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Author Topic: Origin of video game character's name  (Read 7529 times)

Bregalad

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Origin of video game character's name
« on: September 30, 2016, 06:24:21 am »
I wonder if there is somewhere a centralized place where we can find where the video game character's name comes form. It's possible some names were simply made up, but many of them are real surnames or family names from various countries. Some names could even have been made up, but happens by coincidence to be an actual surname or family name in some country. Some names might also be common name from various languages.

For example "Seifer" in FF8 is a common German family name. "Tina", the original name of the heroine of FF6, is a common German female given name. "Belmont" is a real family name in France, etc...

I wonder if there is someplace where they checked the origin of names from many video game characters.

RandomHeretic

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Re: Origin of video game character's name
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2016, 07:32:14 am »
Comment removed.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2016, 02:24:23 am by RandomHeretic »

Spooniest

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Re: Origin of video game character's name
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2016, 09:47:06 am »
I just found out that your screen name originates from Tolkien. In the Return of The King, the Ents (a race of tree-people) have a long meeting where they discuss what to do about Sauruman called the Entmoot.

While they are doing this, Merry Brandybuck and Pippin Took are sung a song by an Ent named Bregalad, referred to as "Bregalad's Song."

:D The origins of names and words is a subject that fascinates me no end. I used to read the dictionary while other kids were doing their homework or just screwing around before the end of class.

Mario is an Italian proper name. Its female equivalent is "Maria."

The Ninja Turtles' names are the names of famous renaissance artists, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo de Lodovico Bunarotti, Donatello di Niccolo di Betto Bardi, and Raphael Sanza da Urbino. There was an epic rap battle between them and the Turtles, and it should still be on youtube.

Sonic is just a scientific term that refers to anything that pertains to an active soundwave, I believe. This is because sound travels very fast, though, depending on the temperature, about 768 mph. If Sonic the Hedgehog can break the sound barrier, though, why can I always hear exactly what he's doing, synced up right to his actions, as he makes them, even when he's running at top speed? ;D

Samus Aran's name took a long time to suss out. It would seem that it's Celtic in origin, possibly Irish. If you take the e out of Seamus (SHAY-muss), it becomes the female variant "Samus." I am not sure but it is possible that the "sh" sound is supposed to begin Samus' name, making it "SHAM-muss". That would be kind of clever actually, as a "sham" in english is another word for a con, a quick change, a flimflam. Being deceived, in other words. Samus is a deceptive character, by nature. She doesn't reveal her identity until the end of the first game, and it goes against what some would think, or have read in the manual. As for "Aran," the wikipedia article said it was a piece of the soccer player Pele's birth name that they saw, and clipped off. It also seems to be an island chain off the coast of Ireland, though.

Link seems to have been an artifact left over from the original plotline of LoZ, which sounds freaking insane and awesome, and way too hard to express on an 8-bit system.

Miyamoto, From the wikipedia article on Link:

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"Link’s name comes from the fact that originally, the fragments of the Triforce were supposed to be electronic chips. The game was to be set in both the past and the future and as the main character would travel between both and be the link between them, they called him Link."

That did not end up being the plotline in the final version I don't think?

I can do this all day, I love word and name origins.
I never wanted to work in a pet shop, you know. I wanted to be...a lumberjack.

Bregalad

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Re: Origin of video game character's name
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2016, 10:14:13 am »
Quote
I just found out that your screen name originates from Tolkien.
Indeed. (I didn't remember that much about the character itself, just that I picked up an Ent's name I liked randomly)

As for "Aran," the wikipedia article said it was a piece of the soccer player Pele's birth name that they saw, and clipped off. It also seems to be an island chain off the coast of Ireland, though.
Aran is a small village not very far to where I live, although it's most likely pure coincidence.

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Mario is an Italian proper name.
Obviously, and so is Luigi. However, Wario and Waluigi were most likely made up. :) Yoshi is a genuine japanese surname (or is it a family name ? Or both ? I'm not sure).

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The origins of names and words is a subject that fascinates me no end.
I also am fascinated by this.

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There are a number of sites that some people use for looking up their family trees (genealogy).
Indeed, there is this site for example : http://worldnames.publicprofiler.org (note : use a fake email-adress or you'll be spammed).

However, it only works for family names and not for surnames. Also it does show the modern repartition and not origin, so migration will bias names a lot (as a random example, some Danish names might be more common in Canada than in Denmark due to former migration more than 200 years ago). Finally, it is lacking A LOT of countries, so its incomplete.

In this case it seems that Aran is an existing family name in Catalogna, no idea whether it's what they picked up when developped Metroid or not.

EDIT : There is also forebears which covers family names in most of the countries of the world. But again it is only for family names (I think), and how they got the data is questionnable, and probably very different for different countries across the world. Most of the time phone books are used, which comes with it's pros and cons as a mean to get count of family names per country (and do not necessarly indicate their origin).
« Last Edit: September 30, 2016, 11:01:01 am by Bregalad »

RandomHeretic

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Re: Origin of video game character's name
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2016, 11:04:01 am »
Comment removed.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2016, 02:25:25 am by RandomHeretic »

Idkbutlike2

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Re: Origin of video game character's name
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2016, 11:31:49 am »
Holy smokes!

Giovanni, from Pokémon, is Italian for John -- which surprised me.
Well, yeah. The name John comes from the Hebrew name Yohanan, which became Ioannes in Greek. That eventually led to names like Ivan, John, Juan, Joan, Johan, and Giovanni.

RandomHeretic

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Re: Origin of video game character's name
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2016, 11:40:40 am »
Comment removed.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2016, 02:25:47 am by RandomHeretic »

Bregalad

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Re: Origin of video game character's name
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2016, 12:47:53 pm »
Quote
Well, yeah. The name John comes from the Hebrew name Yohanan, which became Ioannes in Greek. That eventually led to names like Ivan, John, Juan, Joan, Johan, and Giovanni.
Also Jean in French. Both Hans and Johan are in German shorcuts for "Johannes" which is the full gospel's name. It took me awhile to understand that :)

Spooniest

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Re: Origin of video game character's name
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2016, 01:51:05 pm »
I recently found out that Giovanni is Italian for John as well, from an Italian citizen that I'm actually dating now.

I think it's strange too, the other names based on the old Hebrew "Yohanan" didn't take a shape like that, but my girlfriend told me that "J" and "Y" are really not used by Italians much except for loanwords from other languages.
I never wanted to work in a pet shop, you know. I wanted to be...a lumberjack.

FAST6191

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Re: Origin of video game character's name
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2016, 02:09:58 pm »
Sort of related at this point and a person favourite in the "can't unsee" family of things, in this case for storywriting.
If in western countries the character's initials are JC or the surname is shepherd or some variation on that theme then they are either a sweet main character or if they are bad then they are the worst, major betrayers or similar. I am not sure what goes in non christian countries but there are probably similar things there.

Idkbutlike2

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Re: Origin of video game character's name
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2016, 03:42:46 pm »
my girlfriend told me that "J" and "Y" are really not used by Italians much except for loanwords from other languages.
Well, that's a carryover from Latin, where I's were used for a Y sound and U's (or V's actually) were used as a W sound. What, I'm curious about Italian, though, is how they write words if a J, Sh, or Ch sound comes at the end of a syllable, like dodge, batch, or mesh.

BlackDog61

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Re: Origin of video game character's name
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2016, 04:06:14 pm »
Just out of curiosity, was there ever an official explanation for Snake's name in MGS? (It'd be easy to think it's a potentially stealthy animal that strikes to kill precisely, but hey, gotta know if there is an official lore.)

Chronosplit

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Re: Origin of video game character's name
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2016, 04:50:45 pm »
Speaking of localization, most of the Pokemon names are brilliant uses of Woolseyisms.  They're mostly some form of joke or pun in the original Japanese, and that sense was transferred across the ocean mostly intact by making them other jokes.  Mr. Mime however kinda rubbed GF the wrong way because obviously it wasn't meant to go that way what with the species not turning out to be all male.  So there were more notes about original intent on the subject of names after that.

I also remember FFX's Tidus's name meaning being a bit of an intentional turn to something bright after Cloud and Squall.  Zidane is kinda neutral to this, but considering FFIX was originally supposed to be a gaiden game I'm not sure if that was intentional.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2016, 05:23:28 pm by Chronosplit »

RandomHeretic

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Re: Origin of video game character's name
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2016, 05:26:57 pm »
Comment removed.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2016, 02:26:11 am by RandomHeretic »

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Re: Origin of video game character's name
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2016, 05:51:52 pm »
I never wanted to work in a pet shop, you know. I wanted to be...a lumberjack.

Idkbutlike2

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Re: Origin of video game character's name
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2016, 05:54:02 pm »
Just out of curiosity, was there ever an official explanation for Snake's name in MGS? (It'd be easy to think it's a potentially stealthy animal that strikes to kill precisely, but hey, gotta know if there is an official lore.)
He's based on Snake Plissken from the movies Escape from New York and Escape from L.A. As you might guess, Iroquois Plissken is also a nod to the character.

SleepyFist

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Re: Origin of video game character's name
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2016, 06:21:12 pm »
About the Wa bros, from what I can tell it gets inserted into a name when you need to make someone evil or negative I guess?
Mario>Wario, Luigi>Waluigi, Yoshiyama>Waruyama, It's just an interesting thing I started to pick up on.

According to wikipedia its based on mashing warui (bad) with a characters name, so he's literally Bad Mario.
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magictrufflez

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Re: Origin of video game character's name
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2016, 04:02:45 pm »
I know most games that have certain "themes" tend to keep that theme when naming characters (if they do said theme well of course).  The most obvious one I can think of is all the Italian names in FF6 (the canon ones that appear in the ending), but almost every game that does something with Nordic mythology is about the same as well.  SaGa Frontier 2 is eyeballs deep in Germanic themes (hell, all the ost track names are even in German), and I feel like each mainline Suikoden (other than 4 and debatably 1) was mostly unique in the setting themes.

And then there are games that just don't care (I'm looking at you Grandia 1, and some other games too that I'm blanking on).

tryphon

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Re: Origin of video game character's name
« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2016, 10:53:39 am »
Concerning Castlevania and the name Belmont, it is certainly not a French name, because its katakana transcription is "berumondo", whereas in French, the final -t of Belmont is not pronounced and it would certainly be written as "berumon".

I wonder if Belmont isn't rather a bad transcription of "Belmondo", which would rather sound Italian, and which incidently is also the name of one of the most well known worldwide French actor (Jean-Paul Belmondo, of Italian descent), quite popular in Japan, since the character of Space Adventure Cobra was designed upon him...

BlackDog61

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