The Origins of 6 More Popular Game Names

Published: May 1, 2014 9:00 AM /



A few weeks ago, we posted an article about the origins of 7 popular game names. Obviously, there are many more games out there that have an interesting story attached to their game name. Some names come from lore surrounding the game itself, and others have a more odd and seemingly unrelated past.

Here are 6 more game name origins for you to take a look at!

Kingdom Hearts

What Kingdom Hearts looks like
What Kingdom Hearts looks like

If you paid attention while playing through the Kingdom Hearts series you may already have at least a vague idea of what "Kingdom Hearts" refers to. You may find it surprising, but the lore behind the Kingdom Hearts series is quite deep. "Kingdom Hearts" is essentially one of the most powerful entities in the lore. It is referred to as both a place and some kind of thing to harness power from.

Essentially, it is believed to be the source of all things good in the world and is full of immense power, which draws those from the shadow to it that want to exploit it. The power comes in the form of the hearts, and Kingdom Hearts is the ultimate keeper of hearts. Therefore, villains like Ansem and Xenahort are created as they are tempted by Kingdom Hearts' power.


pocket-monsters-pokemon-logoAny who pay attention, or are at least curious about Pokémon, probably already know the origins of its name. Well, "Pokémon" is a contraction of the romanized (translating the Japanese characters into the Latin alphabet) characters for Pocket Monsters, which is "Poketto Monsutā." Contract that to Pokémon, and there you go. Why "Pocket Monsters" then? Well that is relatively self-explanatory as poké balls allow you to put your "monster" into your pocket.

Sleeping Dogs

wei-shen-sleeping-dogsI bet that if most of us thought about it for just a few moments, we could figure out where the name comes from. Well, it comes from the idiom "Let sleeping dogs lie," which means that it is best to leave something alone so as not to cause trouble. So for Wei Shen, the protagonist, the title suggests that either he should not have made certain choices at the beginning of the game, or it could refer to the fact that Wei Shen goes around waking up said Sleeping Dogs.


Pikpik Carrots
Pikpik Carrots

If you paid attention during the first game, or you may have just forgotten, Olimar stumbles across the yet to be named "pikmin" and decides to call them "pikmin" because they reminded him of Pikpik Carrots on his homeworld that he liked to eat. Apparently pikmin and pikpik carrots look similar. So, Olimar took the "pik" and added the "min." Now where did the name for "Pikpik Carrots" come from? Good question. One that I do not have an answer for.

Deus Ex

deus-ex-augmentationWarren Spector, the creator behind the Deus Ex franchise, said long ago (be warned, that link is a look into internet history, scroll down halfway to the interview with Warren Spector) that the name Deus Ex fits the game for two reasons. Before getting to those, I assume you have heard the phrase "Deus Ex Machina." Deus Ex Machina is a literary device used to bring something into the plot that has seemingly no explanation as to why its there. J.R.R. Tolkien used that device a lot with Gandalf, as Gandalf would suddenly have the necessary solution to a problem - the only explanation being that he was a wizard.

Spector says that the name definitely refers to that, as he explains the name refers to, at the time (1998) how "hopelessly lame" many computer game plots were. Meaning, the name itself was a dig at all other games for employing the use of Deus Ex Machina too often.

Second, the name fits with the literal translation of "Deus Ex Machina," which means "god from the machine." As you know, throughout the Deus Ex series, many people try to achieve a god-like, or superhuman, status through the use of nano-bots and augmentation.


I am surprised at how few people know the meaning behind "dota" - at least what the acronym stands for. The acronym stands for "Defense of the Ancients," so it is likely more apt to capitalize DOTA. Now where did that come from? Well, two ancient gods known as Radiant and Dire had been at war for thousands of years. The Primordials (ancient powers within the universe) grew tired of the fighting and trapped the Dire and Radiant together into a rock that came to be known as the Mad Moon. They flung that into space to imprisoned forever.

The Mad Moon's destruction
The Mad Moon's destruction

Eventually, the rock began to orbit a planet. Soon, caused partly by the constant fighting, the moon broke and caused fragments to fall to the planet below. Two pieces, the prisons of the gods (the Ancients), which emitted powerful forces and corrupted the races on the planet and granted blessings, which made them build civilizations around the artifacts. The power of the two artifacts started to conflict, so the two civilizations decided they need to destroy one another. Hence, "Defense of the Ancients." "Heroes" get wind of the conflict and went to choose sides and battle it out against one another.


Are there any game name origins you want us to look into? Please let us know in the comments!

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Andrew Otton
| Editor in Chief

Andrew is the Editor in Chief at TechRaptor. Conned into a love of gaming by Nintendo at a young age, Andrew has been chasing the dragon spawned by Super… More about Andrew