1981: Nintendo creates Donkey Kong, left. The game, designed by Shigeru Miyamoto, features a protagonist who saves his girlfriend from a gorilla. Nintendos American employees name the mustachioed character Mario, after their office landlord. 1984: Major companies, including Mattel, exit the industry after suffering heavy losses. Warner sells Atari after reporting an annual loss of $586 million, largely from the games business.