Donkey Kong Junior

So today I wanted to do a post about Donkey Kong Jr. The character, not the game.

He of course later grew up and inherited his (grand?)father's tie, starring in the Donkey Kong Country series, but for now let's focus on the misadventures of his youthful days.

Junior first appeared in the form of a character named Mini Donkey Kong in the Game & Watch Donkey Kong title. He was a little gorilla sitting on a girder off to the side who handled the alarm function for the game (remember, they're also watches, of a sort). The Wonder Life guide for Donkey Kong '94 confirms that this is indeed the same character who showed up less than a year later in his own titular game, Donkey Kong Jr. But we'll get to that in a bit.

Chronologically, his next appearance would be in the expanded portions of the 1994 gameboy remake/expansion of the original Donkey Kong. Here, he takes a bit of an expanded role from just sitting on the sidelines as in the G&W title and actively helps his father fend off Mario, usually by working switches or throwing stuff at the little Italian protagonist.

In the end, Mario manages to trap the little blighter, and defeats/captures Donkey Kong. This leads us to a cute little scene of Jr taking off after Mario, which leads us to...

Donkey Kong Jr (the game), focuses on Jr's trials and tribulations in rescuing his father from Mario. Going through jungles and the aptly named "Mario's hideout", Jr eventually rescues his dad, who promptly gives Mario the boot.

The last of the original set of the Donkey Kong family games that Junior appears in was the "this really isn't that good, is it?" title Donkey Kong Jr Math, which received such a response of "MEH" from the general populous that Nintendo cancelled development of it's follow-up, DOnkey Kong's Fun With Music, which would have also featured the old arcade gang.

During the interum, he had regular segments on the short-lived Saturday Supercade cartoon program, acting as an ersatz Scrappy Doo while chasing after Mario, who was chasing after his dad. He also had his own breakfast cereal, sporting a new look that was infinitely better, and thus completely ignored for the rest of time.

After the Supercade shut down, Junior would sporadically appear in Mario sports spinoffs for the next decade, showing up in things like Super Mario Kart and the early Mario Tennis titles. Though he was a regular in the Game & Watch Gallery titles, reliving his old adventures while making new friends. Since Game & Watch Gallery 4 in 2002 though, he hasn't really put in any in person appearances.

Or has he?

2006's Yoshi's Island DS (ne YI2) featured a character called Baby Donkey Kong, who is presumed to be the infant version of the current DKC Donkey Kong, given that he and Mario are the same age. Since the current DK is meant to be the grown up version of Junior, we can surmise that Baby DK and Junior are in fact different names for the same character, just as Mini Donkey Kong was way back in early '82.

Yoshi's Island DS chronicles the misadventures of the Yoshi tribe as the rescue a bundle of baby's from Kamek's clutches, which include Babies DK, Mario, Luigi, & Peach, among others.

Baby DK next showed up in 2008's Mario Super Sluggers via whatever time travel means everybody keeps using and apparently has ready access to as a member of his adult self's baseball team. I'm somewhat surprised DK didn't also just go ahead and pull several more different versions of himself out of the timestream to fill out the roster. If you want something done right, you know?

Since then though, our little tyke has only shown up in remixes like Wario Ware minigames or segments in the aptly named NES Remix. Mini/Junior/Baby hasn't really been used anywhere else since his brief resurgence on the sports scene (or should that be debut? Fucking time travel).

Thus, it would seem, we have come to an end of the chronicles of the big galumph's adventurous youth.

I do hope he'll be back in another title some day, in some form.