Americans love playing video games. According to the “2022 Essential Facts about the Video Gaming Industry” published by the Entertainment Software Association, 66% of Americans – more than 215 million people – are regular gamers. The average age is 33, and players are fairly equally split between men (52%) and women (48%).
Given the average age of gamers (probably married and starting a family) and the fact that both sexes participate, it shouldn’t be surprising that players sometimes choose baby names in honor of characters in their favorite games. (Other forms of entertainment inspire naming, too. These, for instance, are the most popular names inspired by popular music.)
To compile a list of the most popular names in the U.S. inspired by video games, 24/7 Tempo reviewed a report published by Confused.com, an insurance comparison company that sometimes analyzes data around various lifestyle and entertainment topics. The number of babies born with each name in 2021 and 2011 was sourced using the Social Security Administration’s baby names data for those years.
Some of the names aren’t as unusual as you might think, and in fact might not actually be inspired by games at all. For example, Nate may be a character in “Uncharted,”but Nate – often short for Nathan – is a common male name anyway. And while the longevity and continuing popularity of the Super Mario games may have encouraged some parents to name their offspring Mario or Luigi, those are also names frequently given in Italian or Italian-American households independent of gaming. (Super Mario variations count among the best-selling Nintendo games of all time.)
Zelda, on the other hand, may be a classic female sobriquet from earlier times, but its current popularity quite possibly has to do with “The Legend of Zelda.” The same is true of re-spellings of otherwise popular names like “Alyx” and “Jak” – from “Half-Life 2” and “Jak and Daxter,” respectively.
The most popular name, however, was Sora. In 2011, more than 8,000 boys were tagged with the name from “Kingdom of Hearts.”
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