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Pauline, as she appears in Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis.

Full name Pauline
Species Human
First appearance Donkey Kong (1981)
Latest appearance Mario Golf: Super Rush (2021)

Pauline (initially known as Lady or the Lady in Japan) is Mario's (or Jumpman's) original girlfriend and the original damsel-in-distress in the arcade game Donkey Kong who was captured by Cranky Kong. She is one of the few damsels in the Mario series who is not a princess, but simply a woman.


Donkey Kong series

Donkey Kong

Upon her kidnapping, Jumpman climbed up the building to save her from Donkey Kong, along the way collecting various articles Pauline had dropped, such as her purse or umbrella, for bonus points.


Pauline appeared in the Mario Breakout mode of Pinball, where she was held on many blocks breakable by Mario, and had to be caught by him before she hit the floor to win.

After this, Pauline was dropped as damsel and love interest to Mario (in favor of Princess Peach), and was not featured in a Mario game for ten years.

Donkey Kong (Game Boy)

Pauline, as depicted in Donkey Kong for the Game Boy.

Eventually, Pauline was given a complete redesign and was featured in the Game Boy version of Donkey Kong, also known as Donkey Kong '94. In this retelling of Donkey Kong, Mario pursues the big ape (and his son Donkey Kong Jr.) as he carries Pauline across a variety of locales (the original city setting is only the first world visited). Once more, Pauline is eventually rescued by Mario.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong series

Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis

Pauline in Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2.

Pauline made her next reappearance twelve years after Donkey Kong '94, in Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis. The games starts out with the grand opening of the Super Mini Mario World Theme Park, where Pauline is Mario's guest of honor. While their relationship status went unmentioned in the game, the manual stated that Mario and Pauline were simply great friends at this time.

Donkey Kong Jr. (now an adult known only as "Donkey Kong") was now working at the Mario Toy Company, and when he sees Pauline, he becomes infatuated and presents her with a Mini Donkey Kong. However, when she chooses Mario's proffered Mini Mario over his gift, Donkey Kong becomes enraged and kidnaps Pauline. Mario eventually defeats the heartbroken ape with the help of his Mini Marios, and Pauline makes peace between them all by accepting Donkey Kong's Mini.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!

Pauline appears again as the victim of Donkey Kong's kidnapping antics in Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!. Once again, Pauline is assisting Mario in the Super Mini Mario World Theme Park. Donkey Kong waits in a line to buy admissions tickets only to arrive at the front when the tickets are sold out, Donkey Kong becomes furious and pushes his way through a crowd of Toads and kidnaps Pauline in his rage. Mario attempts to stop this, once again ripping Pauline's dress in the process, however Donkey Kong escapes to the roof with Pauline. Mario then sends the Mini Mario toys in pursuit of Donkey Kong to rescue Pauline.

Mario eventually reaches the top floor, where he opens a door to find Pauline by a window in a small room. However Donkey Kong turns the lights off and makes a break for it through the window with Pauline, and Mario once more gives chase through another round of floors that the Mini Mario toys must navigate. Once Mario makes it to the end of these floors, he finds Pauline in a similar room, but this time she is holding a clipboard and standing happily next to Donkey Kong, some Toads and the Mini Mario toys. She informs the confused Mario that the Mini Mario toys have passed the test run, revealing that Donkey Kong had kidnapped Pauline to test the performance of the toys and she is completely fine and happy. Mario shrugs it off seeing as he had such a great time traversing the theme park with his Minis, and all is well.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!

Pauline makes another return in the next Mario vs Donkey Kong installment, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!. She is seen with Mario in front of Mini Land handing out free Mini versions of herself to the first 100 customers to arrive at Mini Land. A screenshot shows that there will be a Mini Pauline as well.

Character Depiction

Current Appearance

Originally, Pauline's design was nothing more than a blonde woman (with hair similar to Princess Peach's design) wearing a torn pink dress and pink, ankle-strapped pumps.

Currently, Pauline is depicted as a lavender-eyed woman with long, flowing auburn hair, and pale skin. She has large, slanted eyes with long, defined eyelashes and eyebrows that are dark, curvy, and thin out as they extend. She wears a lot of makeup - namely, violet eye shadow, red lipstick and nail polish. Unlike most females from the Mario series, Pauline is tall as well as very voluptuous, as seen in Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis. Regarding her face and hair, her appearance is very similar to that of Captain Syrup from the Wario Land series.


When Donkey Kong was released for the Game Boy, Pauline was given a complete redesign, far more drastic than most, if any other, character redesigns. Her dress was now red instead of pink, with more details, such as being ribbed at the chest and halt-necked. Like before, it was ripped by Donkey Kong in the struggle. Her shoes were changed from pink to black, and were describable as Mary Jane styled pumps with a stiletto heel. She also wore beaded, gold earrings with an oval extension that was also gold.

Pauline got her current appearance in Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis. The only changes made to her outfit from the original redesign are that she now has a golden bangle on her left arm, a bow knot at the back of her dress strap, ankle-strap pumps replacing her previous Mary Jane style, and red finger nails. This was the first game that showed Pauline's dress before becoming ripped. It is shown to end just above her ankles and appears to loosen two thirds the way down her legs to slightly frill out.

Game appearances

Main article: List of Pauline Appearances



  • Pauline was named after Polly James, the wife of Nintendo of America's warehouse manager, Don James.[1] However, it has also been argued that her namesake is the damsel-in-distress featured in the eponymous movie serial The Perils of Pauline.[2] Pauline was originally known simply as the Lady when the arcade version of Donkey Kong was released in Japan. When Donkey Kong was localized for the North American and international market, the name Pauline was decided for the Lady in the same way Mario was chosen for Jumpman. Although the name Pauline was first used in the Donkey Kong cartoon segments from the 1983 Saturday Supercade TV show produced by Ruby-Spears, it wasn't used officially by Nintendo until the Nintendo Entertainment System version of Donkey Kong, where the character was addressed as Pauline in the manual. The name Pauline was not used for the character in Japan until the 1994 Game Boy version of Donkey Kong.
  • In the "Donkey Kong" cartoons in Saturday Supercade, Pauline was voiced by Judy Strangis. In contrast to the video games, where Pauline is a female friend of Mario, the Supercade version of Pauline was portrayed as Mario's niece.
  • Pauline had a small cameo in Nintendo Monopoly.
  • In the Super Mario Bros. movie, there is a character named Daniella. Like Pauline, she is Mario's girlfriend with no royalty status.
  • There are fan theories that Pauline is actually Mario's mother and that Jumpman as seen in Donkey Kong is actually Mario and Luigi's father. This has yet to be confirmed however.


  1. ^ Game Over, a 1993 non-fiction book by David Sheff
  2. ^ Nintendo Power Issue 206

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