Thursday, January 10, 2008

Plumbers in Space

For your pleasure or possible immediate dismissal: A small bit of name- and Mario-related trivia that I figured warranted a mention, seeing as how this blog seems to exist right at the nexus of “video game dork” and “word nerd.” Only my last ounce of strength has prevents this blog from transforming into a form for fanboy foaming on about Super Smash Bros. Brawl, an upcoming Wii title that I explain to the uninitiated by likening it to Battle of the Network Stars with Nintendo characters and with the nostalgia factor ratcheted up to a power of at least four. Anyway, last night, the game’s development blog revealed that the central character from the Pikmin series will be included in the melee madness. (Not to be confused with that cash cow Pok√©mon, which Nintendo also owns, the description-defying and underappreciated Pikmin has a pint-sized astronaut leading around small, root vegetable-like creatures called Pikmin. They do his bidding. They die for him. Eventually, they help him repair his spaceship to the point at which he leaves, leaving the Pikmin without anyone to guide them around the various carnivores that also populate this terrible, terrible planet.) The below illustration should help.

What should be interesting to the video game-playing etymology nerds to whom this blog caters, however, is the astronaut character’s name: Captain Olimar. Just as Olimar’s design is based on Mario’s — short, portly, stick-outy ears and with a big round nose — so is Olimar’s name. In Japanese, Mario’s name can be spelled in three characters: mah-ri-oh. Read in reversed order, those characters make oh-ri-mah, which gave the guy his name in Japanese, “Orima,” which was then translated into English letters as “Olimar.”

Small things like this I find interesting.

Two other times I was doubly geeky:

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