DONKEY KONG ISLAND – Despite a storied decades-long career as one of the most popular and iconic characters in the Nintendo universe, Donkey Kong is still regarded with suspicion by some of Mario’s friends because of a period in the 1980s where he threw multiple barrels at Mario, presumably in an attempt to murder him.
Donkey Kong’s reputation was partially rehabilitated in the 1990s when he heroically saved Donkey Kong Island from the evil King K. Rool. Mario formed a friendship with the newly reformed Kong, often mingling on the go-kart track and tennis court, and carousing together at parties. But even though Mario appears to have forgiven Donkey Kong for his violent past, some associates of the plumber have not been so quick to forget.
“That kind of violence is unforgivable,” said Toad, an employee of Princess Toadstool and longtime friend of Mario. “I don’t care how many rounds of golf you play together after that. If someone throws that many barrels at you, they are not your friend. There were literally hundreds of barrels. People don’t change. I don’t know why Mario let that guy back into his life.”
Mario has gone on the record multiple times defending Donkey Kong, saying that the barrel incident was “water under the bridge” and that he was willing to “let bygones be bygones.” He usually tries to change the subject when Kong’s dark past is brought up, usually by saying “It’s-a me, Mario!” Mario’s critics have suggested that he doesn’t want to draw attention to his own behaviour in the 1980s, when Mario locked Donkey Kong in a cage and tried to electrocute his son.
Mario’s brother, Luigi, says that after Mario’s girlfriend Pauline was kidnapped by Donkey Kong, “the relationship was never the same,” and they broke up shortly afterwards. “I don’t think Mario likes to dwell too much on that period,” said Luigi. “Also we were all on a lot of cocaine back then.”
Donkey Kong, who now goes by Cranky Kong could not be reached for comment, but claims that the Donkey Kong of the 1980s is different from the modern Donkey Kong have been dismissed as a fabrication created by Kong apologists to confuse his critics.