Donkey Kong is a video game franchise owned by Japanese electronics manufacturer Nintendo. The games' namesake—a fictional gorilla modeled after King Kong—was designed by Shigeru Miyamoto, who believed that "donkey" meant "stupid" in English, and assumed the name Donkey Kong would convey the idea of a "stupid ape" to an American audience.
The first Donkey Kong title was released in 1981 and quickly became a popular fixture at video game arcades, establishing Nintendo as a competitor in the North American market; sequels soon followed, but they failed to replicate the original's success and the series became dormant. Nintendo later outsourced development of the games to a British company named Rare, who revived the series in 1994 with the popular Donkey Kong Country. Microsoft purchased Rare in 2002; since then, most Donkey Kong games have been developed by Paon, a small Japanese company.