Prone to long-winded rants concerning the state of modern video-gaming and fourth-wall breaking commentary, Cranky Kong has been viewed as either the grandfather, or father, of the current video game incarnation of Donkey Kong. Though he made his first canonical appearance in Donkey Kong Country, it is hinted that Cranky was the ape that opposed Mario all those years ago in the 1981 arcade classic, Donkey Kong. Thus, his previously introduced offspring, Donkey Kong Jr., is in fact a youthful incarnation of the now famous simian star of the Donkey Kong Country franchise.
Cranky Kong has long been a source of useful hints and tips across the various Donkey Kong Country games, though not without a complaint, an insult, or a sharp smack of his cane. In Donkey Kong Country 2, he began to demand coins in exchange for his help, and in the third incarnation of the series, he began to take a more active role in the proceedings, serving as an opponent for Dixie and Kiddy Kong at the Swanky’s Sideshow minigames.
Cranky's main complaint is the relative pointlessness of the more advanced graphics engines of the current era. As he laments, he was perfectly satisfied when he was just an 8-bit sprite with only three frames of animation. The sheer amount of processor power required just to animate the swinging of his beard is proof to him that modern programmers have no sense of priorities when it comes to game design.
As shown in the intros of Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong 64, Cranky Kong loves music boxes and is an impressive dancer to boot. Cranky is old in many ways but in others he's never been younger.
Cranky Kong most recently appeared in Donkey Kong Country Returns as a shopkeeper. Players spend their banana coins on a selection of items including extra lives, a heart boost, Banana Juice (temporary invincibility), Squawks (puzzle piece assistance), and a Map Key (necessary to unlock each path in every world).