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How did your favourite Nintendo characters get their names?

The meaning behind Mario, Olimar, Link and more. How many did you know?

From lawyers to French novels and Brazilian footballers, the meaning behind the names of Nintendo's most famous stars is fascinating. Here, our expert fact finder tells you about the origins of the big names such as Mario, Link and Pikachu plus other heroes such as Lucas and Captain Olimar.

So read on and let us know how many of these you knew. Also, we are being promised more - after all, you could fill a whole book on the origins of Pokemon names. Talking of which...


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In Japanese, pikapika is onomatopoeia for something that sparkles or shines. Not too dissimilar from twinkle in English.

The word chuchu is meant to convey the sound of squeaking and is often used in relation to mice. A good example of this would be the popular puzzle game Chu Chu Rocket. So the name Pikachu is a combination of the two that could be translated literally as sparkling squeak which kind of describes everyone's favourite electric mouse Pokemon.

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17 comments so far...
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  1. TheBlazingApple Thursday 20th Sep 2012 at 12:31

    My favorite nintendo character is Skullkid from Majora's Mask, so... does that count to? :P

  2. shy guy 64 Thursday 20th Sep 2012 at 12:46

    knew most of them

  3. Dave-O Thursday 20th Sep 2012 at 13:05

    I always thought Pikachu got it's name from a species of mouse known as a Pika. You can google it.

  4. shadowlugia101 Thursday 20th Sep 2012 at 14:57

    i read somewhere the origins of luigi's name, it goes something like when they were creating mario bros they couldn't think of name for him but then they saw a pizza place near to them called mario and luigis and they drew inspiration from that.

  5. sciqueen Thursday 20th Sep 2012 at 15:04

    So were Kirby vacuum cleaners named after Kirby the character and not the other way round? Lol!

  6. C00LI098 Thursday 20th Sep 2012 at 15:30

    I've always gotten an Irish vibe from Samus' name. I hadn't made the Séamus connection, but "Aran" is the name given to three islands off the west coast of Ireland (the Aran Islands).

  7. mrgameandwatch Thursday 20th Sep 2012 at 16:54

    since olimar is an anagram of mario I always thought louies surname was g louie g get it? :D

  8. majora. Thursday 20th Sep 2012 at 18:27

    My favorite nintendo character is Skullkid from Majora's Mask, so... does that count to? :P

    yea same that moon with its chlidhood crushing face... :shock:

  9. trigo Thursday 20th Sep 2012 at 20:19

    i think the link is very weird it just seems odd.

  10. Broken_Angel Thursday 20th Sep 2012 at 20:27

    "Samus" is a derivation of "Samsara", a term from Indian mythology which refers to the concept of rebirth. There is also a similar word in Celtic and ancient Germanic which is applied to a Grim Reaper-type creature that is seen as a harbinger of death and destruction. Considering Samus Aran's history (a la Metroid: Other M) and the way she his viewed by the Space Pirates (referred to as "The Hunter" in the Prime series), both interpretations have merit...

    ...Just so you know....

    I'll go away now :oops:

  11. Kirby8 Thursday 20th Sep 2012 at 22:01

    Knew all but Lucas.

  12. Rej Friday 21st Sep 2012 at 04:18

    I think your trivia about Kong is wrong, Kong was a popular word used to refer to a large gorilla by the Japanese at that time. If my memory serves me right, it was mentioned during the Nintendo vs. Universal Studios court case (I just read about the case) :lol:

  13. Religion0 Friday 21st Sep 2012 at 08:34

    I thought Link also came from the German word "linke" or "links" meaning left or left-handed.

  14. KoreeluStromboli Friday 21st Sep 2012 at 16:58

    I knew them all baring the ones for Link and Samus. I was aware that Lucas and Claus were named after characters from some other work of fiction but I didn't remember what it was.

  15. Waldy565 Saturday 2nd Mar 2013 at 20:21

    That was a very interesting read, only found out about it cuz of the origins of Luigi etc posted today (2nd Mar, 13)! - knew Kirby and DK, but that's only due to previous ONM's too! haha, thanks, love articles like this, I just love knowledge, especially gaming knowledge! (PEOPLE, CHECK OUT DID YOU KNOW GAMING? GREAT SITE!)

  16. Elwyn games Sunday 3rd Mar 2013 at 08:53

    Wow...Kirby was named after a lawyer. Didn't see THAT coming.

  17. Elwyn games Sunday 3rd Mar 2013 at 08:54

    Wow...Kirby was named after a lawyer. Didn't see THAT coming.

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