When we look back one first major titles that Mario appeared in during the 80’s the Donkey Kong arcade game instantly comes to mind. As many people know the original Donkey Kong game is considered to be legendary and sees Mario as the main protagonist as he attempts to reduce his then girlfriend Pauline after being captured by D.K. While Donkey Kong is mainly considered to be more of a heroic figure in gaming nowadays back in the early 80’s he was Mario’s main rival. Similar to Wario who made his debut in Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins for Game Boy in ’92 Donkey Kong started off as a villain before becoming popular enough to become a heroic figure. Both Donkey Kong and Wario had their own video game series with difference being Donkey King becoming more mainstream and successful than Wario did. As a villain Donkey Kong seemed pretty generic since all he did was toss barrels at Mario to prevent his Rome rescuing Pauline. Bowser who made his debut in Super Mario Bros in ’85 has remained the main villain in the Mario series for over 30 years.
Despite, the never-changing damsel in distress formula that Nintendo uses in Mario games involving Princess Peach various games in the series had different gimmicks or settings which kept player emotional invested in them. Its hard to see Mario being around for over 30 years with Donkey King as the main villain since he ended upcoming a charismatic character within the gaming world. While Donkey Kong may not have been a better villain than Bowser he definitely popular enough to earn Nintendo millions of dollars over the past couple of decades. In fact, if Mario had not become Nintendo’s main mascot it quite possible that Donkey Kong could have ended up being the face of Nintendo. Just about every Donkey Kong game that we have seen since the 80’s has either become very popular or successful in terms of console sales.