An hourlong Animated Anthology of shorts, produced by Ruby-Spears for CBS, based on early 1980s video games. As might be expected with the limited amount of plot in the games of that era, the stories diverged wildly from the games out of sheer necessity. The following games were featured:
This series was unusual in that it collected characters from different video game companies. The character most obviously lacking, of course, was Pac-Man, who had premiered the previous year in his own competing show on ABC.
Each game appeared to exist in its own universe, with the exception of the Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior stories, which shared one (though they didn't overlap).
- Adaptation Expansion: Most of the shows/segments.
- Adaptational Heroism:
- In Q*bert (the video game) Sam and Slick are enemy characters, undoing Q*bert's work by changing the blocks back to their original colors. In the cartoon, they're good guys.
- Also for Donkey Kong's title character, at least upgrading him to Anti-Villain status: he had no animosity toward anyone, least of all his owners Mario and Pauline, and was actually quite friendly and playful. He just didn't want to be stuck in a circus.
- Adventure Towns: Frequently used in both Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior.
- Banana Peel / Slippery Skid: With Donkey Kong, of course.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Donkey Kong.
- Boxing Kangaroo: In Season 2, "K.O. Katie" Kangaroo in Kangaroo. In her Kangaroo Pouch Space she can hold lots of things, including her all-powerful boxing gloves. (In one lead-in bumper to Donkey Kong, Katie pulled out Donkey Kong, who himself was wearing boxing gloves, while looking for the gloves.)
- Bratty Half-Pint: Donkey Kong Jr. is basically Scrappy-Doo turned into a powerful monkey.DK Jr.: "Monkey Muscle!"
- Cartoon Physics: Frogger is flattened in every episode, and then reflated, usually with a bicycle pump.
- Canon Immigrant: The new characters from the Pitfall! cartoon were then used in the game's first sequel, Pitfall II: The Lost Caverns, and even showed up in some later games.
- Deep South: The Frogger segments is set in this kind of a swamp. Also, the Donkey Kong cartoon "Mississippi Madness".
- Early Adaptation Weirdness: The Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Junior segments barely resemble either the Mario or DK universe we know today. For example, Mario uses his original Donkey Kong design and is related to Pauline.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys
- Fat, Sweaty Southerner in a White Suit: Colonel Culpepper in the Donkey Kong cartoon "Mississippi Madness", who plots a jewel heist and tries to trick the big ape into helping him.
- The 50s: The Q*bert segments are set in this kind of period in time.
- Hypno Fool: Donkey Kong in "New Wave Ape" becomes this when Harry Tweed uses a banana to hypnotize him to do his bidding. Mario and Pauline un-hypnotize the ape the same way.
- Interspecies Romance:
- Between Donkey Kong and Miss Persimmon in "Gorilla My Dreams", after she loses her glasses. Averted in the end, however, when she ends up falling for the ship's captain.
- DK also has a major crush on Pauline.
- Intrepid Reporter: Frogger's main profession is this.
- Mischief-Making Monkey: The Monkey Biz Gang in the Kangaroo segments.
- Never Smile at a Crocodile: The same three crocodiles harassed Pitfall Harry in every episode; He claimed they followed him everywhere.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: In the Q*bert segments, Julie McWhirter revived her Mae West impression for Coily's girlfriend, Viper.
- Odd Name Out: The Monkey Biz Gang in "Kangaroo" consisted of four monkeys named Bingo, Bango, Bongo, and Fred.
- Once per Episode: In the Donkey Kong segments, the titular character grabs Pauline, and it is up to Mario to save her. However, in some episodes, Pauline is captured by the Big Bad of the episode, meaning that it's up to Donkey Kong to save Pauline.
- Roadrunner Vs Coyote: The Donkey Kong segments.
- So Once Again, the Day Is Saved:Mario: "It's not easy when you're dealing with..."
DK: "DONKEY KOOOOOONG!!"
- Southern Belle: Miss Persimmon, owner of a banana plantation, in the Donkey Kong cartoon "Gorilla My Dreams".
- Those Two Bad Guys: Barnacle and Long John in the Donkey Kong cartoon "Gorilla My Dreams".
- Trademark Favorite Food: Donkey Kong's appetite for bananas made its first appearance here.