Prone to long-winded rants concerning the state of modern video-gaming and fourth-wall breaking commentary, Cranky Kong is the grandfather of the current video game incarnation of Donkey Kong. Though he made his first appearance as Cranky in Donkey Kong Country, in his heyday Cranky was the ape that opposed Mario all those years ago in the 1981 arcade classic, Donkey Kong. Thus, his previously introduced grandson, 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).
Cranky Kong made his playable debut in Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, in which he rode on his grandson's back and used his cane as a pogo which could kill enemies good and bounce off otherwise nasty surfaces.
Relationship to Current DK
Cranky and his departed wife Wrinkly are the grandparents of the current Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr. Their relationship has been unclear at times as the franchise changed hands, but currently the situation is well understood. Cranky and Wrinkly are DK's grandparents, but they raised him as a son.
Since Wrinkly's death between 1996 and 1999 Cranky has been alone.