The Top 7... Precursor Games

Donkey Kong begat Mario

Without Donkey Kong, there'd be no Jumpman. Without Jumpman, there'd be no Mario, and with no Mario, Shigeru Miyamoto would just be some guy working at a Japanese playing card company called Nintendo.

In 1980, Nintendo unleashed Radar Scope in the US in the hopes of cashing in on the lucrative arcade craze. Unfortunately, arcade owners and patrons weren't interested, and Nintendo found themselves with tons of unsold units wasting away.

Enter Shigeru Miyamoto, who was charged with re-designing a new game to replace the ones in the ruinous Radar Scope cabinets. His answer was Donkey Kong. Needless to say, the barrel-tossing ape was a huge success.

But it was the anonymous Jumpman you controlled that went on to become one of the most recognizable characters in video game history. It just goes to show that today's second banana game character can 1-up the main attraction and become a star in his own right.

Useless Facts:
- Most gamers first heard Mario speak in the 1996, Super Mario 64. But voice actor, Charles Martinet had been voicing the Italian plumber for Nintendo at trade shows since 1990 and was featured Mario FUNdamentals in 1995.
- The damsel in distress that required rescuing in Donkey Kong was named Pauline.
- Mario's cap was designed as a clever way to work around the problem of animating Mario's hair.
- According to a 1990 survey, Mario was more recognized amongst American children than Mickey Mouse.
- Universal sued Nintendo for trademark infringement due to the similarities between Donkey Kong and King Kong. They lost.
- Donkey Kong may have been the result of a mistranslation, and was reportedly intended to be called Monkey Kong. Designer, Shigeru Miyamoto contends that the name "Donkey" was deliberate, and that he was trying to capture the stubborn-as-a-mule nature of the barrel flinging ape.