Donkey Kong was first released on 9 July 1981. Designed by Shigeru Miyamoto, Donkey Kong introduced two of Nintendo's most iconic characters: Mario and Donkey Kong.
Along with introducing the world to Mario and Donkey Kong, the original Donkey Kong also introduced two revolutionary game design concepts:
- Platform game with jumping. While Space Panic had platforming before, it lacked jumping. Donkey Kong became the template for every platform game ever since, so much so that early platform games were called "Kong clones" or "Kong games" before eventually being called platform games.
- Multiple distinct levels with cutscenes to progress a storyline. While multiple distinct levels existed before (such as the forgotten Heiankyo Alien) and cutscenes were also around (Space Invaders Part II, Sheriff and Pac-Man), Donkey Kong combined distinct levels with cutscenes to progress a storyline. This is how stories are told in action games to this day.