Miyamoto’s early design document for Donkey Kong shows the origin of “Papai”

Image: Nintendo

If you’ve studied your gaming history, then you might already know that the original 1981 Donkey Kong (God Almighty…) actually started life as Sailor Popeye a project in which the protagonist, along with Olive Oyl and the antagonist Bluto.

As legend has it, Nintendo failed to get a license for the Popeye project, and so Donkey Kong (along with a certain plumber named Mario Jumpman) was born.

However, in order to take a look at how the game was shaping up with the original characters, a design document by Shigeru Miyamoto himself was highlighted by Digital Eclipse. Mike Mika on Twitterbeing revealed and transmitted @forestillusion a couple of years ago (with scans provided by Gaming Historian).

We missed it then, but this charming things for Nintendo lovers. Check it out below:

You can definitely see how this design document eventually turned into the final product, right? In fact, the level diagram on the right looks like a hell of a lot of work in terms of overall concept (albeit without bombs and dynamite). Elsewhere in the upper left corner you can see sprites for Popeye, Olive Oyl and Bluto (accurate o) along with a cute little picture of Popeye in the bottom left corner.

To top it off, Miyamoto’s signature is visible in the upper right corner. What an exciting look at the origins of Donkey Kong! For more information on how Popeye became Donkey Kong, check out the article below:

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