Pauline (initially known as Lady in Japan) was Mario's original love interest that appeared in the original Donkey Kong before Mario met Princess Peach. She is one of the very few major damsels in distress who is not a princess but rather a person of non-royalty. Pauline is Shigeru Miyamoto's first female character, as well as Nintendo's first female. With Super Mario Bros., she was replaced by Princess Peach. Mario and Donkey Kong also separated into separate franchises and this led to Pauline being left out from the Mario games for many years until she finally returned in Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis.
She first appeared as Mario's girlfriend named Lady in his first game. Back then Mario (known only as "Jumpman") worked as a carpenter before he became a plumber in the original Mario Bros. Arcade and was renamed Mario, and when Donkey Kong kidnapped his girlfriend and climbed to the top of a construction site, Mario was forced to follow. At the top, he destroyed eight rivets that supported Donkey Kong's platform and reunited with Pauline. In the Game Boy Game from 1994, the same story is repeated, but the story goes on after the fourth level, as Donkey Kong rises again and runs away with Pauline. This time Mario has to chase him and his child Donkey Kong Jr. through various locations, such as a ship, a jungle and an iceberg. In the end Mario defeated Donkey Kong again and once again saved his girlfriend. After 13 years since her latest appearance, Pauline made a new appearance on the game Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis, for the Nintendo DS. In the game, she plays the major role of damsel in distress once again. However, in this game it is displayed as Mario and Pauline being friends rather than a couple. Yet in the story they both seem to show affection to each other. The story starts at the newly opened "Super Mini-Mario World" amusement park. Donkey Kong is there and when he sees Pauline cutting the opening ribbon with Mario, he falls in love with her. He gives her a Mini-Donkey Kong, one of many toys at the theme park, but at the same time Mario presents her a Mini-Mario. When Pauline chooses the Mini-Mario, Donkey Kong becomes furious, grabs Pauline and ones again takes her to the top of a high building, this time the amusement park's roof. With Mario unable to follow, it's up to the Mini-Marios to save the day. She once again appears in this sequel to March of the Minis. Donkey Kong wants to enter the amusement park, but just as he arrives the tickets sell out. He becomes furious and ones again he kidnaps Pauline who is helping Mario in the park. Donkey Kong climbs to the top of the building and Mario is forced to send the Mini-Marios to save Pauline again. However, after a happy reunion, Donkey Kong turns out the lights, grabs Pauline, and drops back to the bottom of the building, forcing Mario and his Mini-Marios to climb back up through all the floors, now much harder.
Appearances in Other Media
Pauline makes a very small cameo in Nintendo Monopoly, and she appeared as a main character in the Saturday Supercade cartoon show, but instead of being Mario's girlfriend, she was his niece.
In the Super Mario Bros. Movie it might be concluded that Daniella, Mario's girlfriend, is probably Pauline since Daniella is of no royalty status but is Mario's girlfriend.
- Pauline bears a resemblance to Princess Peach in her first appearance.