It is an early example of the platform game genre, as the gameplay focuses on maneuvering the main character across a series of platforms while dodging and jumping over obstacles.
In the game, Jumpman (since renamed Mario) must rescue a damsel in distress, Lady (now named Pauline), from a giant ape named Donkey Kong (who would later become Cranky Kong).
The hero and ape later became two of Nintendo's most popular characters. Fact 4
Even today, sound effects from the Atari 2600 version often serve as generic video game sounds in films and television shows.
The Killer List of Videogames ranks Donkey Kong the third most popular arcade game of all time and places it at No. 25 on the “Top 100 Videogames” list.
Today, Donkey Kong is the fifth most popular arcade game among collectors.
The success of Donkey Kong and Nintendo's victory in the courtroom helped position the company to dominate the video game market from its release in 1981 until the late 1990s (1996-1999).
Donkey Kong is one of the earliest examples of the platform game genre; it is sometimes said to be the first platform game, although it was preceded by Space Panic.
Artists like DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince and Trace Adkins referenced the game in songs.
Episodes of television series such as The Simpsons, Futurama, Crank Yankers, and The Fairly OddParents have also contained references to the game.