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Category: video game names

Sci-Fi Names: Beyond Zorg and Zalga

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Loyal nameberryite Linelei leads us into the arcane world of science fiction names.

As both a science fiction nerd and name nerd, nothing gives me greater pleasure than combining the two. Since I was a little girl, I adored not only the stories but the names within the fantastical plots, and collected them as I read. While there are many science fiction names which have a tendency to be hokey, conjuring up images of green men and relying a little too heavily on the letters Z, Q, and X, there are some fabulous gems to be found in the sci-fi realm.

For example, names like Kayen and Cade, both from the expanded Star Wars universe, would mesh nicely with a classroom full of Aidans and Cashes, while names like Serenity and River, from the sci-fi show, Firefly, resonate with current nature naming trends for girls. So here I present you with boy’s names from science fiction, old and new, well-known and obscure, that may pique your interest. After all, how much fun would it be to explain that your baby was named after a psychic alien who fought to save the galaxy from total annihilation?

Boys:
Mass Effect:
KAIDAN – human soldier, one of the good guys
GARRUS – alien who teams up with the good guys
THANE – alien assassin, but still a good guy!
Firefly:
MALCOLM (MAL) – captain of the ship.
DERRIAL – Shepherd (preacher)
Farscape:
STARK – has the power to help souls pass peacefully into death
BIALAR – turned against the bad guys
TALYN – living, sentient ship
RYGEL – deposed leader of many planets
Chronicles of Riddick:
RIDDICK – Vin Diesel. Need I say more?
The Fifth Element:
KORBENBruce Willis’ character who saves the universe
VITO CORNELIUS – priest who assists Korben
Blade Runner:
DECKARD – main character, a Blade Runner
HOLDEN – another Blade Runner
TYRELL – genius who created the Replicants

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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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