Donkey Kong debuted in arcades on July 9, 1981 according to Wikipedia, delivering an addictive experience that still captivates the world today; even rap icon Eminem posts high scores. That means both DK and his arch rival, Mario (known as Jumpman in those days) are 33 years old; Pauline too! Happy birthday, fictional Nintendo characters!
The original Donkey Kong was unique in that it was among the first platform games to feature multiple levels and the ability to jump. Similar to most titles in the early 80s, it drew players in with a handful of easy stages before punishing arcade goers with a sharp increase in difficulty, which you’ll learn about in the superb documentary, The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.
On that note, both Mario and Donkey Kong went on to star in a variety of million sellers. Nintendo cemented Mario’s legacy with such hits as Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy, while Donkey Kong delighted players around the world in the Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Land franchises. Even cooler, both stars came together several times over the years in games like the outstanding Donkey Kong for Game Boy and of course, the Mario vs. Donkey Kong games; they'll also butt heads in the upcoming Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS.
That said, we have a variety of cool articles devoted to both Mario and Donkey Kong. Be sure to celebrate by playing these excellent games for your favorite Nintendo system.