One of the most pervasive myths in the gaming industry concerns the name of Shigeru Miyamoto’s Donkey Kong, with most people thinking that it was originally called Monkey Kong, but was changed by accident for the American release – with the company deciding to stick with the name after it became popular.
The truth is different, but no less interesting. It’s true that Kong came from the movie King Kong, which became popular in Japan, causing them to equate the word “Kong” with “Monkey”. The word “Donkey” was not a mispelling of “Monkey”, though. The real story is that Miyamoto was looking for a word that will mean “stubborn”, and their Japanese to English dictionary gave them the word “Donkey”, and the rest is gaming history.
Also worth noting, Mario’s first appearance was in Donkey Kong, and his original name was Jumpman, while Pauline (the girlfriend/princess in the game)’s name was Lady.