Donkey Kong was one of the most popular and recognizable video game franchises in video game history. Along with Pac-Man, it was one of the few games whose characters would find their way to breakfast cereal boxes, and it is the earliest arcade game to include a story line. The original game was released by Nintendo in 1981. Donkey Kong Junior was released in 1982 and Donkey Kong 3 in 1983. In the 1981 version, the player controls Jumpman, later named Mario, up a series of platform and ladders to rescue Pauline from a giant ape (Donkey Kong). Donkey Kong throws barrels down at Jumpman, who must time his jumps over the barrels perfectly or use hammers to destroy them. On later stages, Donkey Kong would throw fireballs and pie pans down at Jumpman, and subsequent levels would present different obstacles (conveyor belts, elevators, etc.).
On the flipside, Donkey Kong Junior featured the son of Donkey Kong, whose quest was to rescue his father from Mario by climbing vines, chains, and platforms. Donkey Kong 3 featured the character Stanley, who was a bugman, and who needed to stop Donkey Kong from wreaking havoc in his greenhouse. Stanley must save his flowers by getting to the top and spraying Donkey Kong with bug spray. Nintendo licensed Donkey Kong to Colecovision for home console versions, and versions were subsequently released for nearly every home console available. In later years, a number of contemporary versions of the game were released for the Nintendo family of home consoles, as well as an entire spin off of popular games featuring Mario.