Is Donkey Kong king of New York in the new Mario?


Mario best not miss

In a smoke-filled theatre on Broadway 84 years ago we were introduced to “Kong, the Eighth Wonder of the World.” And we all know what happened after that: Jack Black’s hubris led to a damn dirty ape scaling our towers with our women. Sure we airholed the dumb-assed gorilla with Snoopy-ass biplanes, but what if….?

It’s a question that has led to some our most challenging fiction since Red Dawn asked, “What if we could cast ourselves as the beseiged underdogs despite a generation of global hegemony?” And Super Mario Odyssey asks an equally bold question: what if Kong became King?

Super Mario Odyssey‘s ersatz New York diverges from our real-life version of “The Windy City.” For one, it’s called New Donk City. You can read the name on a billboard above the corner bodega Diddy’s Mart, which is on Dixie St — two references to additional members of the Kong family. Given the boxy yellow cabs and the license plate “1981-ND,” this could be an 80s-set re-imagining of the “City of Angels” (as well as reference to the year Donkey Kong was released and Mario, as Jumpman, was introduced).

It stands to reason that 48 years after his hostile takeover, the first King Kong would have passed the monarchy down through his progeny. And what would a despotic ruler do but name a city after himself? I’m talking Donkey, King of New York, baby! Donkey Kong, setting his failson nephew up with a sham business to run when he’s not busy naming streets after his girlfriend to impress her. It’s an autocracy on par with the Sauds. Meanwhile dissenters, like our young hero Mario, are consigned to a life off the grid, surviving in the sewers to avoid the iron hand of King Donkey, Glorious Leader of New Donk City.

Think about it.