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Category: Final Fantasy XIII

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We’re pleased to welcome as guest blogger the prominent name scholar Cleveland Kent Evans–professor of psychology, author of several name books and a president of the American Name Society.

Fictional characters have inspired baby names for centuries. Samuel Richardson‘s novel popularized “Pamela” in the 1700s. The movie “Splash” gave us the name Madison for girls. TV characters inspired real baby Bretts (from “Maverick”) and Chandlers (from “Friends”).  So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that video games now are a source for baby names.

Of course, game creators must come up with character names first. Mario, one of the most popular game characters, was called “Jumpman” in the original Japanese version of “Donkey Kong.” When Nintendo brought its games to the United States around 1982, Jumpman was going to be called “Mr. Video” in the American version. After Minoru Kawabata, president of Nintendo America, had a heated argument over warehouse rent with landlord Mario Segale, “Mr. Video” became “Mario.” Nintendo executive Shigeru Miyamoto says, “If he had been called ‘Mr. Video,’ he might have disappeared off the face of the earth.”

David Javier, who works for Tribune Inc. in Boston designing the “Asheron’s Call” series, tells me he has to follow cultural guidelines based on the game’s setting when creating names.

“For example, I named a character after my friend Eugene, but the character came from an East Asian race, so in the game he was named Yo-jin.”

A character based on Col. Tanner from the film “Red Dawn” became “Count Tenera” in a game with an Italian setting.

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