Radar Scope is an arcade game by Nintendo released in 1979 in Japan and in the USA on 1980. The game was a success in Japan, but a failure in North America. It was decided to turn these into Donkey Kong.
At the time, Nintendo was an up-and-coming arcade developer that made a handful of games, such as an unusual version of Space Invaders called Space Fever. Radar Scope, as well as another game called Space Firebird, were attempts to go beyond Invaders, and Radar Scope successful for a time. Meanwhile, Nintendo opened up a new branch in the United States called Nintendo of America, and the president of the company ordered a large shipment of Scopes, hoping for a similar result. Unfortunately, there were large delays getting the games made and shipped to New York, missing the window of opportunity. Radar Scope did not do well, and Space Firebird ended up more popular in the States.
Nintendo of America was left with thousands of unused arcade units, but it was such a waste to throw them out; they asked Nintendo HQ to make a new game as a Radar Scope conversion. Hiroshi Yamauchi, the president of Nintendo, initially assigned Shigeru Miyamoto to just remake Radar Scope and add new features. Instead, Miyamoto made an entirely new game that wasn't even a shooter, but a relatively new genre that had hardly been explored. By this point, a game like Donkey Kong was just what people wanted, and it became a huge success.
It should be noted that the soundbite used when the spaceship shoots in Radar Scope was used for Mario or Jumpman's walking in Donkey Kong.