Nintendo may soon be the only ones able to declare that something is “on like Donkey Kong“. The games publisher has filed a request with the US Patent and Trademark office to trademark the pop-culture phrase, which they claim is an “old, popular Nintendo phrase” that now has a number of possible interpretations depending on context.
“In addition to Nintendo’s use, it has been used in popular music, television and film over the years, pointing to Donkey Kong’s status as an enduring pop-culture icon and video game superstar.”
The phrase is also defined on Urban Dictionary, suggesting that it’s made it into the general vocabulary.
“A phrase to denote that it’s time to throw down or compete at a high level.”
Like with most pop-culture references, the origins of the phrase are fuzzy. Some people claim American rapper Ice Cube may have coined the term, back in 1992, but it’s popped up in music and films across the past two decades.
So. With such widespread usage, do Nintendo really have a chance to get their trademark approved? The phrase isn’t an official slogan and merely references a trademarked character.
…but it’s a trademarked character who’s about to make a big splash (don’t call it a comeback), with the impending release of Donkey Kong Country Returns later this month. A company press release for the gorilla’s first Wii outing reads “On Nov. 21, It’s on like Donkey Kong!”. (The game comes to Australia on December 2nd.)
Could this all just be an elaborate stunt…?