Donkey Kong Shock
Image: Nintendo

It's crazy to consider DK called anything other than Donkey Kong, but there was a time when Nintendo considered other possibilities including some wild swings.

Back in the '80s, Nintendo and Universal went head to head in a lawsuit with the former accused of basing DK on the iconic ape of the big screen, King Kong.

According to a 1983 court document from the case, Nintendo had a bunch (hehe) of ideas for potential Kong names before settling on the Donkey variety.

The documents, which were scanned by gaming historian Norman Caruso back in 2020 before resurfacing recently thanks to the Mario fan account Supper Mario Broth, detail just some of the names that Nintendo had on the cards including "Bill Kong", "Steel Kong", "Kong Holiday" and, ahem, "Kong Dong"...

You know what, this is a list that needs to be seen to be believed. Here are all of Nintendo's listed suggestions followed by the document itself from Caruso:

Funny Kong, Kong the Kong, Jack Kong, Funky Kong, Bill Kong, Steel Kong, Giant Kong, Big Kong, Kong Down, Kong Dong, Mr. Kong, Custom Kong, Kong Chase, Kong Boy, Kong Man, Kong Fighter, Wild Kong, Rookie Kong, Kong Holiday

There's a lot to unpack there, no? Sure, we probably dodged a bullet with "Kong Dong" not making it through to boot camp, but we can't be the only ones chuckling at the people names up there — coming next year, 'Bill Kong Country Returns HD'. Also, what kind of a name is "Funky Kong"? Good job that never showed up again...

The documents also include a doodle by Miyamoto from a 1981 meeting about Donkey Kong. That surely wasn't meant to be an ape, right?

Universal, obviously, lost the court case, with the presiding judge concluding that the two Kongs (Donkey and King) were quite different. Another document shared by Caruso contains the following comparison from Judge Sweet:

The farcical, childlike and nonsexual Donkey Kong creates a humourous impression by jumping up and down and strutting back and forth to tease Mario. 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 dinosaurs, giant snakes, airplanes and helicopters, all culminating in his tragic and bloody death.

We've got to admit, he has a point. The billion-dollar movies and theme parks would suggest that Nintendo and Universal are buds again now, but these documents are still an interesting look at what once was.

'Kong Dong Country' may have never been a thing — and we can all be grateful for that — but Donkey Kong Country is and we're getting an all-new HD release of it on Switch next January.

What is your favourite proposed DK name? Make your pick in the following poll (we've removed Funky Kong since that one's already claimed) then take to the comments to share your decision.

What is your favourite almost-Kong name?

[source, via]