- Note: This is the second game released in the Donkey Kong series, but the story takes place before the first game.
Donkey Kong Circus was a handheld game system released on September 6, 1984, as part of the Game & Watch Panorama series. In the game, the player controls Donkey Kong while trying to juggle pineapples on a barrel, making sure to avoid flames.
Mario (earlier known as Jumpman) was a carpenter who had watched a circus act starring a Kong named Donkey Kong (later known as Cranky Kong). Mario unwittingly laughed at Donkey when the gorilla made mistakes during the circus act. In the circus, Donkey Kong had to use his legs to balance the barrel he was on, juggle pineapples and avoid deadly flames.
- This is one of the few Game & Watch units to feature full color. This was due to the idea of the system creator, Gunpei Yokoi, to move the background around the characters instead of vice-versa.
- This game features identical gameplay to Mickey Mouse, a previous Game & Watch game, released seven months earlier. The two games' codes also got mixed up, with Mickey Mouse being model "DC-95" and Donkey Kong Circus being "MK-96".
- The gameplay of Donkey Kong Circus is similar to Mario the Juggler, the last original game released in the Game & Watch series.