In a recent interview, Shigeru Miyamoto was asked to recount some of his favorite stories from the time that he spent working on the original Donkey Kong. The Donkey Kong arcade game was the first game that Miyamoto directed, and it was the first video game that Mario ever appeared in. While talking about his experiences, Miyamoto ended up revealing a ton of previously-unknown information about the game, including an interesting tidbit about the game's audio. According to Miyamoto, characters in the original Donkey Kong were supposed to talk to the player in English. Their lines had been recorded and used in the game for quite some time before they were ultimately removed.
In the game, Pauline had a few, very short lines. When she was taken away by Donkey Kong, she was meant to yell out, "Help, help," and when Mario jumped over or destroyed a barrel, she was supposed to exclaim the word "Nice!" The pronunciation on the voice clips that Nintendo had recorded was terrible, however, so the sounds had to be replaced with a growl and a small tune. During the interview, Miyamoto described this tune as "pi-ro-po-pon-pon," but he was actually referring to this short sound effect.
"The lady stolen away by Donkey Kong was supposed to yell out, 'Help, Help!' And when Mario jumped over a barrel, she was supposed to yell, 'Nice!,' complimenting him. But some people within the company said, 'Doesn't the pronunciation sound a little weird?' So we tested it on a native English speaker, a professor. They said it sounded like she was talking about seaweed: 'Kelp, Kelp!'
"At that point in development, we couldn't fix it. 'Help!' was replaced with Donkey Kong's growl, and 'Nice!' was replaced with the pi-ro-po-pon-pon! sound. It's really good that we went with pi-ro-po-pon-pon!. When you walk past an arcade and hear that sound, it's really catchy. So even though we took out the voices, it still had great results. From this experience, I learned the importance of having good sound effects." — Shigeru Miyamoto
The original interview in which Miyamoto told this story was conducted in Japanese; the translation for the quotation above was provided by Wired, in a long article about the Donkey Kong arcade game. If you're interested in reading the rest of the interview, you can do so here.
What do you guys think? Would you have liked to play the game with the original sound effects? Personally, although I'm glad that the voices were replaced with the now-iconic Donkey Kong tunes, I would love to go back and hear the original clips.