Video Games, Video Names, Part 1

Sep 28th 2010

If you measure in dollars, the video game industry is bigger than music and movies. If you measure by baby names, though, games are still just kid stuff. Yes, a few gamer names like Raiden and Madden have cracked the top 1000, but Hollywood products like Miley blow them out of the water.

The problem hasn't been a lack of appealing names in the games. It's been a lack of women playing them, especially grown women.

The blockbuster first-person shooters and racing mayhem games have traditionally skewed toward an adolescent male audience; hardly the profile of baby-name decision makers. Even the names that do break through feel like compromises. In this age of Aidans, it's easy to picture mom suggesting Brayden and dad countering "Ooh, how about Raiden? Like the thunder god!!" And Madden means shoemaker Steve Madden and musicians Joel and Benji Madden as well as Madden NFL 11.

Slowly but surely, though, the gaming market is broadening. More adults, male and female, play than ever before. We're starting to see the baby naming impact, as gamer names beyond the safe terrain of Raiden and Madden creep up the charts. For a crossover moment, consider that Joel Madden himself named a son Sparrow, like the hero of the game Fable II.

Here's just a small sampling of the dozens of video game names that were given to five or more American babies last year:

Alucard (M): A half-human, half-vampire of the Castlevania series. His name is that of his father Dracula, backwards. (Take that, Nevaeh!)

Arthas
(M): Warcraft's tragic prince, he was doomed to join the undead army and destroy his native kingdom.

Cloud (M): Cloud Strife, the mercenary hero of Final Fantasy VII, has a really, really big sword.

Cortana (F): An artificial intelligence in the Halo series, Cortana takes the form of a scantily clad female hologram.

Kaileena (F): In Prince of Persia series, Kaileena is killed by the Prince, but then travels through time to have sex with him. Or something like that.

Kratos (M): The brutal antihero of the God of War series, named for the ancient Greek daemon of strength.

Roxas (M): One of the "Nobodies" of Kingdom Hearts, meaning he's what's leftover after a person's heart is consumed. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

As you can see from that list, the game-name equation is complicated. It's not just about heroes, but about memorable characters. And as always, the name itself is key. Names that fit parents' comfort zones have a leg up, so we see 14 baby Raidens for every Cloud and 5 Clouds for every Arthas. Meanwhile a fabulous title heroine like Bayonetta goes namesake-less, though that one's probably for the best.

The nature of the game matters, too. In TV and movies, stories about attractive young people with supernatural powers have the biggest baby-naming impact. (Think Twilight, Bewitched, Buffy.)  In games, attractive young people with supernatural powers are almost as commonplace as warriors with biceps the size of Labrador Retrievers. The qualities that make a game name-worthy are...well, more on that later this week, when I'll crown the video game series that's the baby naming champion.

On to Part 2!

 

Comments

1
September 28, 2010 12:23 PM

I wonder if the games need to get older and more established too. People seem to be hesitant to name kids after a name which just has one current pop culture association.

2
September 28, 2010 12:58 PM

Another question for the collective hive brain. So we are currently coming down on the side of Aurelia Diane and Chiron Falco. Anyone have a good tip to tell people when they ask how to pronounce Chiron?

With Trajan, our older son, we tend to just go with rhymes with cajun since this works well in Texas. [the ragin' cajun trojan contagion trajan if I am feeling especially obnoxious.]

With Aurelia, it seems that referencing Marcus Aurelius seems to work well with most folks. Would ore-rail-ya be a fair breakdown of the name? I'm horrible with spelling out pronunciations.

With Chiron all I've come up with is "umm... like the centaur... ky-run... kind of like the start of kite...ummm..." Help!

ETA: {ky'-rahn} looks like the offical way to write it for Chiron. Except now I found one that's more ron like http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Chiron. My ear likes the sound closer to run better than the ron sound, it seems softer. Is this the kind of thing that we can pick the pronunciation we like and go with it as long as we are fine with the other common ones?

3
September 28, 2010 1:02 PM

Wow, interesting topic, I love that you can now look into so many names not in the top 1000! The most surprising to me is Alucard, really? You want to give your kid Dracula backwards? I know that many names associated with horror films do well but usually bad associations aren't IN the name...

Arthas sounds like one of the Three Musketeers to me so it gets that air of having a longer history even if it doesn't. Generally appealing sounds for today's "market" I think.

Cloud, hey if we have Apple and Rain why not? Although how do we know these parents like video games and not just nature?

Cortana and Kaileena definitely have the right sounds I think (Cortiana soon anyone?). Especially with hearing the boy's name Kai alot more not I think Kaileena fits right in.

Kratos and Roxas just sound like warriors through and through to me which I guess appeals to some people!

Can't wait for part 2

4
By APlecturenotes (not verified)
September 28, 2010 1:07 PM

We have friends who used Cortana as a middle name for their daughter last year. They have 2 other children with middle names chosen for SciFi/geek reasons too. The kids middle names - Hal (from 2001, A Space Odyssey), Belanna (from Star Trek, Voyager) and Cortana (from Halo).

5
By lia
September 28, 2010 1:10 PM

Haha, I can think of a couple more mainstream names used in video games- Tidus (hero of Final Fantasy X, who sacrifices his life in the end to save the woman he loves), Yuna (the woman he loves who is on a quest to save the world, knows she must sacrifice her life to do so but continues for the good of mankind)... Other names of characters include Rikku, Lulu, and ...Wakka. Ok, so that's an odd one, but I'd be willing at least to consider the rest of them. Using a name from an RPG would be similar to using a character's name from a book- the character has all the conotations of the storyline, and the name does too.

6
By SM (not verified)
September 28, 2010 1:13 PM

What about Star Wars names (there are several SW video games)? I thought it was just kind of a made up name when I met a 5-year-old Jaina the other day, but was informed of her namesake (Princess Leia and Han Solo's daughter) when I asked about the spelling.

7
By Guest N7 (not verified)
September 28, 2010 1:27 PM

As the epic, well-written Mass Effect trilogy comes to an end in 2011, I predict that "Shepard" will join Cooper, Chandler, and other occupation names, at least as a middle name.

Strong, resourceful, can be either male or female (depending on how the player established their own custom version of Shepard at the beginning), and saves the galaxy. What's not to love?

The series already has a Kaidan and a Miranda (although there, the writers were just observing real-life trends and aiming at good 22nd-century human names), plus pleasing-sounding and more exotic potential gems like Liara, Garrus, or Tali.

8
September 28, 2010 1:29 PM

Namevoyager of Leia makes the idea that a name needs to come around for a second time/be part of the cultural background rather than current to really get considered seem plausible. Looks like a spike in late 70s, one early 80s and then a larger and continuing spike beginning 2005 or so.

9
By Rebecca358 (not verified)
September 28, 2010 1:35 PM

I've been playing video games most of my life (I'm female and in my early twenties). I first came across the name Erika in an early Pokémon game, and have loved the name and spelling ever since and intend to give it to my first daughter.

I've also liked Dahlia since playing Silent Hill. Granted, Dahlia in the game is literally an evil witch, and I've also come across an evil Dahlia in a Phoenix Wright game and a snooty one in the first Professor Layton, plus there's the whole Black Dahlia thing...but it's still a lovely name!

10
September 28, 2010 1:52 PM

Looking for the actual raw Leia data I came across three tables I'd never noticed before on the social security administration website, the top 50 name combinations for g/g, b/g and b/b twins. It's at http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/twins.html.

Interestingly, there are only 518 total sets in the boy/girl top 50, 739 sets for the girl/girl top 50 and 1052 sets for the boy/boy top 50. THis goes along with the general idea of less total names for boys. And does seem like people are less likely to follow "themes" with boy/girl twins maybe?

Emma appears in 17 different combinations, Ava in 11 and Emily in 10! The boys names occurring in the most combinations are Ethan and Jacob each in 8 combos (Sophia is also in 8 combos).

Out of the 4,618 babies who were named as part of one of the three top 50 twin names, Emma is again the winner with 219 babies named Emma as part of one of the popular sets. Jacob is next with 145 followed by: Ava-138, Sophia-130, Ethan-127, Jayden-124, Michael-116, Isabella-115, Joshua-115, Olivia-111, Madison-111 and Emily-102.

Daniel and David might be the most interesting combo to me. It is #3 for b/b twins, but NEITHER name appears in any of the other 99 combinations involving boys.

11
By TrixiesMom (not verified)
September 28, 2010 2:01 PM

Chipper,

I got Aurelia right away, and Trajan later as well.

But Chiron Falco. I tend to like the idea of the classical Greek and Roman names more than the execution of them - they carry a lot of baggage and a lot of explaining. And they are pretentious as hell. I have never heard Chiron spoken aloud or used in any context, though that shows my lack of centaur lore. The hard K is the stumbling block for me, here.

I don't love it, but you do seem thoughtful in your name choices. Any other boy's names on the list?

12
By Guest B (not verified)
September 28, 2010 2:06 PM

I imagine place names and other non-character titles in video games might have more to offer in the way of names, although I can't think of any because my experience stops at Donkey Kong and Zelda..

chipper28 - Those twin lists are pretty cringeworthy for me. The sheer luck at getting to choose two names together (!!) and then blowing it on something like Jayden and Kayden makes me a little sad.

Would it work to say that Chiron is said "like Byron"?

13
September 28, 2010 2:13 PM

The Daniel/David thing got me curious, so I looked into the data more and there are 12 sets (so 24 names) which only appear on these lists in that set.

Brandon & Bryan
Brian & Brianna
Chance & Chase
Daniel & David
Hayden & Hunter
Haylee & Kaylee
Heaven & Nevaeh
Jennifer & Jessica
Makayla & Makenzie
Savannah & Sierra
Taylor & Tyler
Valeria & Vanessa

Seriously, Heaven & Nevaeh?!?!? Haylee & Kaylee also hits me as wow.

I'm surprised how many people want names that start with the same letter since this is one of the things we are trying to avoid.

And can someone explain why it's Valeria & Vanessa instead of Valerie & Vanessa? Is it just the common end sound?

14
September 28, 2010 2:17 PM

TrixiesMom, my husband really loves Chiron. I worked hard to steer away from it with my older son, but in the interim it has really grown on me. I think part of it is that in having a Trajan I recognize that we are going to be spelling/pronouncing any name not in the top 100. Ronan has been thrown out there, but my thought is that since I have worked around to being good with Chiron and I don't have any objection, why should I stand between him and the name he loves?

It seems like the kid could choose to go by Ky, but of course that does open up to the whole K-Y situation which is amplified by having a brother named Trajan (trojan)....

Guest B - I'm trying out that like Byron version this afternoon!!

15
September 28, 2010 2:26 PM

Good catch, Jenny L3igh! (with Kai - Kaileena). It's a perfect 'name of the future.'. I can totally see someone using it in future generations to honor an uncle Kai or (great) grandpa Kai.

I swear, everytime I see a name from now on I'm going to try and finagle it into the opposite gender ;)

16
By hyz nli (not verified)
September 28, 2010 3:11 PM

chipper28, I'd definitely second the suggestion that Chiron is like Byron with a hard C sound. If people buck at CH being pronounced like a K, I'd remind them of chiropractors--especially good since it shares the first 5 letters with Chiron.

For Aurelia, not sure why, but my first inclination is Aw-REEL-ya. If I saw it with your last name, though, I'd be more likely to say Aw-RAIL-ya. Both pronunciations seem "correct" and familiar to me. For Aletheia, I'd definitely say Ah-LEE-thee-uh, and the suggestion of Ah-leh-THEE-uh seems very counterintuitive to me. I agree with the others that, the way I say Aletheia, it sounds like an Alicia from Barcelona. Of the two, I definitely prefer Aurelia. Anthea is my favorite suggestion for you, if only because it's at the very top of my current girls list--if this baby had been a girl, I do think he'd most likely have been Anthea.

As for us, I think we're pretty well set on a name for this guy. Once we heard the MN option of J00n from the Korean relatives, the answer just seemed sort of natural and right, and DH and I are very pleased with it (as noted before, August was pretty much knocked out of the running--I guess we can save it for next time, should there be one). I'm trying to use only l33tspeak for the name now, or just not spell it out at all, given that it seems to be pretty certain at this point. :)

17
By kasey (not verified)
September 28, 2010 3:14 PM

The name Chiron...

It bothers me a bit because of that Kyron boy from Oregon who has gone missing. Those names are so close.

It's like... I *still* can't imagine naming a girl Lacy or Lacey and the Peterson case was years ago...

18
By Melly C (not verified)
September 28, 2010 3:27 PM

Wow thanks for the twins link. I was surprised how many sibling sets/not twins though that used sibling combos from the most common twins list.

- Madison/Mason
-Ethan/Isabella
-Caleb/Joshua
-Caleb/Jacob
-Olivia/William... is the sibling set from the kids Cartoon Olivia.. they also have a brother Ian.

19
September 28, 2010 3:28 PM

On the Valerie vs. Valeria, in addition to the common "a" ending as Vanessa I believe the "a" is more popular - perhaps seen as freshier. I remember a few years back when I first really looked at all the names in the top 100 I was surprised that Valeria was #73. Valerie is number 138.

20
September 28, 2010 3:36 PM

What strikes me as interesting about the twin list isn't the fact that so many twin sets include Jacob and Emily b/c they are such popular names that you believe the parents would have likely used them on a singleton. What I find interesting are the less common names picked to make a twin set. Like Nevaeh is #34 but Heaven is # 275 so I'm betting that had those girls been singletons the parents wouldn't have picked Heaven. So do any of you have favorite names that you would use as a twin set but not if the two children were born separately? I'm sure chipper28 exciting news has made us all wish we had twins to name =)

21
September 28, 2010 3:42 PM

My guess on Valeria / Vanessa is that these names are largely chosen by Hispanic parents, as Valeria is a modestly popular name in Latin America. What's interesting is the second "s" in Vanessa. The Spanish spelling would be Vanesa. Very interesting that parents would choose to Americanize Vanesa to Vanessa, but not Valeria to Valerie. I guess sound trumps spelling.

22
By Edith Bouvier Beale (not verified)
September 28, 2010 3:45 PM

Chiron also has some negative associations for me--the evil character in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus (which I know I've mentioned before) and then, as Kasey noted, Kyron Horman, the little boy whose tragic--and still unsolved--disappearance was all over the news in the past months. If you're a family that cares about the meanings of names (as it seems like you are) I just think it's important to keep in mind that this one has some darker associations. Obviously the classical Chiron is a very positive connection, but names aren't limited to a single, static meaning, and so, if that matters to you, it's important to go into this knowing all possible associations.

I think that you're right--the pronunciation issue isn't that big of a deal with Chiron. It's something that you'd deal with with any unusual name and, given your experience negotiating Trajan, I'm sure you'll do just fine.

As for Aurelia, I think I would assume it's four syllables: au-RAIL-ee-ah. Obviously, I'd change that if I were told otherwise--and it might get smashed to three syllables if I were speaking quickly--but that's just my initial assumption. Aurelia Diane is lovely.

23
By n (not verified)
September 28, 2010 3:49 PM

I'm sorry, but Chiron just makes me think of the Jonathan Coulton song Chiron Beta Prime. Otherwise, I kind of like it, though - I don't think it would be too hard to pronounce.

24
By shfjksdsfdjk (not verified)
September 28, 2010 3:52 PM

I think another factor is that when you play video games you don't necessarily hear the name said aloud. This means that an unusual video game name can't grow on you in quite the same way that Miley being said over and over on TV can start to seem normal.

25
September 28, 2010 4:14 PM

Well first off, chipper28, I agree with PennyX from the last thread. I don't find Falco on my list of favs but it seems to work for you. I also think of the musical group, but that is just showing my age. As far as Chiron, I don't find it difficult to pronounce. It is like chiropractor or the boy in Oregon. But again, it's not my personal choice. Back to the twin thing later..

Laura, fabulous post as usual. It is so interesting to see where some people get their inspirations from but Alucard??!! I really liked your comment! {(M): A half-human, half-vampire of the Castlevania series. His name is that of his father Dracula, backwards. (Take that, Nevaeh!)}

Regarding twins, the rhyming thing and the boy/girl sharing the same name always surprises me. I can't imagine having an Eric/Erica or Haylee/Kaylee etc. I think if I had twins of the same gender I would use two of my favorites
Samantha Nicole/Kimberley Elizabeth
Brian Jeffrey/ Steven Gregory
For one of each though I am not sure. I might first pick from the list above. There are so many names I love it would be tough. I like the sharing of initials or some hidden meaning also. Something not blatantly obvious.

26
September 28, 2010 4:16 PM

When I was growing up, there was a nun named Sister Aletheia teaching at the localCatholic high school. FWIW the name was pronounced Ah/Uh-LEE-thee-uh. That was her name in religion, not her baptismal name, as was customary in those days.

27
September 28, 2010 4:18 PM

Almost forgot, hyz, wondering if OJ is a problem for you? Just thought of it. Maybe you don't have that issue though.

28
By hyz nli (not verified)
September 28, 2010 4:50 PM

zoerhenne, I've considered that, but decided not to worry about it. We don't use initials as NNs--honestly, I don't care for that NNing style at all (and I have one relative who actually goes by BJ!). So, I think the initials that would come up the most are the first and last (OS) or all three (OJS), like for signing documents, or monograms, or whatnot, and those seem fine to me. Plus, OJ is still primarily orange juice to me, despite the big OJ debacle of the 90s, so the associations aren't all bad!

29
By Max (not verified)
September 28, 2010 4:52 PM

I think that there are probably two classes of video game names-- the distinctive and kooky names (ala Cloud, Kratos, Peach, Cortana) and the more run of the mill choices. I finished the RPG "Tales of Vesperia" recently, and the game uses a lot of 'old lady names' on rather appealing and plucky young people-- headstrong mage Rita, woman-of-mystery Judith, a big-hearted boy named Karol, and the ingenue's name is Estelle!

Yet I really doubt that if I named my daughter Judith anyone would ask if I named her after Tales of Vesperia. Much in the way a kid named Max would be unlikely to be asked if he were named after "A Beautiful Mind".

Still, I'm willing to bet that these 'common' names in video games probably influence a lot more people than we might realize. Heck, I'm considering the name Edmund as a middle name-- in no small part to Edmund Honda, the sumo wrestler in Street Fighter. I wouldn't say that I was _naming_ the kid after a fictional sumo wrestler-- just that the presence of the character helps me recontextualize the name.

30
September 28, 2010 5:44 PM

*reposted from last thread*

@ chipper28 - While I actually prefer Ronan Miles to Chiron Falco (although like both) I think Chiron Falco fits your needs and style better :) I also think it's fine to pick a middle name purely for flow and Falco does work well.

Re the golden meaning of Aurelia. I don't think it matters. I'm considering Xanthe which means fair haired (or something similar) and I won't necessarily have a blond child. Besides golden can refer to thinks other than hair colour.

I also like Aurelia Diane. Diane is my mother's name so I'm quite fond of it and am considering it for a middle name myself.

@ PennyX - Well at least I have your style down!
I actually am similar in that I try to really like Evelyn and Sylvia/Sylvie I just can't love them. They are OK but not something I adore.

I pronounce Sabine the German way za-bee-na but I also like it the French way sa-been. I do think it works beautifully with your last name if you want it for a first name.

Elinor/Eleanor is one of those names that gets discussed a lot but doesn't seem to actually get used all that much. I have come across a couple of Eleanors but as you say Abigail/Abbie, Isabell(a) and Olivia are far far more common.

I also have the Clarabelle the cow association but that doesn't make me love Clara any less! I really don't think it matters once the baby is named. It's such a sweet name.

Other thoughts I had for you:
Simone
Elodie
Delphine
or maybe Camille (I know you like this as a middle but it works well as a first name too).

31
September 28, 2010 6:05 PM

I must say some of those video name characters are fun! But, I'm not sure I could actually use many of them. I do like cloud though, although see it more on a girl. I have the same fondness for it as I do for Clover.

@hyz - Congrats on deciding on the name! I thought you'd go with that combo and it works well with Ivy.

Re twin names - I'm constantly surprised at how awfully people name twins. I'm not a fan of matchy matchy names at all. Even less so for twins. If you wouldn't even consider the name on a singleton then I don't see why it should be on the list for a twin. Of course I like a lot of names that start with both A and C so I may adjust my preferences slightly to avoid matchiness.

Off the top of my head for girl/girl I'd go with:
Cordelia and Astrid

B/B:
August and Soren

B/G (ooh this is harder, but today's pick):
Cordelia and August

32
September 28, 2010 7:05 PM

Congrats Hyz on settling on a name! It's a nice match -- both start with vowels, both have "v's" in them. The nicknames Ollie and Ivy are very cute together too. Good choice!

Stop reading if you don't want to hear anything negative about the name. (I know once you've decided, sometimes you just don't want to hear anything else, especially when you're very pregnant!)
-
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In the musical "Oliver!", the title song involves the villans saying nasty things about Oliver, including the line "He will curse the day somebody named him Oliver." Really, only musical theatre nerds like myself will know this, but you may want skip bringing the kids to this musical when the Children's Theatre Company comes to town! Amazon has an excerpt of the CD if you're not familiar with it. Good luck with everything!!

33
By Essy (not verified)
September 28, 2010 7:09 PM

I love this topic! I can't wait for Part II! I used to love the name Ryu from Street Fighter as a kid. I tend to combine video games and anime into one lump too - I know it's probably completely unrelated and uncorrelated but I realized when I was reading the Name Candy the other day and there was a topic on the name 'Ray' for a girl - Sailor Mars is named Rei =)!

for a while I thought Henry and Daisy would be the cutest sibling set/ boy/girl twin set until I realized they were the two names in bicycle built for two =( although that probably wouldn't stop me.

34
By LQ (not verified)
September 28, 2010 7:19 PM

Alucard may well come from Hellsing, the massively popular anime and manga, not Castlevania--in recent years it's been stunningly popular with teens and young adults (far more so than Castlevania). Or it could be a convergence of the two.

I know a kid named Ganon (as in Legend of Zelda). You can make a case for it being a real name...a long, long time ago.

35
By Fiammetta (not verified)
September 28, 2010 7:31 PM

A comment regarding the name Roxas: In the game, "nobodies"' names are anagrams of the names of the person they are nobodies of, with an x added. For example, the character Axel is the "nobody" of someone named "Lea" (pronounced like "Lee", I think). Roxas is the nobody of the main character, Sora (not spoiler marking that. I know it and I don't even play the games, so it must not be that much of a secret to those who do). Sora is a great name, too. It means "Sky" in Japanese, and although the Sora in the game is male, it has also been used as a female name, like the main character in the anime Kaleido Star (about a girl who wants to perform with the Cirque du Soleil-like Kaleido Stage.)

@ pronouncing "Chiron": X-ron (X being the greek letter Chi, pronounced like the "chi" in "Chiron", and "ron" being, "as in short for Ronald"). It also may become more common seeing as the mythological centaur with that name was a character in the recently popular Percy Jackson series of novels.

36
By Bobbin (not verified)
September 28, 2010 7:44 PM

Game names - Given the popularity of World of Warcraft (over 20 million players world wide) it would be surprising if parents didn't start naming their kids after characters. The issue is that there are not many "named" characters - you get to name your own character in often weird and unpronounceable ways. But that has not stopped some parents I know (and yes I am a WoW gamer and female and in my 40's) naming their kids after their in game character. But these are one off names and are very very unlikely to ever hit popular name lists.

Chimu - Sabine - my maiden name - and it has always for us been pronounced 'Sab' as in Cab and 'ine' as in wine

37
By Bobbin (not verified)
September 28, 2010 7:44 PM

Game names - Given the popularity of World of Warcraft (over 20 million players world wide) it would be surprising if parents didn't start naming their kids after characters. The issue is that there are not many "named" characters - you get to name your own character in often weird and unpronounceable ways. But that has not stopped some parents I know (and yes I am a WoW gamer and female and in my 40's) naming their kids after their in game character. But these are one off names and are very very unlikely to ever hit popular name lists.

Chimu - Sabine - my maiden name - and it has always for us been pronounced 'Sab' as in Cab and 'ine' as in wine

38
By Clay (not verified)
September 28, 2010 8:12 PM

I love that you're writing about video game names, but I'm not sure what I think of the central conceit that video game names are names that are CRAZY. Lots of people are named for book characters, but we wouldn't start an honest list of book-influenced names with Ishmael, Sherlock, and Zaphod.

Honestly, much in the way that people are unlikely to name a person Sherlock, I think it's pretty self-explanatory that not many folks have named their son 'Cloud'. If I met a kid named Cloud, my first thought would be "you named your kid after Cloud Strife?!?" It's like meeting a kid named Einstein. The association is too strong!

I think video game names are probably most potent, not at the extremes, but in the middle. Following up on the Edmond post earlier, consider the names from Street Fighter series.

Starting at the shallow end of the pool, you've got names like:

Ken
Rose
Charlie
Karin
Cody
Elena
Seth
Dan

Work our way up to things like:

Rufus
Edmond
Cammy
Ingrid
Remy
Hugo
Dudley
Abel

And finish in the land of make believe:

Dhalsim
Ryu
Hakan
Crimson
Guile
Sagat
Juri
Thunder
Urien
Balrog
and Sodom!

I suspect that it's only the last list that would be considered as source material for video game characters. But I'm willing to bet that many of the names on the other lists have been discussed by prospective parents. Video game names work much like TV names or Soap Opera names, or whatever else. It's not the incredibly iconic character that you're going to name your child for-- it's the interesting name that you ran across while playing. Just like the interesting name you noticed while reading a book, or watching TV.

39
By Amy3
September 28, 2010 8:42 PM

@Tirzah, your comment about the song in Oliver made me laugh only because last year my daughter's glee club sang that particular song from the musical when our city council member, named Oliver, visited her school. Even though I get why the teacher selected the song, it's not particularly flattering!

40
September 28, 2010 9:14 PM

Amy3, that is hilarious! ("There's a dark thin winding staircase without any banister, where we'll throw him down and feed him on cockroaches served in a canister!") She would have been better off picking "Hello Dolly" and changing it to "Hello Ollie." Much more complementary! ("You're looking swell, Ollie, I can tell, Ollie. You're still glowing, you're still crowing, you're still going strong!")

41
September 28, 2010 9:19 PM

hyz-I'm glad that you are good with it all. Congrats and best wishes for the last few weeks.

Clay-Excellent points!
chipper28-There's a twinset for you Cloud and Thunder! Entirely NOT named for the nature aspect of them LOL!

PennyX-Totally off topic, but I'm still intrigued by finding you the perfect name. So what are your thoughts on:
Matilda
Nadine
Margot
Wilma (too Flintstone?)
Cora instead of Nora?
Vera
Winifred
Edith
Esme

42
By True (not verified)
September 28, 2010 10:49 PM

One thing of the things I love about my daughter's name Sonja is how versatile it is:

Mortal Kombat Character: Sonya (Blade)
Underworld Vampire: Sonja
Conan the Barbarian Character: (Red) Sonja
Queen of Norway: Sonja
Supreme Court Justice: Sonia (Sotomayor)

That's diverse! Does anyone else have a "diverse" name like this?

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By Jane 6 (not verified)
September 28, 2010 10:50 PM

Speaking of twins, people always seem disappointed that our twin names (James and Patrick) don't match. I can sort of understand this. The whole fun of baby twins is dressing them alike (or in coordinating outfits), and having matching names seems like the verbal equivalent. I like to dress out twins alike, but I'll phase that out as they get out of their toddler years. You can't phase out the matchiness of two names. Although, I suppose that once they grow up, they won't appear anywhere as a set and so the matchiness of the names IS sort of phased out. But then it's all the more important that each name can stand on it's own.

44
September 28, 2010 11:00 PM

I ended up using Fredericka Xanthe Therwood-Smillasweet (thanks zoerhenne!!!) for the pseudonym.

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By Sarah Rose (not verified)
September 28, 2010 11:10 PM

I do enjoy video games, but I'm a Nintendo girl. So that means if I was using the games I play as inspiration I'd be choosing from things like Mario, Luigi, Peach, Bowser, Yoshi, and Kirby. Of course most of those names could be easily influenced by other things too.

46
September 28, 2010 11:29 PM

A Rose-Yea! Love it. I hope everyone else got my play on words as it appears you did.
A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet...
Bethany O Therwood-Smillasweet

Glad I could help!

47
September 28, 2010 11:55 PM

@ chipper28: I say Aurelia like Oh-ree-lee-uh (Au-ree-lee-ah ?), do you use three or four syllables? I like the four syllable version better (same with the longer versions of Violet, William, Amelia, etc.) I associate Chiron only with the centaur and that's becoming more prevalent because of the 'Percy Jackson' books and movie. Falco just makes me think of falcon or a friend's ln (de F@lc0)

Re. Twins: I knew twins Zoe and Chloe in elementary school (the only way I could tell them apart was that one wore blue and the other pink, but the same clothes, just different colors.) I think matchy sibsets (esp. twins) are cute--in a book, but not in real life. Same first, middle, or both initials isn't that bad, but rhyming is (IMHO) too much. I've known non-matchy twin sets that still seem to go together really well though (I@n and Erik) and ones that just seem like two names and the combining of them didn't make that much of a difference to the parents (Dani3l and L3o, M@rkus and C@rolyne).

Great post! I know absolutely nothing about video games and therefore can't add much to the conversation. I can say that Cloud only makes me think of those white fluffy things in the sky and I enjoy Alucard's story.

48
September 29, 2010 12:16 AM

So... does anyone want to venture a guess as to the video game Laura mentions that has inspired the most names? I don't know how many of us know enough about video games to do it, but "series" should be a clue...

hyz: Have you heard of the book Faith, Hope, and Ivy June? It's a picture book and I don't know anything else about it, but your two kids' names together made me think of it.

re: Ganon: I actually know (of) a Gannon that predates Legend of Zelda.

I love hearing the defense of video game names too.

re: James and Patrick: I think they match in their own way. They're just not matchy. I can't really say how they match, but I know another family with a James and a Patrick. I guess it is like an Irish thing?

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By Guesty (not verified)
September 29, 2010 1:15 AM

Chiron should be pronounced like the pharmaceutical company that was bought by Novartis.

50
September 29, 2010 2:44 AM

Fun post -- I am looking forward to the crowning of the champion! It's interesting to me that the female names on that list are ones that if I hadn't been told, I would have assumed were namesmooshes (Courtney-Ana, Kaylin-Lena)... whereas most of those male names are ones that I would have picked as fantasy hero names - except for Cloud.

My immediate explanation for pronunciation of Chiron would be "Chi like the Chi-square test!" but I suspect that won't be very helpful in many (most?) contexts... but maybe would pick up a different obscure academic crowd than the "Chiron like the centaur!" :) I think the Chiropracter and Byron suggestions made previously are both brilliant and much more helpful! Like you with Trajan, with my son it really helps to have a pronunciation "Like X but with this change" to point out to new acquaintances... and those are really catching examples that would be memorable so you wouldn't have to do it more than once.

I love Chiron. Falco isn't quite my personal cup of tea but I think it works well for you and has good reasons behind it. I personally might consider other names to find something that meets your criteria but also is a bit less unusual, like Alexander, so that Chiron can use a more standard name if he ever feels the need.

I really like Aurelia - one just married into my extended family, and I thought it was such a striking name when I first met her. I don't think it needs to be only for blondes, although the "golden" meaning is more transparent than most since the root is still in common use (e.g. Au is gold on the periodic table). I do much prefer the German pronunciation that my now-relative uses, as the English r somewhat heightens similarity to anatomical features (areola) and I like it much better with the first syllable as a distinct "au" (like "Ow, biting hurts!") and not an "or". With your last name you'd probably get a snappy Spanish pronunciation much of the time, which I think is a plus. :)

I also love Aletheia - I don't think you can really go wrong with either of these choices. Oh, and I think Diane is a great middle name choice! Pax is nice, too, though I think it currently reads very very "boy" thanks to Pax Jolie-Pitt... which isn't really a big problem given the name's relative obscurity and the fact that it's a middle name in discussion. To get the same meaning in a more girly package, have you thought about Irene? I love it pronounced I-ree-nee, and I think in the middle slot you could get away with whatever pronunciation you want. :)