Nintendo Owns The Actual Phrase ‘It’s On Like Donkey Kong’
Most agree that there are things people shouldn't get to own, like other people, the world's supply of water and fedoras, for example. The people who think this way also tend to believe that there are things every person should own, like a home, free education, free healthcare, and the right to make fun of people who decide to wear a fedora even though no cruel master is forcing them to do it. Between those opposites exist silly things most people don't know whether they should be owned or not, like dumb video game quotes. Nintendo is not most people, so ten years ago they made the conscious decision to spend actual money on trademarking the phrase “It's On Like Donkey Kong”.
It's funny because it's not just our memory failing us – that's not a catchphrase from an actual Nintendo game. It's a quote from a goddamn Ice Cube song, one that doesn't even have any specific meaning.
Even Nintendo stated that they got it to hype up the release of Donkey Kong Country Returns just because it's something popular and vague – like all cool things are.
Without delving into the huge ape in the room that is the fact that Donkey Kong actually began life as a villain, meaning that this now costly catchphrase can mean something bad, we have to wonder about Nintendo's possible use for it. Over ten years later and, with most readers certainly only learning about it right now, we're assuming they didn't use it all that much. Still, we're talking about a company fighting an endless war against not just hackers but also against players who just want to make fan games because they love Nintendo games, so acquiring words to prevent evil Microsoft or Sony competitors from saying them actually sounds pretty inside Nintendo's ballpark.
This was a dumb move, sure, but it's also sad that it didn't set the precedent for Nintendo to trademark and reuse “My Body Is Ready”, a much better and more popular line that actually originated from Reggie Fils Aime, the man who presided over Nintendo Of America up until Bowser took over (yes, literally).
Despite dumb, the sleaziness of taking this beautiful staple away from public ownership lies fathoms beneath that of the makers of Tekken when they trademarked not just interactive loading screens, but even the practice mode in fighting games.
Top Image: Nintendo