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Pauline is Mario's first love interest, and a seminal damsel in distress for video games. She first appeared in Donkey Kong, where she was kidnapped by the titular character and hauled to the top of a rickety urban scaffold. As Mario, the player had to climb to the top of each of the four stages in order to rescue her.
In more recent years, Pauline has appeared in the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series, in which the love-struck Donkey Kong continues to kidnap her. Rather than rescue her himself, Mario uses a collection of Mini-Mario wind-up toys in order to foil Donkey Kong and come to Pauline's rescue.
Just as Mario was originally named Jumpman, Pauline was originally known as "Lady." Nintendo of America reportedly named her Pauline after the then-wife of an NOA employee.