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The Etymology of 21 Nintendo Character Names

By | source:Here Oct 15th, 2022

The name “Mario” is an Italian surname. It was originally meant to be used as a placeholder for the real name of the character, but became so popular that it stuck. Nintendo is known for their imaginative characters, from the heroic Mario to the evil villain Bowser. But did you know that many of their character names have roots in real life? At first glance, it might seem like Nintendo just chose random words to name their characters. However, they actually took inspiration from real people or animals when naming them. Here are some examples:


Mario’s name was inspired by Mario Segale, who owned a warehouse where Nintendo stored their arcade games in North America in 1981.


The name “Luigi” is a pun on an Italian word that means “evil.” The plumber brothers’ names are both based on this pun, with Luigi being named after the game’s protagonist, Mario. The story goes that the creator of Super Mario Bros., Shigeru Miyamoto, drew inspiration for his most famous characters from real life people he knew. The character of Luigi was named after Mario’s landlord in New York City—his actual first name was Louigi (the “L” was changed to an “I” because of Nintendo’s censorship policies). Louigi had always admired Mario’s bravado and tried to imitate him wherever possible; he even went so far as to carry around a large wrench with him wherever he went just like Mario did with his hammer!

Donkey Kong

The original Donkey Kong game, released in 1981, was called “Jumpman.” It featured a character who looked like this. Jump and jump some more! The name was changed to “Donkey Kong” because the original creators felt it would be easier for people to pronounce that term than “Jumpman.”

You might have assumed that Nintendo is all about creativity, but you’d be wrong. In fact, they’re actually quite the opposite. The names of many Nintendo characters are far from creative and can be described as “obvious.” Take Mario for example: it’s an obvious name for a video game character because we know what kind of games Mario plays (i.e., platformers). The same goes for Kirby who has a pink color scheme, so it makes sense that his name is Kirby.

There are other characters in the world of Nintendo who have names that aren’t so obvious—a lot more than you’d think at first glance! Some examples include Yoshi who rides on Yoshi’s backs and Donkey Kong who’s named after the city in China where he was born (Hong Kong). This next one may not seem like it at first glance either until I tell you he’s from Norway: Waluigi!

In conclusion, it’s pretty clear that most of the Nintendo character names aren’t as creative as we would have thought. And to be honest, that’s okay! It doesn’t mean we should stop playing video games or anything like that, but it does make us all look a little less silly when we go around saying things like “There is no way on Earth they are going to name another Mario game Super Mario Bros. 2! THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE!!!”