Fortunately, Shigeru Miyamoto has one of the most fertile imaginations the gaming world has ever seen. Having been raised on traveling puppet shows and having an insatiable craving for outdoor exploration, Miyamoto claimed to have long dreamt of realms of pure fantasy, heroic tales, and myths from different cultures around the world. But the Radarscope hardware wouldn't support anything close to what he had in mind, so he came up with something simple: a small man with a huge gorilla for a pet. The giant gorilla hated being under the control of something so puny, so it escaped. Then, purely out of spite, the gorilla kidnapped his owner's girlfriend (Pauline), climbed a building, and dared his owner to climb up to him to try to retrieve the girl.
From the ashes of Radarscope came Miyamoto's first video game. He didn't know what to call it, but the theme seemed to be a variation on the old King Kong movies. And since the game would be played in English-speaking arcades, he needed another word to describe his new villain. Something that described how stubborn and inflexible this creature was. Something that just wouldn't do what it was told. He already had one animal. What other animals were known for being notoriously hard to deal with? Mules... camels... donkeys...
And that was it. Shigeru whipped up some music on a small keyboard, then he and the team at Nintendo christened their new creation Donkey Kong. Though some sales reps on the western side of the Pacific thought the game's title alone would submarine it (one rep was supposedly so disgusted he resigned), gamers thought otherwise. The character you controlled was named Mario, after Mario Segali, the landlord of the Nintendo of America building, which was then in New York. In 1981, Donkey Kong redefined video games, and Nintendo and Shigeru Miyamoto found themselves looking down on the industry from atop a mountain of quarters. But not everything was coming up roses for Nintendo.