Here are some characters with interesting name origins. Some of these may surprise you. Enjoy!
1. Mario (Super Mario Bros.)
When the Nintendo classic Donkey Kong was released in 1981, the main protagonist was originally called “Jumpman.” Sometime during the game’s localization in the U.S., Nintendo had gotten behind in rent payment which prompted the warehouse’s landlord Mario Segale to confront Nintendo of America’s then-President Minoru Arakawa about the situation. After a heated exchange, the name “Jumpman” was later changed to Mario.
2. Wario (Wario Land, WarioWare)
Wario is better known as one of the Mario Bros.’ many rivals. Wario was created as an exaggerated version of Mario (stronger, wider, and more vulgar) and has made appearances in others games like Kirby Super Star Ultra and Pilotwings 64. Wario’s name is derived from “Mario” and the Japanese adjective “warui,” meaning “bad.”
3. Donkey Kong (Donkey Kong Country)
While we’re at it, let’s include Mario’s first ever rival. Shigeru Miyamoto wanted to give the big lovable ape the name “Donkey Kong” because he believed “donkey” meant “stupid” in English. After suggesting the name to Nintendo of America, they laughed at him; however, the name stuck in people’s minds and it was eventually given to the gorilla.
4. Ridley (Metroid)
A villain staple in the series, Ridley is a an intelligent and deadly force to be reckoned with. Metroid is known for drawing a lot of inspiration from the ‘Alien’ films. That inspiration even includes the name of the first film’s director, Ridley Scott. In addition, Ridley’s body somewhat resembles that of a Xenomorph’s.
5. Kirby (Kirby)
Kirby’s name came from American lawyer John Kirby, who defended Nintendo in the case Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Nintendo Co., Ltd. (1984). Universal Studios alleged that the game Donkey Kong was a trademark infringement of King Kong. Universal claimed the plot and characters as their own, but Nintendo argued that King Kong was public domain and therefore, they did nothing wrong. Nintendo won the case and was so grateful to John Kirby for representing them that they decided to name the pink puffball after him. It is even rumored that a Kirby game was sent to him after production was finished.