• Donkey Kong Jr. was designed by Shigeru Miyamoto
  • Jumpman from Donkey Kong is called "Mario" in 1982's Donkey Kong Jr.
  • Almost always portrayed as a hero, Mario is a villain in Donkey Kong Jr.

Mario as a villain seems like a novel concept these days -- enough so that we're a little sad it hasn't happened again since. We're not necessarily surprised though. Nintendo might feel a little... hesitant to have their flagship character keeping an animal in chains, which is why Mario as a villain in Donkey Kong Jr. is so interesting.

It's a relic from a time when Nintendo didn't have that face yet -- when Mario wasn't a billion dollar brand, and when Nintendo could take chances with its characters in a way they seem pathologically unable -- or unwilling -- to do today. This Mario is a total jerk, holding Donkey Kong Jr.'s dad hostage. As far as villains go, that's pretty high on the evil totem pole (even if Mario is throwing bear traps and bees that can be defeated by... fruit). The worst part of all may be that once Donkey Kong Jr. manages to free his poor imprisoned dad, Jr. has to do the whole thing all over again, as the game just starts over.

This all makes Mario look kind of like a hypocrite when he gets angry over Koopa's latest princess-snatching escapade, doesn't it?

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