Introduced in Donkey Kong 64 for the Nintendo 64, Tiny Kong was said to be the smallest Kong as well as Dixie's little sister. She gets her name from her ability to shrink in size and otherwise possessed very similar abilities to Dixie Kong. However, in recent games, Tiny is portrayed as being a teenage Kong while her older sister, Dixie, is still quite small. This is never explained and has caused much confusion
It's hard to figure out much about Tiny's personaltiy as the Donkey Kong series isn't big on character development. Very little could be said about her younger self. However, in her current form Tiny is a fiesty teenager who is generally portrayed as being outgoing, a bit of a show off, and very "hip". The biggest and best examples of Tiny's personality come from her animations in Mario Super Sluggers. Here she's often seen with very flashy animations including dancing and even (somewhat disturbingly) swinging her hips as she walks.
Tiny's Many Controversies
The Donkey Kong Country series has always had a needlessly expansive cast of characters with each new installment adding more and more to the cast. By Donkey Kong Country 3, the title character was only playable in one game in the series. This is something that had driven fans insane. So, when Donkey Kong 64 was announced, Rare took notice of this and promised to only use characters from the first Donkey Kong Country. Unfortunately, it seems Rare did not quite understand the complaint and rather than not expanding the cast further, they went ahead and redesigned many existing characters (Cranky Kong became a mad scientist while Funky Kong became a military guy) and added new ones instead of using existing ones. In place of Dixie Kong and Kiddie Kong they created Tiny Kong and Chunky Kong.
This, of course, caused even more fan outrage but DK64 was already too far along to change anything, so they quickly added that Tiny and Chunky were related to Dixie and Kiddie. This calmed most fans down, but Tiny was still a cause for debate amongst Dixie fans who often called her a cheap rip-off of Dixie. Still, the addition was so minor that it was never mentioned in-game or in the Japanese instruction books.
Fast forward a few years. Rare is now owned by Microsoft and Nintendo has passed the right of the Donkey Kong series over to a small Japanese company called Paon. One of Paon's first orders of business was to create consistent designs for the characters in the Donkey Kong series as Rare often changed designs constantly.
The first title to really show the full redesigned roster was Donkey Kong: Barrel Blast. Donkey Kong: Barrel Blast was designed to be a Kart Racer starring the characters of the Donkey Kong series and it would use the Gamecube bongo controller for gameplay, although it was later moved to Wii with bongo support replaced with Wiimote useage. Pressed for female characters (and apparently not wanting to make Candy playable), they brought back Tiny except radically redesigned.
However, Barrel Blast's production was greatly delayed and as such the first time the world saw the newly redesigned Tiny Kong was in Rare's remake of Diddy Kong Racing for the Nintendo DS. Due to the fact that Microsoft owned Banjo and Conker now, they were replaced with Dixie Kong and Tiny Kong in the DS game. As this was the first anyone had seen of Tiny's new look, many believed Rare was responsible (as they have done many such radical redesigns in the past). However, Rare reveiled on their "Scribes" page that it was Nintendo, not Rare, that decided on Tiny's redesign and indeed, Barrel Blast was in development long before Diddy Kong Racing: DS.
There were many theories as to why Tiny was redesigned based around the following observations:
- The Donkey Kong series did not have an "attractive" (for a monkey) yet not oversexed character which might appeal more to players (Dixie is too monkey and Candy is too sexualized).
- Too many fans complained that Tiny was too similar to Dixie and this made her more unique.
- Tiny was never called Dixie's little sister in Japan, which may have caused some of the confusion.
- Tiny's in-game model in Donkey Kong 64 was actually taller than Diddy and thus Dixie as well.
- Tiny is able to change size and is shown in the DK64 intro to be able to grow as well as shrink.
Regardless, Tiny's sudden radical design change in completely unexplained in-game and everyone acts as though she's always been a teenage Kong.
- Tiny's hip hop dance win poses in Mario Super Sluggers may be a reference to the DK Rap from Donkey Kong 64, the game she first appeared in.