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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?


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In 2011, Shigeru Miyamoto revealed that Kirby was one of many potential names for the character on a list drafted up by Nintendo. He went on to say that it was normal to name cute, fluffy-looking characters such as Kirby with soft sounding names, but the name Kirby was quite guttural.

Miyamoto and other employees felt that having such a contrast between the cute appearance of the character and a harsh sounding name was rather amusing. However a very odd secondary influence came in the form of US lawyer John Kirby.

Between 1982 and 1984, Universal Studios took Nintendo to court due to alleged similarities between King Kong and Donkey Kong. To cut a very long story short, John Kirby was hired and successfully defended Nintendo.

Miyamoto, who had got to know Mr. Kirby during the case, thought of him when he saw Kirby on the aforementioned list of potential names. Thinking that this connection would be funny, combined with his preference for the juxtaposition of the sound of the name and cute appearance of the character, Kirby was chosen.

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