Artwork of Pauline for the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Booster Course Pass
|First appearance||Donkey Kong (1981)|
|Latest appearance||Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Booster Course Pass, Wave 6) (2023)|
|Latest portrayal||Kate Higgins (2017–present)|
Jessica DiCicco (English, 2023)
Pauline (originally known as Lady or the Beautiful Girl) is the damsel-in-distress in the arcade game Donkey Kong, the installment that marked her debut in both the Donkey Kong and Super Mario franchises, along with Mario and her titular kidnapper (confirmed in later games to be a younger Cranky Kong). She was Mario's first love interest.
After a long absence, Pauline reprises her damsel-in-distress role in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series. In Super Mario Odyssey, she plays a prominent supporting role, being the mayor of New Donk City, as well as singing the theme song of the game, "Jump Up, Super Star!"
Pauline is stated by Game Over, a 1993 non-fiction book by David Sheff, to be named after Polly James, wife of Nintendo of America's warehouse manager, Don James, a fact later confirmed by Don James himself at Nintendo's E3 2018 Treehouse Live event.
Pauline is currently voiced by Kate Higgins, since Super Mario Odyssey. She has been voiced in games prior to this, though her voice actors remain unknown.
Donkey Kong series
Lady, as the character was known at the time, makes her debut appearance in the 1981 arcade game Donkey Kong as one of the first damsels-in-distress in any video game made before that time.
Lady is kidnapped by Donkey Kong, a pet gorilla who was owned by her boyfriend Mario. She is taken up onto a building and loses various articles (such as her parasol, hat and bag, which can be collected for bonus Points) on the way. Mario then climbs up the building, avoiding all the hazards in the way, to rescue her. However, when Mario reaches the top of the building, Donkey Kong grabs Lady and takes her higher up, forcing Mario to do another level. After four levels, Donkey Kong is trapped as Mario removes the bolts from the platform, sending Donkey Kong plummeting. Lady is finally saved by Mario, and they share a special moment together.
She was originally intended to speak and two audio samples are buried in the arcade version's code. She was portrayed by actress Sally Klein in the 1982 commercial for the ColecoVision, Atari 2600, and Intellivision ports.
Donkey Kong (Game & Watch)
Lady also appears in the Game & Watch game Donkey Kong. Like in the arcade game, she was kidnapped by the titular ape and brought to a construction site, with the objective being to have Mario rescue her by cutting wires holding Donkey Kong's platform together.
Donkey Kong (Game Boy)
Eventually, Pauline is given a revised appearance and is featured in the Game Boy rendition of Donkey Kong. Mario pursues Donkey Kong and his son Donkey Kong Jr. as Pauline is carried across a variety of locales. Once more, Pauline is eventually rescued by Mario. The two are then shown in a setting resembling the Mushroom Kingdom from Super Mario Bros., where Pauline supplies Mario with a Super Mushroom. Donkey Kong then attempts to best Mario one last time, but the tables turn when the crushed Mario lifts Donkey Kong as Super Mario, alarming his son. Afterwards, the group has their photo taken at one of the previous levels, Rocky-Valley.
The Nintendo Character Manual used from 1992 to 1994 suggests that Pauline willingly reprises her appearance in this game, because of her belief that "life without Donkey Kong and Mario is pretty dull".
Donkey Kong (coloring/activity books)
The earliest known appearance of the name Pauline in licensed print media comes from two series of activity books comprising of five books each released by Modern Promotions/Publishers in 1982 and 1983. One book from each series contain only activities while the other four has a plot. In the Donkey Kong series, Pauline is a singer at Video Land Amusement Park and is the subject of unrequited love from little Mario the carpenter and Donkey Kong, the new attraction. Donkey Kong breaks free and kidnaps her leading to Mario having to rescue her. In the sequel series Donkey Kong Strikes Again! she has become very successful and owns a club in which she also sings. Mario seeks out Pauline after Donkey Kong has escaped again because she is the only one he would listen to. This only leads to her being captured again.
This is the earliest depiction of her as a singer, predating the 1983 Japanese ads for the canceled Famicom game Donkey Kong no Ongaku Asobi, where Lady would presumably act as the second player using a hammer to play the piano, and as the lead singer in the Donkey Band group (which would have utilized the microphone option for the Famicom). She would not be seen as a singer again until Super Mario Odyssey.
Pauline appears as a regular character in the Donkey Kong episodes within the Saturday Supercade show. Voiced by Judy Strangis, Pauline plays the role as Mario's assistant or partner and is often seen to be alongside him in the various episodes. The two work together to capture Donkey Kong throughout the series. Pauline can also be seen helping Stanley in the penultimate episode.
Pinball / VS. Pinball
Lady, also referred to as Pauline and generically as a lady or the lady, appears in the Bonus Stage of Pinball and VS. Pinball. Lady runs back and forth across the top of the screen. When the floor below her becomes too short for her to jump across, she falls down and must be caught by Mario before she hits the floor. If she reaches the exit, she reappears at the top of the screen. This is the first game depicting the character in her standard brunette appearance, rather than her blonde appearance.
Lady is a usable sprite in the Family BASIC accessory for the Family Computer. The Family BASIC allows users to make their own programs. Her default appearance as seen on the Message Board is similar to Pinball but in Family BASIC V3, she appears in one of the mini-games sharing the same palette as Mario.
In the recap chapter found in the 2nd volume of Super Mario-kun, Lady is shown in her usual damsel-in-distress role in the context of the arcade Donkey Kong plot. When Mario comes to save her, he is so bruised up from the barrels he took to the face that Lady jumps in DK's arms, claiming "he is better."
Pauline appears in volume 11 of Super Mario-kun for the Game Boy Donkey Kong chapter. She is described as a person whose appearance is "brighter" and "more gorgeous" than Peach. She runs a shop called "Pauline's Fashionable Store", that sells various Mario power-up suits. Donkey Kong later enters the store to buy a new tie. Mario recommends Donkey Kong to buy a collar. Donkey Kong gets furious and takes a tie and Pauline to the top of a construction site, locking her in a chamber. Mario and Yoshi defeat DK, but later have to search the key in the crumbled construction site they destroyed in the process.
Super Mario (Kodansha manga)
In the Super Mario manga anthology by Kazuki Motoyama, Lady appears in volume 15 where she is a mechanic that sells items and engine upgrades to Mario on credit so he can win a race in the Super Mario Kart arc. She also rides with him and later Yoshi in a couple of short scenes. After his victory, she is one of the creditors who seizes his cash earnings. She returns briefly in volume 16.
Volumes 29 and 30 are a self-contained two volume story arc which covers the Game Boy rendition of Donkey Kong. Pauline is the star acrobat at Peach's circus and regularly performs with Donkey Kong Jr., who was kidnapped by Peach from his island. When Donkey Kong frees his son, Junior convinces his father to take Pauline with them because he believes she is his mother. Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad attempt to rescue her but in the end, Pauline decides to stay to take care of Junior. A decade later, after Bowser has extorted all of the circus' money, they head back to the island to get Pauline to return. She turns them down as she has gained weight and is happy on the island. Peach's circus is forced out of business.
Donkey Kong Jungle Action Special
Pauline is featured in the Donkey Kong Jungle Action Special comic "A Blast From The Past". The comic starts with a reporter coming into Cranky Kong's cabin, asking if he recalls anything about Pauline. Cranky does, and proceed to tell the reporter about the last time he saw her.
Pauline is carried by a younger Cranky Kong as he climbs to the top of a construction site. She asks him why he likes to climb tall buildings, to which Donkey Kong replies it is something he saw in a movie. An electrician hears the commotion and also climbs to the top of the construction site, fearing Pauline may be in danger. After the electrician manages to startle Donkey Kong by popping out of the barrel he is holding, Pauline admonishes the two and proceeds to kick Donkey Kong, claiming she is tired of his antics and is looking for a way to "get even".
In the present, Cranky Kong ends his story, but the reporter reveals to him that Pauline wrote a successful book about the events, titled "The Girl and the Gorilla", and got a movie deal titled "The Adventures of Pauline". Furious at how he is depicted and with a promise from the reporter to be paid for telling his side of the story, Cranky Kong claims that he will tell the truth about Pauline, warning the reporter that "it isn't pretty". He proceeds to start talking about the first time he carried Pauline to the top of a building; however, the comic ends there.
Game & Watch Gallery series
In Game & Watch Gallery 2 and Game & Watch Gallery 4, Pauline herself does not appear in the Modern version of Donkey Kong (that role instead being taken over by Princess Peach), but she does appear in the game's Classic mode, re-enacting the same role as in the game.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong series
Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis
After twelve years of absence, Pauline makes her next reappearance in Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis. The game starts with the grand opening of the Super Mini Mario World theme park, where Pauline is Mario's guest of honor. The game's manual suggests that Mario and Pauline are just friends at this time. Donkey Kong is an employee of the Mario Toy Company who attends the opening. When he sees Pauline, he becomes infatuated and presents her with a Mini Donkey Kong. When she chooses Mario's Mini Mario over his gift, however, Donkey Kong becomes enraged and kidnaps Pauline, escaping to the roof of Super Mini Mario World.
After Mario defeats Donkey Kong on the roof, he opens a door to find Pauline surrounded by presents, revealing that she is safe. Pauline makes peace between Mario and Donkey Kong by accepting Donkey Kong's Mini.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!
Pauline appears again in Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!. Once again, Pauline is assisting Mario in the opening of an expansion of Super Mini Mario World. However, Pauline is kidnapped by Donkey Kong after he is too late to receive a ticket to the expansion. Mario attempts to stop this, ripping Pauline's dress in the process, but 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 escapes through the window with Pauline, and Mario once more gives chase through another round of floors. 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. She informs Mario that the Mini Mario toys have passed the test run, revealing that she was only kidnapped by Donkey Kong simply to test the performance of the toys.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!
Pauline makes another appearance in Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! Mario and Pauline are welcoming customers to the grand opening of Mini-Land by giving away Mini Pauline toys to the first 100 customers. Donkey Kong excitedly charges his way to the front wanting a Pauline Mini toy for himself, but when he arrives, Mario sternly tells him that they are out of stock. Donkey Kong becomes enraged and kidnaps Pauline instead, heading into the theme park. Mario once again gives chase immediately, with assistance from the Mini-Land toys.
After navigating the Minis though all the theme park's attractions, Mario locates Pauline standing just below a Ferris wheel. She welcomes Mario warmly before Donkey Kong surprises them both by jumping from the top of the Ferris wheel to scoop Pauline up once again, forcing Mario to pursue him through more of the theme park's attractions.
After chasing Donkey Kong through the theme park again, Mario finally finds Pauline once more under the Ferris wheel; this time, however, when Donkey Kong appears to confront him, Mario presents him with a Mini Pauline toy. Donkey Kong is overjoyed, and Pauline ultimately finds the whole thing very sweet. She makes her way to the Ferris wheel, where she, Donkey Kong, Mario, and the Minis enjoy a ride in celebration.
Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move
Pauline reappears in Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move. Pauline is not kidnapped by Donkey Kong in this game; instead, she teams up with Donkey Kong to run a game arcade called Mini Arcade, as part of the Mini Toy Carnival hosted by the Mario Toy Company. In the Mini Games mode, Pauline congratulates players on their score alongside Donkey Kong at the end of a minigame.
Pauline's face appears as an icon in the Mini Target Smash minigame. Smashing a Pauline target can cause the player to lose 100, 200, or 300 points, depending on how far away the target is.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars
Pauline briefly appears in Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars. In the game's intro cutscene, Pauline is kidnapped by Donkey Kong, although no motivation is given. Mario quickly gives chase with his Mini Mario toys, in hopes of rescuing Pauline.
In the game's ending cutscene, Pauline and Donkey Kong are revealed to have been giving Mario a surprise party.
Super Smash Bros. series
- SmashWiki article: Pauline
Pauline appears in the Masterpiece demo of the original Donkey Kong included in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. In every installment as of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, one of Peach's alternate costumes depicts her with a red dress that is similar in colorization to Pauline's dress.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U
A trophy of Pauline appears in both Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, while Pauline herself appears in the latter version in her original role in the Donkey Kong Masterpiece. Pauline is also alluded to in the Event match titled "1988": "DK and Diddy have gone back in time. Now Mario's angry at them for kidnapping Pauline...but he's got the wrong guys!" An additional inclusion is in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U where she is mentioned in one of the randomly generated tips that appear on loading screen or in the tips section in the Original Games / Settings category (shown with a blue border), and reads: "Mario's Ex-Girlfriend(?) The woman kidnapped by DK in the original Donkey Kong was Mario's first love, Pauline. Originally, she was just called "Lady." We've come a long way."
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Pauline along with the band appears in the background of New Donk City Hall in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate if "Jump Up, Super Star!" is selected as the stage's background music. The song's vocals are absent at first, and Pauline appears randomly on a propeller platform as the stage's main platform ascends the tower. If a fighter jumps past her, she starts to sing, and later appears in the plaza with the rest of the band.
Pauline also appears as two Legend-class spirits: one as a grab-type, primary spirit together with Donkey Kong (under the name "Donkey Kong & Lady") using their original artwork, which slightly increases the power of grabs and throws when equipped; and one as a support spirit by herself using her artwork from Super Mario Odyssey, which allows the user to recover health when an opponent attacks their shield. The latter can be obtained in the World of Light, where the player must defeat her puppet fighter, Peach, in 1 minute and 30 seconds while avoiding Mario with a Hammer (in his wedding outfit) and a giant Donkey Kong (in his red-furred alternate costume, resembling the original Donkey Kong) on 75 m.
Super Mario Odyssey
She first appears shortly after Mario arrives at New Donk City, where she, alongside several New Donkers, observes Bowser's Airship in the sky and the city being hit by a rainstorm. She then explains to Mario she cannot talk with him at the moment because New Donk City is currently in a crisis: she explains that Bowser had arrived at the city and has been causing chaos, and admitted she was not impressed with him plastering posters advertising his planned wedding with Princess Peach, stating it was "tasteless". Afterward, she then thanks Mario for saving the city as it meant everything to her, and invited him to set up the city festival.
Prior to the upcoming city festival itself, Pauline asks Mario to help rebuild her band, for which she serves as the lead singer. After that, she then tasked Mario with checking out the underground power plant and restore power. Ultimately, by the time Mario arrived at the power plant, Pauline was present, as she decided to assess the situation herself and deduced Bowser was responsible for the sabotage. They then fixed the power together, and then she personally invited Mario for the New Donk City festival as the guest of honor to repay him for making the festival possible. She is the interpreter of "Jump Up, Super Star!", the theme song of the game. One of the dance moves she does during her performance mimics her sprite animation from the original Donkey Kong game. In addition, the reason she returns and acts as mayor of New Donk City is to avert the idea that the presence of a kingdom necessarily means that the people in charge are royalty.
She is later seen at the wedding between Bowser and Peach in the Wedding Hall, being among various characters forced by Bowser to attend. When Mario arrives, she tells him he is "just in time."
In the post-game, Pauline is able to quiz Mario on facts about herself. She says that her hat is her favorite possession, she loves eating cake, and that her capture in Donkey Kong was "traumatic", although it helped her grow as a person. She also indicated that she had already seen Seaside Kingdom by the time she met up with Mario, and desired to see Cloud Kingdom next, due to it having "clouds that go on forever."
She later appears at Darker Side alongside the band and various other characters to root for Mario as he undergoes the rigorous challenge. After the Multi Moon is collected, she replaces her hat with a hat similar to that of Mario's own hat.
When the harder version of the final boss is beaten, Pauline appears on the picture with the other major characters of the game at the Mushroom Kingdom that is rewarded to the player after the ending credits.
Her original design from the Donkey Kong's cabinet also makes a cameo in New Donk City as part of some graffiti art and, once the festival mission is completed, on various billboards. The graffiti was suggested to be a connection of New Donk City with the events of the original Donkey Kong game.
Quiz questions and answers
These questions are asked in a random order, and Mario must get four questions in a row right to pass.
|Question||Answer 1||Answer 2||Answer 3|
|What am I bad with?||Festivals.||Fixing machines.||Talking to people.|
|What do I plan to eat for dinner tonight?||Fried Mushrooms||Leaf Salad||Flower Stew|
|What kingdom would I most like to visit right now?||Wooded Kingdom||Cloud Kingdom||Seaside Kingdom|
|What kind of music do I like?||You don't like music.||Relaxing music.||Peppy music.|
|What do I do on my days off?||Garden!||Fix machines!||Practice singing!|
|What is my most treasured possession?||A purse.||A hat.||An umbrella.|
|Which of these things did I actually do a long time ago?||Raised sheep.||Wore raccoon suit.||Captured by ape.|
|What do you think my hobby is?||Going on walks.||Driving RC Cars.||Flower arranging.|
|What do I just adore?||Machines.||Cake.||Flowers.|
|Give me your honest opinion-how am I doing as mayor of this city?||OK, I guess...||Badly.||Fantastic!|
Mario Tennis Aces
Pauline reappears in Mario Tennis Aces in her Mario vs. Donkey Kong appearance as a playable character that was first available by participating in the March 2019 tournament. This marks her first fully playable appearance and her first appearance in a Super Mario sports title. She wears a sport outfit akin to that of Peach, Daisy, and Rosalina. She is classified as a Speedy type character, having the fastest movement in the game combined with low traction, but she is easily pushed back by returned shots. Her voice clips are reused from Super Mario Odyssey. Her Special Shot, named Showstopper, involves her dancing atop a building similar to the New Donk City Hall as it gets taller, with a crowd of New Donkers surrounding it; during this Special Shot, "Jump Up, Super Star!" plays. Her emblem resembles a pair of red lips stylized into a heart shape. Prior to version 3.0.0, Pauline's name was erroneously written entirely in capital letters in the English version.
Mario Kart series
Mario Kart Tour
Pauline makes her debut in the Mario Kart series in Mario Kart Tour as a High-End playable character. Although she was officially confirmed in the first episode of the Mario Kart Tour News video series on September 24, 2019 (one day prior to the game's release), her name was accidentally shown on the game's App Store story page on August 27, confirming that she would appear in some capacity, but was later removed. Her special item is the Lucky Seven. She was introduced in the New York Tour as a tour-exclusive character, but starting with the 2019 Holiday Tour, she became a regular character, while also gaining her own self-themed cup. Additionally, she has a High-End variant called Pauline (Party Time), who wears a silver party outfit representing the New Year and also debuted in the 2019 Holiday Tour, with her special item being the Coin Box. This makes her the first newcomer in Mario Kart Tour to receive a variant in the game. A second variant for Pauline themed around Valentine's Day called Pauline (Rose) was introduced in the Peach vs. Daisy Tour as a High-End character, with the Fire Flower as her special item. Both of these costumed variants were added to regular tour pipes in the Battle Tour. A third variant for Pauline called Pauline (Cowgirl) was introduced in the Pipe Tour, once again classified as a High-End driver. Her special item is the Boomerang Flower.
Pauline and her variants usually have the Yellow Taxi and/or its variants as their signature karts. Her association with the New York Minute tracks is most likely an indirect reference to her status as the mayor of New Donk City, which is based on New York City.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Pauline was added to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe as a playable character through the sixth and final wave of the Booster Course Pass DLC, alongside Diddy Kong, Funky Kong, and Peachette. Here, her earrings are noticeably larger than in Mario Kart Tour. Pauline also has a new alternate racing outfit when using bikes and ATVs, similarly to Peach, Daisy, and Rosalina, though with notable differences. She is among the lightest heavyweight characters, sharing statistics with Rosalina, King Boo, and Link.
Mario Golf: Super Rush
Pauline appears in Mario Golf: Super Rush as a Control character with average stats, marking her first appearance in the Mario Golf series. She sports a new golfing outfit with a newsboy cap. Her Special Shot is known as the Songbird Stinger and her Special Dash is known as the Diva Dash.
Mario Strikers: Battle League
Pauline makes her Mario Strikers debut in Mario Strikers: Battle League, as a playable character added through the version 1.2.0 update alongside the returning Diddy Kong. Her strongest attributes are her strength and speed; without any gear applied on any characters, she has the highest strength statistic in the game. However, her other statistics rank among the worst in the game. Her team number is 7, and her Hyper Strike is Swing Solo.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie
- “Everything's under control, I promise you. We are very close to fixing this.”
- —Pauline, The Super Mario Bros. Movie
Pauline appears as a minor character in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, in which she is the mayor of New York City. A TV news headline states that she has been re-elected in a landslide victory. She wears the same outfit as in Super Mario Odyssey, albeit without her hat. She first appears in the movie in a TV interview, reassuring citizens that an issue of sewer flooding is under control and that they're close to fixing it, though she is instantly proven wrong when a manhole bursts like a geyser behind her, causing her to smile sheepishly. Near the end of the movie, she is among the crowd of citizens in Brooklyn congratulating Mario and Luigi for defeating Bowser and his army. An update to the SMBPlumbing.com website after the film's June home video release revealed Pauline gave the Mario Brothers a "Key to the City" and proclaimed a day of celebration on June 13, 2023.
Other appearances, references, and cameos
Pauline never makes an appearance in Donkey Kong Jr. itself, although the back flyer does reference Donkey Kong's earlier abduction of her, citing that Mario's motive for imprisoning Donkey Kong was namely to make sure Donkey Kong cannot abduct her or any other woman again. In addition, the arcade version's transition scene between the Jump Board Scene and Mario's Hideout has the titular son of Donkey Kong pursuing Mario's helicopter while riding a parasol resembling Pauline's parasol.
She was given an indirect mention in the Nintendo Comics System story Cloud Burst, where Mario alluded to a past girlfriend who was comparable to Princess Toadstool as well as to some extent Luigi and Bowser.
Although Pauline herself does not make an appearance in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, she, and more specifically Cranky Kong's abduction of her in the original game was alluded to in the manual (intro in the GBA version) where Cranky, while lecturing Donkey Kong, said "Whisking off maidens and throwing barrels around the place seven days a week, I was."
Pauline, or more accurately her debut role, was given an indirect reference in Baten Kaitos Origins, where the character Guillo sarcastically asks Gibari, "What are you, some monkey who's run off with a pretty wench?" after witnessing the latter take out several guards with a barrel.
Pauline also appears in both WarioWare: D.I.Y. Showcase and WarioWare Gold in the microgame Donkey Kong, where she plays her role from the original Donkey Kong arcade game. She appears in the same stance in another Donkey Kong-based microgame from WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$!.
In NES Remix, she appears in most of the challenges and remixes based on Donkey Kong and Pinball. She also has the same role in Ultimate NES Remix, which combined games from both NES Remix and NES Remix 2 for Nintendo 3DS.
Pauline appears as a statue in Super Mario Run during the Super Mario Odyssey event. Along with the three other main character statues of Mario, Peach, and Bowser (in their respective wedding outfits), the Pauline statue makes an appearance between November 14, 2017 and November 19, 2017. She also appears in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker for the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS in a cameo on one of Uptown, Downtown's billboards.
Pauline's original design for the Donkey Kong arcade release was based on Shigeru Miyamoto's artwork which graced the arcade cabinets and appeared in Japanese marketing material such as flyers and print ads. His Lady is a blonde or orange-haired woman with long puffy hair wearing a deep pink to red strap dress and ankle-strap pumps of the same color. In her sprite in Donkey Kong for Game & Watch, she was given short curly orange hair, and had on a pink blouse and purple pants (in the Game & Watch Gallery versions, she instead has blonde hair and either a red dress, or otherwise a red blouse and yellow skirt depending on the specific game version).
While Miyamoto's rendition defined the appearance of Lady in Japan, the North American market was heavily influenced by her look in Zavier Leslie Cabarga's flyer. His Pauline has more of a wavy hairstyle and her cocktail dress is torn with her face expressing greater distress. Most Donkey Kong merchandise in North America from 1982 to 1984 was based on Cabarga's design. Some exceptions include Topps collectible stickers which depicted her with long orange-colored hair (she remains blonde in the packaging as it was designed by Cabarga). In 1983, the debut of Saturday Supercade revised Pauline's appearance to make her look more youthful. The last official use of Cabarga's flyer was for Ocean Software's ports for European home computers in 1986.
Since Donkey Kong for Game Boy, Pauline's appearance was updated closer to her more current appearance with only minor difference to her most recent look. This redesign was suggested in the American version of her Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U trophy to be an attempt to differentiate herself from Princess Peach. Her original redesign gave her a ribbed-chest red halter neck dress, black Mary Jane high heels, dark brown hair, red lips and violet eye shadow. This appearance would be refined over the years to her final look.
In Super Mario Odyssey, her face is slightly refined even more; her eyes, her head and her earrings are somewhat smaller than in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong games and her face is more rounded, while her makeup is more vibrant. She is shown to be very tall compared to the other characters in the game (a feature shared with the New Donkers) and her waist is subtly wider. According to the developers, she was given a new design that reflected the current view of the world while handling the original features with great care. Subsequent games bring back many elements of her Mario vs. Donkey Kong appearance, resulting in a mixture between the two designs.
In the US, the name Pauline first appeared in 1982 through the Donkey Kong activity books and Coleco's figurine. Her name was further spread through Saturday Supercade and was eventually used in the MS-DOS, Apple II, Coleco Adam, and NES ports; however, in Japan, she was still known as Lady in the Famicom version. Because the name Pauline was not used universally until her return in the Game Boy game where she was redesigned, the original version of the character and redesigned version were treated as separate characters in certain media in Japan, with the original version of the character being known as Lady and the new version being known as Pauline, although the two incarnations are never shown meeting together. This is likely due to the fact that Pauline was described as a "new heroine" when Donkey Kong for Game Boy was released in Japan, despite the fact that Shigeru Miyamoto and game director Masayuki Kameyama acknowledged in an interview that Pauline was previously used as the name of Lady outside Japan, as well as stating that the game was intended to be a prequel to Super Mario Bros. since Pauline was Mario's "old flame" (昔の彼女) before meeting Peach. Additionally, an early title screen uses the phrase "Save the Lady from Donkey Kong" from arcade materials, further indicating that Pauline was intended to be Lady. After the release of the Game Boy game, the name Lady retained usage to refer to the original version of the character in Japan; for example, during the Cat Mario show's coverage of some NES games, Cat Mario, when asked by Cat Peach about the woman's identity, simply identified her as Lady.
In the Perfect Edition of the Great Mario Character Encyclopedia, published in 1994 by Shogakukan, Lady and Pauline are given separate entries. Curiously, both of them have "New York" listed as their place of origin, but Lady's personality is described as "docile" (おとなしい) while Pauline's personality is "vigorous" (活発).
Kazuki Motoyama's Super Mario manga introduced Lady during the Super Mario Kart story arc as Mario's childhood girlfriend who established an automobile repair shop and volunteers to become Mario and Luigi's mechanic during the kart race. Later on, during the Donkey Kong story arc, Pauline was introduced as an acrobat hired by Peach for her circus alongside Donkey Kong Jr.
Volume 2 of Yukio Sawada's Super Mario-kun featured a gag in which Lady leaves Mario for Donkey Kong. However, Volume 11 of the same manga would introduce Pauline as a clerk in a clothing store that Mario frequents with no mention of her having a prior romantic relationship with Mario (or Donkey Kong for that matter).
Within Nintendo Land, the chalk drawing of the original design of the character is labeled as Pauline instead of Lady. The Japanese versions of both Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U would then make it clearer to Japanese players that Pauline and Lady are indeed one and the same on Pauline's trophy description. Similarly, in the Japanese version of Nintendo Badge Arcade, Arcade Bunny has dialog introducing the arcade character as Pauline instead of Lady.
Due to the initial name Lady sometimes being mistaken in translation as the generic word lady, Pauline has several naming discrepancies across media. In at least two print ads by UK distributor CGL for the Game & Watch version of Donkey Kong, Pauline was referred to as Louise. However, the instructions leave her unnamed. NES information packs, mailed as late as April 1986, referred to her as Paula instead.[dead link]
Pauline is depicted as having light blue eyes, which had a violet hue before her appearance in Super Mario Odyssey, long wavy dark brown hair (slightly darker in Mario Golf: Super Rush), and fair skin. She has large slanted eyes with four long eyelashes at the top and three smaller lashes at the bottom (a total of seven), coupled with long defined arching eyebrows. Her face is oval in shape with a triangular nose and pointed chin. She is typically shown wearing violet eye shadow, dark red lipstick, and matching nail polish.
Pauline has an hourglass figure, in comparison to other human female characters. She has been shown as average height when compared to other human women in the Super Mario franchise, such as in StreetPass Mii Plaza's "Nintendo Heroines/Starlets" 3D puzzle showing her to be as tall as Peach, but is also shown to be taller in other games like in Super Mario Odyssey, where her overall proportions have been changed to match the New Donk City populace, making her particularly tall, especially in comparison to Mario. In Mario Tennis Aces, she appears to be very slightly shorter than Rosalina and taller than Peach by the same amount. In Mario Kart Tour, Pauline occupies the large kart driver classification like Rosalina.
Pauline wears a fitted red halter neck dress with a bow knot connecting the straps behind her neck, and a low cut back. This dress has been torn in the earlier art, notably in Donkey Kong Jungle Action Special where she kicks Donkey Kong and threatens payback. In the majority of main appearances since Super Mario Odyssey, the dress is slightly sparkly. Also in Super Mario Odyssey, as mayor, she also wears accompanying red pantsuit which appears in The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Her other alternate outfits in later games such as in Mario Kart Tour, Mario Tennis Aces, and Mario Golf: Super Rush are variations of this dress or draw their colors from it. In Mario Kart Tour, she received three alternate outfits: Party Time, Rose, and Cowgirl. When driving a bike in Mario Kart, as with Peach, Daisy, and Rosalina, Pauline wears a fitting jumpsuit, and her hair is tied back.
Until Super Mario Odyssey, Pauline did not have much character development. She is shown to be friendly, happy, kind, and even business minded, seen when she tests the quality of the Mario Toy Company’s Mini Mario toys in Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! She is also quick to forgive others, especially apparent when it comes to Donkey Kong’s numerous abductions of her. She is also implied to enjoy games, which is shown when she opens a gaming theme park called Mini-Land with Donkey Kong in Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move. Pauline also acts as a mediator between Mario and Donkey Kong. As mayor, she is apparently adept at city planning, as one of the residents of New Donk City mentioned that he was surprised at how fast she managed to get the city up and running again. In Super Mario Odyssey Pauline has been given more character (re)development overall. She enjoys peppy and jazz music because it brings people together, frequently practices singing to prepare for the next New Donk City Festival, has such a love for New Donk City that she often takes walks to admire it all, and also mentions she adores cake, stating that "It has to be 'good' cake and 'not that package stuff'". On another hand, however, she admits that she is not good at fixing machinery, and implies that she is also bad with flowers. She also goes on walks as a hobby due to her love for New Donk City and has indicated that she likes Fried Mushrooms and Flower Stew (the former due to being a massive Mushroom fan), but is not fond of Leaf Salad.
While Mario and Pauline's relationship was implied to be romantic during the Donkey Kong arcade game and outright stated in most home port manuals, Pauline was soon dropped as Mario's love interest and replaced with Princess Peach. In the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series, it is stated that the two are friends, with her attending Mario's Mini Mario business and theme park events as a VIP, and his racing to her rescue when Donkey Kong kidnaps her at said events. Later, she takes a more active role in Mario's business ventures and helps run his Mini-Land theme park.
In these games, Donkey Kong has an unrequited crush on Pauline, flying into childish rages and kidnapping her when he feels rejected in favor of Mario or does not get what he wants. While Pauline is apprehensive of Donkey Kong when he kidnaps her, he never hurts her and she does not bear him ill-will for his impulsiveness (Donkey Kong Jungle Action Special contradicts this however, where Pauline kicks Donkey Kong and threatens him with vengeance for ruining her dress and dragging her to the top of buildings), being quick to forgive him once Mario curbs his behavior and he shows remorse. Aside from the kidnapping incidents, the two get along well, and while Pauline does not return Donkey Kong's affections, it is implied that she finds his gestures sweet. In two instances, Pauline also plots with Donkey Kong for the latter to "kidnap" her in order to test the abilities of the Mini Mario line and lure Mario to a surprise party.
She is shown to not be fond of Bowser, especially when his wedding plans resulted in New Donk City being attacked and him plastering billboards for his forced wedding to Peach all over the city (which she deemed tasteless, especially in light of the city's crisis). In addition, when Mario arrived at the Wedding Hall after Pauline and other characters were forced by Bowser to act as "guests" for the wedding, Pauline tells Mario that he was "just in time", implying she was not happy with Bowser forcing her to attend the wedding.
Profiles and statistics
- Main article: List of Pauline profiles and statistics
Place of origin: New York
Game appearances: Donkey Kong
The first female character from the Mario series
I'm Mario's first girlfriend. I was scared when Donkey Kong kidnapped me suddenly, but I believed Mario would surely save me.
Place of origin: New York
Game appearances: GB Donkey
Pauline, the glamorous beauty
Kong tried to take me to his hometown forcibly... All I could do was cry for help.
Mario Tennis Aces
- Type: Speedy
- Trick Shots: Spin Stroke (forward/backward), One-Up Girl (side)
- Special Shot: Showstopper
- Trait: Fastest movement with low traction and easily pushed back from returned shots
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate spirits
|Name||Image||Game||Type||Class||Effect||How to obtain||Spirit battle|
|Pauline||Super Mario Series||Support (2)||Legend||Healing Shield||World of Light (Light Realm); Spirit Board||Peach, Mario, Donkey Kong||Rule: Jump Power ↓
||75 m||Jump Up, Super Star!|
|Donkey Kong & Lady||Donkey Kong Series||Primary (3)||Legend||Grab
Throw Power ↑
|Spirit Board||Giant Donkey Kong||Rule: Item Tidal Wave
||75 m||Donkey Kong / Donkey Kong Jr. Medley|
List of appearances
|Donkey Kong||Non-playable character||1981||Arcade|
|Crazy Kong||Non-playable character||1981||Arcade|
|Crazy Kong Part II||Non-playable character||1981||Arcade|
|Donkey Kong||Non-playable character||1982||Game & Watch|
|Pinball||Non-playable character in bonus area||1984||Nintendo Entertainment System|
|Family BASIC||Cameo in message board, programmable sprite||1984||Family Computer|
|Family BASIC V3||Non-playable character in mini-game, programmable sprite||1985||Family Computer|
|Donkey Kong Classics||Non-playable character in port of Donkey Kong||1988||Nintendo Entertainment System|
|Donkey Kong||Non-playable character||1994||Game Boy|
|Donkey Kong||Non-playable character||1994||Nelsonic Game Watch|
|Game & Watch Gallery 2||Non-playable character in port of Game & Watch Donkey Kong||1998||Game Boy, Game Boy Color|
|Donkey Kong 64||Non-playable character in port of Donkey Kong||1999||Nintendo 64|
|Doubutsu no Mori||Non-playable character in emulation of Donkey Kong and Pinball||2001||Nintendo 64|
|Animal Crossing||Non-playable character in emulation of Donkey Kong and Pinball||2001||Nintendo GameCube|
|Game & Watch Gallery 4||Non-playable character in port of Game & Watch Donkey Kong||2002||Game Boy Advance|
|WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$!||Cameo in microgame||2003||Game Boy Advance|
|WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Party Game$!||Cameo in microgame||2003||Nintendo GameCube|
|Donkey Kong/Donkey Kong Jr./Mario Bros.||Non-playable character in port of Donkey Kong||2004||Arcade|
|Classic NES Series: Donkey Kong||Non-playable character||2004||Game Boy Advance|
|Tetris DS||Cameo||2006||Nintendo DS|
|Game & Watch Collection||Non-playable character in port of Game & Watch Donkey Kong||2006||Nintendo DS|
|Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis||Non-playable character||2006||Nintendo DS|
|Super Smash Bros. Brawl||Non-playable character in demo of Donkey Kong||2008||Wii|
|WarioWare: D.I.Y. Showcase||Cameo in microgame||2009||WiiWare|
|Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again!||Non-playable character||2009||DSiWare|
|Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!||Non-playable character||2010||Nintendo DS|
|Nintendo Land||Non-playable character in Donkey Kong's Crash Course||2012||Wii U|
|Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move||Non-playable character||2013||Nintendo 3DS (eShop)|
|Puzzle Swap||Cameo in Puzzle Swap image Heroines (Nintendo Starlets)||2013||Nintendo 3DS (StreetPass Mii Plaza)|
|NES Remix||Non-playable character||2013||Wii U|
|NES Remix Pack||Non-playable character in NES Remix||2014||Wii U|
|Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U||Cameo as trophy||2014||Nintendo 3DS / Wii U|
|Ultimate NES Remix||Non-playable character||2014||Nintendo 3DS|
|Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars||Non-playable character||2015||Nintendo 3DS / Wii U|
|Super Mario Odyssey||Non-playable character||2017||Nintendo Switch|
|Super Mario Run||Cameo as statue||2017||iOS / Android|
|Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker||Cameo in a billboard in Uptown, Downtown||2018||Nintendo Switch / Nintendo 3DS|
|WarioWare Gold||Cameo in microgame||2018||Nintendo 3DS|
|Super Smash Bros. Ultimate||Non-playable character and as a spirit||2018||Nintendo Switch|
|Mario Tennis Aces (version 2.3.0)||Playable character||2019||Nintendo Switch|
|Tetris 99||Cameo in the Donkey Kong theme||2019||Nintendo Switch|
|Mario Kart Tour||Playable character||2019||iOS / Android|
|Ring Fit Adventure||Cameo||2020||Nintendo Switch|
|Mario Golf: Super Rush||Playable character||2021||Nintendo Switch|
|Mario Strikers: Battle League (version 1.2.0)||Playable character||2022||Nintendo Switch|
|Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Booster Course Pass, Wave 6)||Playable character||2023||Nintendo Switch|
- "Donkey Kong, those guys are criminals! That was a prison break, not a health class!" - Saturday Supercade episode "The Great Ape Escape"
- "Mario, come back here! Donkey Kong's getting away!" - Saturday Supercade episode "How Much is That Gorilla in the Window?"
- "Oh, uh, nice rhino...good rhino...bye, rhino! DONKEY KONG!" Saturday Supercade episode "Hairy Parent"
- "Oh Mario, my hero!" - Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!
- "I'm sorry, but I really don't have time to chat right now. I need to figure out a way to save my city. Things have been in utter chaos since that brutish monster showed up. And he has the nerve to be advertising this wedding of his all over New Donk City?! A bit tasteless, if you ask me." - Super Mario Odyssey
- "New Donk City really means the world to me... I just can't thank you enough for all of your help, Mario!" - Super Mario Odyssey
- "Go Mario! Jump, man!" - Super Mario Odyssey
- "Just in time!" - Super Mario Odyssey
- "I’ll be sure not to lose this one." - Super Mario Odyssey
- "I'm a 1-UP Girl!" - Mario Kart Tour
- "Not too shabby!" - Mario Kart Tour
- For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Pauline.
| Donkey Kong (Game Boy) - "Help, HELP!" - When Donkey Kong takes Pauline to another level in Super Game Boy mode (Unknown, 1994)||File info|
| Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again! - "Help, HELP!" - When Donkey Kong kidnaps Pauline (Unknown, 2009)||File info|
| Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! - "Please, save me!" - Before a boss level starts (Unknown, 2010)||File info|
| Super Mario Odyssey - "Yeah!" - When Mario talks to Pauline when she is happy (Kate Higgins, 2017)||File info|
| Mario Kart Tour - "I'm a 1UP gal!" - When Pauline wins a race (Kate Higgins, 2019)||File info|
Names in other languages
- Main article: List of Pauline names in other languages
- "Lady" is Nintendo's third female video game character. She was preceded by Manhole's "alarm lady" released months earlier and another damsel-in-distress also called Lady in the 1979 arcade game Sheriff. While the bezel art for the upright cabinets called this brunette Betty, the Japanese flyer, magazine ads, and reviews used Lady instead. Shigeru Miyamoto worked on the art design for both Sheriff and Donkey Kong. In Family BASIC V3, Lady's embrace of Mario in one of the minigames reproduces a cutscene from Sheriff between Betty and the Sheriff. Betty reappears in the Sheriff minigame in WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$!.
- Pauline currently holds the record for the most years between a character's original debut and their first playable appearance in the Super Mario franchise, with nearly 38 years between Donkey Kong and Mario Tennis Aces.
- Donkey Kong Junior back flyer
- Sheff, David. 1993. Game Over, pg 109.
- Shigeru Miyamoto Interview. The Mushroom Kingdom. (Retrieved July 1, 2012)
- The Cutting Room Floor
- Donkey Kong commercial, 1982
- (February 27, 2015). The Official Nintendo Character Manual From 1993. That Eric Alper. Retrieved May 8, 2023.
- Arcade Archives Pinball for Nintendo Switch - Nintendo Official Site
- Pinball Nintendo Switch Online description
- Pinball North American instruction booklet, page 8.
- Arcade Archives: Pinball in-game manual, Bonus Stage (P.05/10)
- "Mario’s glamorous friend." - Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis instruction booklet, page 7 (Pauline description)
- "The Mario Toy Company’s hairiest employee." - Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis instruction booklet, page 7 (Donkey Kong description)
- Hi, I’m Mr. Koizumi, Producer of Super Mario Odyssey. AMA! Reddit.
- 「ニュードンク・シティ」の建物に描かれているグラフィティです。懐かしい人には懐かしい！？街の歴史に関係した絵なんです。」— Super Mario Odyssey (JP), on Twitter
- "You might stumble across some graffiti in New Donk City. This piece has some kind of link to the city's history..." — Super Mario UK, on Twitter
- Luma, Boom Boom, and Pauline reveal for Mario Tennis Aces
- Tweet by @Tracker_TD. Twitter. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
- Get Ready for Mario Kart : App Store Story. Apple. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
- Nintendo (September 13, 2022). Mario Strikers: Battle League 2nd Free Update – Nintendo Direct 9.13.22 – Nintendo Switch. YouTube. Retrieved September 13, 2022.
- @NE_Brian (November 28, 2022). Lots of posters and images for The Super Mario Bros. Movie seemingly leaked. Nintendo Everything. Retrieved November 28, 2022.
- Nintendo - Mario's Cement Factory Video Game Commercial - 1983. YouTube. Retrieved July 23, 2022.
- Donkey Kong cereal commercials
- Jo Belle Yonely at Behind the Voice Actors
- Game & Watch commercial
- Original Cabarga lithograph
- Topps Donkey Kong cards
- Post about the design of Pauline in Super Mario Odyssey from the game's official Japanese Twitter account.
- 任天堂公式ガイドブック ドンキーコング [Official Nintendo Guidebook: Donkey Kong], ISBN 4-09-102485-8
- Hard4Games (August 15, 2020). Nintendo LaserDisc! | Nintendo Power Previews LaserDisc V7 Preservation. YouTube. Retrieved August 25, 2020. Screenshot.
- Nintendo Land internal filename (content/Common/Package/Dkb_Cmn.pack/Common/Model/Dkb_Chalk_Pauline.szs)
- Donkey Kong instruction page
- Computer & Video Games 25, November 1983 issue, page 138
- Game & Watch Donkey Kong print ad (via Joystiq)
- A look at the original NES information packs
- Perfect Ban Great Mario Character Daijiten. Page 24.
- Manhole instructions, page 3
- Sheriff flyer back
- Game Machine December 1, 1979 issue, page 24
- Game Machine November 15, 1979 issue, page 28
- Iwata Asks: Punch Out!!
- Family BASIC gameplay
- Sheriff ending