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Did Donkey Kong Or Mario Come First?

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Have you ever wondered if Mario was Nintendo’s first mascot or if it was Donkey Kong? Most people always assume it was Mario because that is who is always associated with Nintendo. Well, in this article we will go over everything you need to know about Nintendo and which character actually came first.

So did Donkey Kong or Mario come first?

Although most people do not realize it, both Donkey Kong and Mario were both Nintendo games that were released in 1981. This means that one did not come before the other, but instead were released at almost exactly the same time. 

If you want to know more about Donkey Kong and Mario, you will want to keep reading. You can also watch this short video to learn about Mario and Donkey Kong games. 

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When Was The First Nintendo Game Released?

The game first came as an arcade game in 1981. The storyline was such that in its first release, King Kong was the enemy and opponent who had Mario’s girl in custody while the subsequent versions had a somewhat different storyline.

An example is the 1982 version, where the game was renamed Donkey Kong Jr. The modified new version spotlighted Donkey Kong Jr trying to save his father from a cage where Mario held him. He has to do so by avoiding a lot of obstructions on the path until he gets to his father.

More identities appeared along the line as newer editions of the story were developed. Dixie Kong featured as the sister, and a few other Kong characters in the publications were later created.

The Original Donkey Kong Game

This game cast is a cast who is in the form of a gorilla and is used in the game series called, Donkey Kong. It is a series named after himself.

This cast made their first appearance in 1981, in the game called Donkey Kong. This cast is one that has become popular to the people, as he bears the game brand name. Gamers from all over the world love the cast so much that they are interested in his relationship with othe

r game casts. 

Many people want to know how Donkey is related to all of the other members in the game, and what the entire Donkey Kong family tree is. This has sparked speculations that he is related to one or more characters in the game.

There have also been many gamers wanting to know exactly how Donkey Kong is related to Diddy Kong. 

The game in which the Donkey Kong is used was first released as an arcade game. The storyline in the game was something completely different than what we have today. In the first game release, Donkey Kong was actually the enemy who had Mario’s girl in custody. 

Later in the series, the storyline changed where Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. were good guys in the game. Donkey Kong was actually captured, and Donkey Kong Jr. was forced to try and free him from Mario. He had to do this by avoiding a bunch of different obstacles to make it all the way to Donkey Kong to free him.  

Mario’s First Game

From our description of the first appearance of Donkey Kong in 1981, you may already be wondering when Mario made his first appearance. It was actually in the origins Donkey Kong game that Mario made his first appearance.

Although in the original Donkey Kong game, Mario was actually called Jumpman. It was not until Donkey Kong Jr. that Jumpman’s name was changed to Mario. 

In the original series, Jumpman is seen to be mistreating an ape. Donkey Kong is then seen kidnapping Jumpman’s girlfriend because of the treatment. In this game, the player must play as Jumpman and begin to jump over the rolling barrels that Donkey Kong is throwing at him while climbing the ladders to save his girlfriend. 

Mario soon became a popular name along with Donkey Kong, and they both started to get their own storyline. 

In the Mario series, Mario actually fights alongside his brother Luigi. They are both plumbers, and they fight in the game by jumping on the obstacles to destroy them.

Later in the series, the games become multiplayer. This option allowed gamers to play as both Mario and Luigi. 

After Nintendo realized the love that gamers had with both of these characters, they began to release a bunch of games with Mario and Luigi, as well as adding in other characters later in the games. The storyline is similar to the original Donkey Kong games where the player is defeating the enemies and avoiding them by jumping to save a girl. In the mario series though, it is princess Peach. 

Princess peach always seems to get captured by a giant turtle with spikes on his shell. His name is Bowser, and he can breathe fire as well as his shell makes him impossible to beat by jumping on him. 

The rivalry continues in the 1990 edition of Super Mario Bros 3. This is where the players will have to defeat Bowser by direct attack or a subtle approach of creating a hole in the bricks till he falls into the abyss. The arch-enemy turns a big beast in the 2009 edition, where it chases you and spits fireballs at you. 

Are Mario And Donkey Kong Enemies?

Mario not only battled its greatest villain Bowser, but Donkey Kong was also an enemy. One game actually shows the fight between Donkey Kong and Mario as he holds Pauline in his arms. The next game in the series though turns the tide.

In this game, Donkey Kong Jr. must fight to save his father from Mario.

A different game featured Donkey Kong as a civilian which entered and destroyed a toy shop. Mario began to chase Donkey Kong in this version till he can retrieve the stolen toys from him. The rivalry continues even in a puzzle edition of the series.

Over the years, there have been many games created that show the rivalry between Donkey Kong and Mario. This is seen in some games in subtlety, and other games are solely based around the rivalry. 

Over the years though it seems that both heroes have put their past behind them and have begun to focus on their own enemies in their own kingdom. This is easy to see in the individuality of the two series. Mario and Luigi work to defeat bowser in all of their games, and Donkey Kong works to save the jungle and keep it safe. 


Now that you know about the origin of Donkey Kong and Jumpman or Mario, you can clearly see that they were both original Nintendo characters at the same time. Over the years their rivalry has turned into a friendship and they no longer fight against each other, but fight against the evil around them.

Donkey Kong has all of his helpers and all of his family to help him defeat all the bad animals in the Jungle. Mario has his friends as well as Luigi to help him defeat bowser and all of his goonies that he has.

No matter which character you like to play with, or what game series you prefer, there is no denying that these two series are what made Nintendo what it is today.