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Donkey Kong Was Originally A Popeye Game

Miyamoto says Nintendo's main monkey might not have existed

Donkey Kong is one of the most iconic games characters of all time but he may not have existed had Nintendo followed their original idea.

In the latest 'Iwata Asks' interview, Shigeru Miyamoto admits that Donkey Kong was originally meant to be a Popeye game. "I sketched out a few ideas for games using Popeye," said Miyamoto. "At that point, Yokoi-san was good enough to bring these ideas to the President's attention and in the end one of the ideas received official approval. Yokoi-san thought that designers would become necessary members of development teams in order to make games in the future. And that's how Donkey Kong came about."

"But originally it was going to be a Popeye game," Iwata continued.

"That's right," Miyamoto responded. "But while I can't recall exactly why it was, we were unable to use Popeye in that title. It really felt like the ladder had been pulled out from under us, so to speak."

"It was a really lucky break! So next we began to flesh out the idea for a game based on the concept we had come up with."

Imagine a world without Donkey Kong. No Donkey Kong would mean no Jumpman. And without Jumpman we wouldn't have Mario!

Comments

9 comments so far...
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  1. martyn_m Wednesday 25th Nov 2009 at 10:22

    I actually knew this as i knew Miyamoto liked Popeye and he wanted to make a Popeye game plus let's not forget Donkey Kong does look a bit like Bluto..

  2. JohnWilliam Wednesday 25th Nov 2009 at 10:39

    We've known this.

    For years.

  3. tomonm Wednesday 25th Nov 2009 at 10:40

    We've known this.

    For years.

    Not everyone has...

  4. neongiratina Wednesday 25th Nov 2009 at 11:55

    oh dear god, that doesn't bear thinking about D:
    without Mario there'd be like, no anything D:

    Imagine Pikachu being Nintendo's Mascot? OMG OMG OMG

  5. DragonOnSteroids Wednesday 25th Nov 2009 at 11:59

    oh dear god, that doesn't bear thinking about D:
    without Mario there'd be like, no anything D:

    Imagine Pikachu being Nintendo's Mascot? OMG OMG OMG

    http://baroquesoftware.com/img/dontpanic.jpg

    Think about it, if Mario wasn't Nintendo's mascot. Surely it would be Link.

  6. laguz Wednesday 25th Nov 2009 at 12:29

    oh dear god, that doesn't bear thinking about D:
    without Mario there'd be like, no anything D:

    Imagine Pikachu being Nintendo's Mascot? OMG OMG OMG

    http://baroquesoftware.com/img/dontpanic.jpg

    Think about it, if Mario wasn't Nintendo's mascot. Surely it would be Link.


    mr. game & watch says hi.

  7. ibarnaby64 Wednesday 25th Nov 2009 at 18:28

    oh dear god, that doesn't bear thinking about D:
    without Mario there'd be like, no anything D:

    Imagine Pikachu being Nintendo's Mascot? OMG OMG OMG

    http://baroquesoftware.com/img/dontpanic.jpg

    Think about it, if Mario wasn't Nintendo's mascot. Surely it would be Link.


    mr. game & watch says hi.

    Mr. Game & Watch isn't actually a video game character (or at least wasn't until Super Smash Bros. Melee); for most of the Game & Watch titles, Nintendo simply included the same generic look for all the different people (because it was cheaper/easier/they were lasy so-and-sos). 'Mr. Game & Watch' only officially appeared for the first time in SSBM.

  8. mattrules Sunday 29th Nov 2009 at 11:44

    Wow I never knew that.

  9. KingToAD Monday 20th Jan 2014 at 10:31

    I actually own Popeye on the Nes!

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