/Universal took Nintendo of America to court, believing “Donkey Kong” infringed on their trademark of “King Kong.” Nintendo won, after it was discovered the two had very little in common and “King Kong” was in the public domain, meaning nobody could trademark it.
Snopes has this to say:
Interestingly, the arcade game’s instruction panel refers to Mario as “the Donkey”.
When the Jpanese were trying to find a name americans would like they decided to use what they thought were common terms in America. Donkey=silly Kong=monkey. So it mean a silly guy and a monkey. Thats what I’ve always heard anyway.