Donkey Kong, A Portrait of A Maligned Digital Ape in Tattoos

Donkey Kong, A Portrait of A Maligned Digital Ape in Tattoos

You’ll go ape for these totally bananas Donkey Kong tattoos

Probably the worst thing that can happen in any new relationship is when a giant ape kidnaps your girlfriend and then absconds to the top of a set of metal scaffolding with her and hurls barrels at you. We’ve all been there and it sucks. Some of us like to commemorate this romantic trial with really sweet Donkey Kong tattoos.

It’s been 36 years since Donkey Kong first came onto the arcade scene and since then the primate has appeared in dozens of different titles. The original Donkey Kong was recently inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame, which we suppose must be a real thing.

Donkey Kong is an interesting figure in history, having made a sharp pivot from an oil barrel-obsessed villain to lovable bro, much like President George W. Bush did when he became private citizen George W. Bush. We may never fully understand the motivations the giant ape had when kidnapping Mario’s girlfriend (much like we will never understand the US government’s response to 9/11), but everything between them seems to have been squared after Mario kidnapped Kong in the events depicted in Donkey Kong Jr.

The Donkey Kong Universe’s official canon is chock full of intriguing rabbit holes involving all the different adventures of Donkey Kong and his family. From rescuing a pile of bananas from crocodiles, competing in a series of intense go-kart races, teaching you how to play the bongos, all the way to co-starring in a film with Adam Sandler, the Kongs have done it all.

The comedic masterpiece Pixels wasn’t the ape’s first foray onto the big screen. The 2007 documentary The King of Kong showcased the struggle of lovable underdog Steve Wiebe as he is continually dicked around by reigning world Donkey Kong champion Billy Mitchell.


My absolute favorite thing about Mitchell is that he opened a Donkey Kong-themed arcade slash hot sauce store in order to capitalize off the success of The King of Kong… inside the fucking Orlando airport! In order to shop at this incredibly niche novelty store (named, what else, King of Kong) you had to be flying in or out of Orlando. The business might have lasted a lot longer if it was accessible to non-fliers and I’m quite sure the people who pass through security at the Orlando airport are not the demographic Billy was trying to appeal to. And who wants to go through airport security with a pocket full of quarters?


Even if they had access to that particular arcade, a legion of Donkey Kong fans around the world still couldn’t get enough of this lovable primate. That’s why we live in a world full of really sweet Donkey Kong tattoos, like the ones we’ve collected here for you.

Each and every Donkey Kong tattoo is a touching tribute to one of history’s most misunderstood fictional apes. So, no matter what console or platform you fell in love with him on, know that you’re not alone. Your fandom is validated not only by these tattoos, but also the World Video Game Hall of Fame.

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