Donkey Kong Wiki
Donkey "Cranky" Kong Senior
Cranky Kong TF.png
Cranky Kong as he appears in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.
Full Name Donkey "Cranky" Kong Senior
Alias(es) (Arcade) Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong Sr.
D.K. the 1st
Original Big Ape
Grandpa Kong
Aging Video Game Pioneer
Old man Kong
Primate Patriarch
Longest-Running Ape in Videogame History
Professor Cranky Kong
Commander Cranky Kong

Residence(s) Donkey Kong Island
Family Unnamed great-grandfather (deceased),
Donkey Kong Jr. (son),
Wrinkly Kong (wife; deceased),
Donkey Kong (grandson),
Kong Family (possible other grandchildren),
Diddy Kong (great-grandson)

Pauline (possible former love interest)

Species Kong
Sub-Species Gorilla
Gender Male

Powers/Abilities Tremendous Strength,
Unlimited Supply of Barrels,
Numerous Bugs such as Bee-hives with Armies of Bees and Worms
One of Stanley the Bugman's Bug Spray Cans
Encyclopedic Knowledge of Video Game History,
Mastery of Science and Inventing
Skilled Bassist
Experienced Shield Wielder (actively trains at his Dojo in preparation for future playable appearances)
Enemies Mario [formerly]
Stanley the Bugman [formerly]
Pauline [formerly]
K. Rool [former friend]
Game(s) Donkey Kong (as Donkey Kong Sr.)
Donkey Kong Jr.
Donkey Kong 3
Donkey Kong Circus
Donkey Kong Hockey
Donkey Kong '94
Mario Clash
Donkey Kong Country
Donkey Kong Land
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
Donkey Kong Land 2
Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!
Donkey Kong 64
Donkey Konga
Donkey Konga 2
DK: King of Swing
Donkey Konga 3
Donkey Kong Barrel Blast
DK: Jungle Climber
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Donkey Kong Country Returns
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Super Mario Odyssey
WarioWare Gold
First Appearance Donkey Kong (game) (as Donkey Kong Sr.) (1981)

Donkey Kong Country (as Cranky Kong) (1994)

Latest Appearance Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (as Donkey Kong Sr.) (2018)

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (as Cranky Kong) (2018)

"He groggily rolled over to see the familiar wrinkled, white-bearded, grouchy face of his old granddad "Cranky Kong" peering down at him. In his heyday, Cranky was the original Donkey Kong who battled Mario in several of his own games."
Donkey Kong Country manual and Rare's website

Cranky Kong (also known as DK Senior, Donkey Kong I, or Donkey Kong the First) is Donkey Kong's crabby, rambling grandfather, the original Donkey Kong in the 1981 game, the widowed husband of Wrinkly Kong, and father of Donkey Kong Junior. Cranky has made numerous appearances throughout the Donkey Kong series. He usually acts as a guide in the games to help his grandson Donkey Kong or the other Kongs along their journey as he has had some enlightening experiences.

In the original DKC trilogy and other appearances, he is heavily implied to be the violent, bad tempered, and clumsy original Donkey Kong an escaped circus animal from Big Ape City/New Donk City in the classic arcade game Donkey Kong, making him the main adversary of Mario (Jumpman) and Stanley the Bugman in those games. Cranky considers them to be arch-enemies in the same way present DK considers K. Rool his arch-enemy.

As part of the first generation in the DK Lineage, he now goes by his nickname Cranky after becoming old and retired. While he is proud and loving towards his loyal son, he often looks down on his grandson and breaks the fourth wall by saying that Donkey Kong will never be as great a character as he was during his prime and that his DK knows nothing about the 8-bit gaming days. Cranky is also speculated to be Funky's grandfather.


The Main Ape

Donkey Kong Sr.; aka a younger, middle-aged Cranky Kong in Donkey Kong '94

According to the Donkey Kong Country series and one of Snake's Codec Conversations in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Cranky Kong is the original Donkey Kong from the arcade games. During his youthful prime, Cranky Kong was an escaped circus animal who kidnapped Lady Pauline as revenge for being (unintentionally) laughed at by her boyfriend Mario, was kidnapped by Mario, he even battled Stanley the Bugman in a greenhouse and a second time in outer space, and in the stage play retelling kidnapped Pauline again in his tower.


Apparently, after his defeat by Mario for the last time, Cranky migrated to Donkey Kong Island. The Kongs had faced prior conflicts with the Kremlings on Donkey Kong Island between the events of Donkey Kong 3 and Donkey Kong Country, Wrinkly Kong confirming that at Kong Kollege the only thing the Kremlings wanted to learn was how to defeat the Kongs. Afterwards, he lived his life on DK Island and grew old and bitter.

Cranky's first appearance as Cranky was in Donkey Kong Country, the intro references his arcade origins with Cranky standing on top of the red girders and playing the arcade theme on his old record player before his grandson crashes in with his hip-hop radio and modernized remix as the scene transitions into the jungle.

Here, Cranky lives in a slightly rundown shack known as "Cranky's Cabin". From here, Cranky gives advice on the game's various items and locations to his grandson, Donkey Kong and his friend, Diddy Kong, while also antagonizing them. He is shown to be sitting in a rocking chair for the whole game. In Game Boy Color version he also runs a mini-game called Crosshair Cranky, where Kongs must shoot-out Kremlings.

Though Cranky is not actually in Donkey Kong Country's Game Boy sequel, Donkey Kong Land, he is the one that sets off the events of the game. Cranky, slightly jealous of Donkey and Diddy's success over the evil King K. Rool, tricks them into making a bet with him; if Donkey and Diddy can reclaim Donkey's banana hoard from King K. Rool again, this time on an eight-bit system as Donkey and Diddy haven't been the stars of one nor have they starred in old acrade games, he will admit that they are adequate gaming heroes. Cranky calls on K. Rool to steal the banana hoard. In the end, Cranky ends up eating his words when Donkey and Diddy once again defeat K. Rool and the Kremling Krew at Big Ape City (later renamed New Donk City in Super Mario Odyssey), the same place where he had fought Mario.

Monkey Museum Creator

In Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, Cranky sets up his "Monkey Museum" on Crocodile Isle. Once again Cranky will give out information; this time, for a price. In this game, Cranky also scatters several DK Coins throughout the game's various levels. Once Kaptain K. Rool is defeated, Cranky will tally Diddy Kong's "hero status" by how many DK Coins they have collected. Donkey Kong Country 2 also introduced Cranky's wife and Donkey Kong's grandmother, Wrinkly Kong.

He seems to not be the biggest fan of this game's kidnapping plot saying it's worse than Donkey Kong Country, in the GBA remake of DKC2 he makes reference to the events of Donkey Kong (game) saying that he was "Whisking maidens and tossing barrels seven days a week!". He's also underestimates Diddy's status as a hero in his own right and is not a fan of Dixie Kong being a hero since that breaks the usual mold that he sees, being that "heroes are muscular men with loads of guns and various weapons; not girls with long twirly hair".

In the Game Boy Advance remake of Donkey Kong Country 2 Cranky's role remains relatively the same as in the original game. Although a new sidequest involving Cranky was added to the game; it seems with the "fabulous fortune" he made in Donkey Kong Country, Cranky bought a racing ostrich he names Expresso. After bulking up Expresso using feathers, the Kongs can race Expresso for Cranky and try to get trophies for the grouchy old Kong in exchange for rewards.

A Rival Again!

In Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, Cranky's appearances are (more or less) cameos. In Swanky's Sideshow, Cranky Kong acts as Dixie and Kiddy Kong's opponent in various ball throwing mini-games. Cranky also appears at the end of Donkey Kong Country 3 to criticize Dixie and Kiddy's victory over KAOS and Baron K. Roolenstein. After Cranky's comment, Dixie and Kiddy decide to beat him up with Cranky saying "you wouldn't hit a guy with glasses", which turns black before he is beaten. If players manage to get the game's "best" ending, Cranky will do a few water-skiing tricks before holding up a sign which says "THE END" in runny ink after Funky's jetski crashes into the lake. He is also at the top of the All-Time Greats list at the end of the game, having beat the game in 04:22 with 103%. If the player beats the game with the TUFST code activated, thereby attaining 105%, they will get a trophy of Cranky Kong in a black belt's outfit and will be named the 'Immortal Monkey!'.

In the Game Boy Advance remake of Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! Cranky runs several dojos, aptly named Cranky's Dojo to prepare for his "first game with the main playable role", "Cranky Kong Country" where he is the star. In Cranky's Dojo, players can gain the ability to play as a shield-wielding Cranky during a Bristles dodging mini-game. Cranky's Dojo mini-game must be beaten at least once to gain a Banana Bird.

The Scientist

Cranky's next appearance would be in Donkey Kong 64. Here, Cranky has seemingly taken up science as a hobby; Cranky's Lab can be found in every area of Donkey Kong 64 except Hideout Helm. At Cranky's Lab, the Kongs can pay for several potions that can give them new powers and abilities. Also, if the Kongs manage to collect fifteen Banana Medals, Cranky will allow them to play Jetpac, an early Rare game. The Kongs must beat the Jetpac game in order to obtain the Rareware Coin. Cranky also acts as the Kongs coach during their boxing match against King Krusha K. Rool.

A very little known fact about Cranky's role in DK64 is that it was one of several themes based on the old Donkey Kong Country TV show, in which Cranky was sometimes seen mixing up magic potions to use on either himself or others to advance that episode's plot.

Becoming a Shop Owner

Cranky returns in Donkey Kong Country Returns as the only Kong other than DK and Diddy.

He has no major role in the plot and is only able to be seen in his shop. He sells Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong items in exchange for banana coins to help them on their adventure. He sells Life Balloons (1, a 3 and a 7 bundle). A Level Key which is required to play a level in each world his shop can be found (thus excluding world 9 which only has 1 level). A parrot to help them find puzzle pieces. An extra heart that gives them an extra hit and Banana Juice which makes DK and Diddy gold giving them 10 hits before they start taking damage.[1]

The Factory world has a reference to the red girders from the original Donkey Kong arcade game which Cranky mentions "brings back old memories".

Temporarily Pulling Out of Retirement

Cranky Kong appears as a playable partner character in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, marking the first time he is fully playable in a Donkey Kong Country game (his role as shopkeeper filled by Funky Kong).

Cranky is able to use his cane to bounce upward, as well as on spikes, and defeat certain enemies that the other Kongs cannot. His cane can also be utilized while underwater to attack and take down enemies that cannot be defeated by a simple corkscrew move, such as Pufftups and Sea Urchins. Despite the cane's capabilities, it cannot be used to collapse unsound underwater structures, balancing it in relation to the corkscrew action. Cranky's Denture Popgun has unlimited ammo of dentures, which can be shot at enemies in order to stun them for a brief period of time.

References to his arcade origins that appear include his old record player from the original DKC opening that when played the Donkey Kong arcade theme is once again heard, and in the level Aqueduct Assualt a memorial statue of Donkey Kong Senior (a younger Cranky) and his missing son (Donkey Kong Jr.) can be found in the background.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is the only main game of the series where Cranky does not have any written dialogue.

Spin-off appearances

DK: King of Swing

Cranky Kong, along with the ghost of his wife, Wrinkly, teaches Donkey Kong (and thus the player) how to use the games unique controls. Cranky, along with Candy Kong, is the only Kong who is not playable in DK: King of Swing's Jungle Jam mode at all.

Diddy Kong Pilot

Cranky in Diddy Kong Pilot

Cranky was going to be in Diddy Kong Pilot as a playable character, but the game ended up cancelled, making it turn into vaporware. He was going to also have his own mode called "Cranky's Challenge" where the player had to collect all six Banana Coins and win first place themselves in each course.

DK: Jungle Climber

Cranky appears as the game's tutorial, teaching DK how to play the game, and also appears in various levels to give him lectures on items, power-ups, additional techniques, and ways to progress. He also tells the characters what they can do with the various Banana Coins, DK Coins, and Oil Barrels he finds throughout the levels once they are collected. Cranky has a very strangely good-tempered personality in this game, displaying hostility only with King K. Rool; he is empathetic to DK in the beginning of the story, civil with Xananab upon their misunderstanding, and openly commends DK and Diddy.

Donkey Kong Barrel Blast

Cranky appears as a secret character, unlocked by playing Candy's Challenges, Challenge 24, and winning. He has balanced, high stats, which he shares with his rival K. Rool. Contrary to popular belief, this is his not first North American playable appearance, as he was playable in the Cranky's Dojo minigame in the GBA version of Donkey Kong Country 3. He was also playable in the Japan-only Donkey Konga 3.

Donkey Konga series

Cranky also appears in multiple installments of Donkey Konga, though he is only playable in the series' third installment, Donkey Konga 3.

Super Smash Bros. series

Cranky makes a small cameo in the background of Jungle Japes in Super Smash Bros. Melee, where he can be seen pacing back and forth in his cabin. He technically makes another minor cameo in Super Smash Bros. Brawl where appears in sprite form as his younger self in the stage 75m, which is based on the original Donkey Kong game.

Trophy Information

A village chief and bitter old codger. Cranky uses his extensive knowledge and wisdom to provide helpful hints. He has also made appearances in a white lab coat as a potion-dealing chemist, granting the Kongs special abilities. Donkey Kong: Barrel Blast features Cranky as a playable character for the first time.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Music songs from his arcade game and the Donkey Kong Jr. arcade game were remixed and appear as selectable stage music.

Cranky makes a small cameo in the background of Jungle Japes, where he can be seen pacing back and forth in his cabin. He technically makes another minor cameo in sprite form as his younger self in the stage 75m, which is based on the original Donkey Kong game. He has two spirits based on his older elderly self and one of his younger self combined with Lady Pauline.

Appearances in Other Media

Cranky was also a main character on the Donkey Kong Country television series. Here Cranky was as old, grouchy, and bitter as he was in the games, he was also Donkey Kong's grandfather. However, he's far less arrogant than he is in the video games. On the show, instead of living in a cabin on the ground like in the games, Cranky instead lives in a cabin on a tree-top village, similar to ones seen in the area Vine Valley from the Donkey Kong Country game. On the show, Cranky was also seen to be adept at potion-making and magic, a trait later carried on into the games, Cranky also stores the mystical Crystal Coconut, a powerful and ancient orb that can grant wishes to anyone and can also name the person in his or her possession future ruler of Kongo Bongo. Cranky Kong of the series is a former friend of King K. Rool; the two used to be notorious practical pranksters and daredevils who were always challenging each other; their relationship went sour over one last contest involving walking on the wings of a plane flying through a storm, because K. Rool cheated. One episode involves Donkey Kong and Diddy trying to get Cranky and K. Rool to become friends again. But the two become a nuisance as once wreak havoc on Kongo Bongo with their antics, so the two Kongs ally with K. Rool's henchmen, General Klump and Krusha, in order to break up their friendship once again and bring things back to normal. In It's a Wonderful Life, Cranky is portrayed as a minion of Diddy who Cranky fears. Cranky is revealed to be master at pranks and even betrays his accomplices, Diddy and Candy. Cranky taught Bluster and Eddie the Yeti soccer.

He also appeared in the Club Nintendo comic "Donkey Kong Country". He is the first one to discover that King K. Rool has stolen the Kongs' Banana Hoard, which follows the story of the game. Cranky's appearance in the comic differs slightly from his standard look, as he is wearing a blue shirt instead of a gray or brown one.

In the comic "Donkey Kong in: Banana Day 24", published in the same magazine, he supported Donkey, Diddy, Dixie and Kiddy on their mission to save the Earth from being pulled away from the sun by a giant UFO. It was his idea to carry on negotiations with the aliens so they would release the Earth. The President of the United States puts a space shuttle at the Kongs' disposal, and Cranky is the one to navigate it. He beams Donkey, Diddy and Dixie into the UFO and stays in the Kongs' space shuttle meanwhile. When their mission succeeds, he navigates the space shuttle back to Earth, where the Kongs are being hailed by the people. Euphorically, Cranky tries to kiss a random girl, much to her disgust. After returning to their jungle, Cranky gets in trouble with his wife Wrinkly because of this. During the events of this story, Cranky did not show much of his grouchy traits as often discovered in the games, but instead appears as a helpful person.

Cranky got his own action figure in the late 90's due to the popularity of the DKC TV show.


The cover of Donkey Kong cereal

When Cranky was the original Donkey Kong, Ralston made a cereal because of his popularity.

Physical Appearance

In his younger years as the original Donkey Kong, Cranky was a large and bulky gorilla, usually seen with no clothes at all, but occasionally wore a red neck tie with his initials on it, similar to the current Donkey Kong. In his current old age, Cranky is smaller and scrawnier than he used to be. He has a long white beard and wears sweaters of varying colors, as well as a small pair of glasses and usually has one or two wooden canes with him.


As his name suggests, Cranky is a grouchy old man with a bitter taste on him. He has somewhat of an arrogance, as he often claims himself superior to his grandsons, and whacks them with his cane when they fail to live up to his high expectations, even going as far as calling Donkey Kong his "lazy good-for-nothing (grand)son". Cranky can be rude, but he isn't cruel, as he does care for his family and can get fiercely protective if they are in danger, and is even more aggressive towards his enemies. Eventually, he comes to show pride in his grandsons' accomplishments, and even admits that they may have surpassed him.


Cranky Kong has few games where he has showcased any powers or abilities, but most games where he does have special feats are notable. In Donkey Kong 64, Cranky runs a lab where he creates potions for other Kongs to gain special abilities, indicating him to be a skilled scientist and potion maker. In Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Cranky is one of the main playable characters, and his signature ability is his cane bounce, which gives him an extra boost when jumping, allows him to jump on spikes, and defeat certain enemies that the other Kongs cannot. His cane can also be utilized while underwater to attack enemies that cannot be defeated by a simple corkscrew move, such as Pufftups and Sea Urchins. Cranky can also shoot an unlimited supply of dentures at enemies to stun them.


Donkey Kong

Cranky is the current Donkey Kong's grandfather. He has usually found a way to help Donkey Kong out in his adventures, though it usually entails giving out advice. In Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Country Returns, Cranky says to have raised him, but while he tells fondly of his son DK Jr., he consistently looks down on his grandson saying things like "he'll never know what it's like during the 8-bit days". Cranky affectionately raised DK "like a son", however his in-game dialogue and usual manner of speech to him shows what their relationship is, that of a young boy and his old ranting grandfather. Despite this, they do love and care for each other.

Son/Grandson Debate

The first two Donkey Kong Country games and DK Land originally described Donkey Kong as Cranky's grandson, which has remained the most consistent storyline throughout the games, he is called a "prior video game hero", also as the original Donkey Kong arcade game revolutionized the video game industry and Cranky was the original DK, his grandson directly inherits his legacy, his title of video game hero could have also been based on unseen/offscreen events or simply how the Kongs view him.

Controversy started with Donkey Kong 64, where DK was stated to be Cranky's son instead of grandson. (except the Japanese version of the game says grandson; as does an official Japanese Nintendo Online Magazine that came out around a similar time mentions it; as that remains accurate to every other in-game reference that came out before and after Donkey Kong 64).

The Nintendo 64 title (being the odd one out/outlier/exception to the rule) may have claimed DK as Cranky's son, however it's the only game that has claimed this. Not only is it common for "son/sonny/my boy" to be short for "grandson", it's also simply used by older people non-literally towards younger males as a common figurative term (for a vague example: "son of the Kong Family" could be more akin to a title) and a form of endearment whether they're biologically related or not, ("pappy/pops/old man" is generally used for "grandfather"), and it's possible Cranky raised DK "like a son" (confirmed in DKC and DKCR) instead of literally being his son. Another explanation is that Cranky calls DK "that undeserving son of mine" in a pun like sense, DK is his grandson, but as far as Cranky Kong is arrogantly concerned DK is not "grand" at all; hence Donkey being his "good for nothing son".

It should be noted: DKC3 and DK64 were developed by a different team at Rare as opposed to the original team that made DKC and DKC2 (the original team had moved on and were making the Banjo-Kazooie game series) which can lead to conflicting statements.

In terms of the grand majority of references, the original DKC trilogy and it's GBC/GBA remakes, Donkey Kong Land, Super Smash Bros. Brawl/Ultimate, Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Cranky Kong was confirmed and further solidified to be Donkey Kong's grandfather.

Leigh Loveday's non-definitive/inconclusive statement made in 1999 is an outdated/invalid source since he admits that he did not write Cranky's dialogue, the majority of Cranky's text was done by Gregg Mayles (and sometimes Tim Stamper) and that Loveday has a bad memory, making it feasible for him to be wrong about the lore of the Donkey Kong Family Tree 5 years after Cranky Kong was made, making Gregg Mayles have the more prominent role in his character creation and the most reliable/credible source.

Leigh Loveday did write parts of the DK manuals and handle a few FAQs, however he had no involvement with the overall storylines of the games, the game design, the characters, nor the character relationships between the Kongs, unlike the actual official statements made by Gregg Mayles who primarily created the concept of Cranky, his in-game dialogue and manual quotes, and his lineage. Other cases such as Nintendo of UK/Europe's website and/or outsourced/obscure/unoffical material such as old guides are outdated, untrustworthy and inaccurate as they are directly debunked by the games, Nintendo of Japan, and Nintendo of America.




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Title Description Composer Game
Title Screen
The title theme from the game. Yukio Kaneoka Donkey Kong
The title theme from the game. David Wise Donkey Kong Country
Cranky's Theme
The theme is used in Cranky's Cabin.
Steel Drum Rhumba
The file select theme from the game. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
Cranky's Conga
The theme is used in Monkey Museum.
Cranky's Lectures
His theme in the game. Takashi Kouga DK: King of Swing
Cosmic Highway
His theme in the circuit. Donkey Kong Barrel Blast
Cranky's Theme
His theme in the game. Yuuichi Kanno
Yoshikata Hirota
Takashi Kouga
DK: Jungle Climber
Title Screen
The title theme from the game. Minako Hamano
Masaru Tajima
Shinji Ushiroda
Daisuke Matsuoka
Donkey Kong Country Returns
Cranky Kong's Shop
The theme is used in Cranky Kong's Shop.
Before the Battle
An excerpt of the arrangement from his theme. Grant Kirkhope Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle: Donkey Kong Adventure
Midboss Melody


  • Cranky Kong (as his current self and his younger self) in video games and other media has showcased many composite feats.
  • Cranky Kong used to be friends with K. Rool.
  • Cranky, Wrinkly Kong, DK Jr., and Diddy Kong have conjoined eyes whereas modern Donkey Kong doesn't.
  • Miyamoto really likes Cranky and the lore behind him being the original Donkey Kong.
    • The old DK's improper social conduct evolved into Cranky's grouchy demeanor and having previous anti-human prejudices.
  • Donkey Kong Jr., Cranky Kong, and Wrinkly Kong are the only known Kongs who know how to do math correctly.
  • Cranky's beard may be a reference to silver-back gorillas.