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The Origins of Video Game Names

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the a-plumber-by-any-other-name dept.

Games 121

Blogger Drew Mackie has posted a lengthy analysis of the etymology of dozens of names from popular video game characters. It examines the real-life and mythological roots of names from Final Fantasy, Zelda, Mario Bros., Street Fighter, and many other prominent franchises, complete with citations where appropriate. Quoting: "It's speculated that Street Fighter's Russian wrestler Zangief takes his name from a real-life Russian wrestler, Victor Zangiev. More interesting to me is that the working name for this character was Vodka Gobalsky. This is notable for two reasons — for one, that this name is amazing [and] deserves to enter into the public consciousness and, for another, that it bears a striking resemblance to the name of a Russian boxer in Nintendo's Punch-Out!! series, Vodka Drunkenski. I'm sure this says something about Japanese perception of Russian people. The latter Vodka, by the way, goes by the name Soda Popinski in US translations of the game, presumably because Nintendo of America didn't allow references to booze."

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Anonymous Coward (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28402111)

Fear my mighty first post!

gnaa fp (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28402139)

8==C=O=C=K=S=L=A=P==D~~ [www.gnaa.us] this fp for the gnaa, muthafuckers

Re:gnaa fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28402207)

* 2 X scale.

NIntendo is a copycat (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28402175)

I speculate that Nintendo was named after Chintendo, a well known Chinese manufacturer.

Why is this Games and not Idle? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28402191)

The blogger writes in the style of the Onion or Cracked. Clearly this is not to be taken seriously.

Re:Why is this Games and not Idle? (3, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402247)

Which is a shame considering the seriousness of the topic.

Re:Why is this Games and not Idle? (2, Insightful)

Goaway (82658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403725)

What does that even mean? They are all less formal than a scientific paper, but there is pretty much zero resemblance otherwise.

Perception (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28402227)

this says something about Japanese perception of Russian people

I think it says that they're much in line with the rest of the world on that one.

Re:Perception (1)

rarel (697734) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402879)

Yeah, as immortalized in Deus Ex.

"I spil my trink!"

;)

Re:Perception (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403271)

Now I know what I missed in GTA IV's story-line.

Sure, I was shocked, and laughed my ass off, at the same time, when...
I came out of a bar, and thought what was being drunk, would be one of the many (many) bugs of the game,
and because of that tried to press some button to get it going again, fell on the ground, accidentally pressed the shoot button,
and shot my girlfriend in the head. She was dead on the place.

Needless to say, that I am very happy that this wasn't real life, and that virtual worlds exist. :D

Re:Perception (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28403437)

Now I know what I missed in GTA IV's story-line.

Sure, I was shocked, and laughed my ass off, at the same time, when...
I came out of a bar, and thought what was being drunk, would be one of the many (many) bugs of the game,
and because of that tried to press some button to get it going again, fell on the ground, accidentally pressed the shoot button,
and shot my girlfriend in the head. She was dead on the place.

Needless to say, that I am very happy that this wasn't real life, and that virtual worlds exist. :D

At least you had a girlfriend, dude.

Re:Perception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28404661)

Had?

Re:Perception (1)

Captain Spam (66120) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403669)

Strange, then, how in Team Fortress 2, the Heavy (Russian accent) isn't portrayed in the vodka-loving stereotype of other games. Granted, he IS portrayed as a large, slow, violent person homicidally protective of his minigun, but not so much on the vodka.

Of course, the Demoman (Scotsman) IS portrayed as quite the drinking man, so I guess Valve's not entirely innocent. Funny as hell, though. :-)

Re:Perception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28403377)

I keep an open mind about national stereotypes, but I've not yet met a Russian who refuted that stereotype by failing to drink me under the table.

Re:Perception (2, Funny)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403495)

Sorry, I can't drink with you. I need to walk my dancing bear through the Red Square.

Re:Perception (1)

pommiekiwifruit (570416) | more than 5 years ago | (#28406117)

Yes, for some reason all Russians think that all foreign people think that they (Russians) all have bears. Who knows why?

wow (-1, Flamebait)

drDugan (219551) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402235)

Is it just me, or do some people have a whole lot of time on their hands?

professional gaming?
twittering?
blogging?
arguing over who gets to love whom?
discussing how the US president swats a fly?

Now, discussing the name origins of characters that appear in video games??!?

Don't we have a some real problems to address, like, oh, we're going to run out of easily available water and energy, and the environment is going to change so much that about a billion people will lose their home over the next 15 years?

I don't get it.

Re:wow (1)

dtml-try MyNick (453562) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402279)

The only ones that have way to much time on their hands are the people who read and then go discuss these non-trivial items.

Re:wow (1)

SchizoStatic (1413201) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402285)

Not to mention commenting on a story about the origins of video games or my commenting on your commenting about a story on the origins of video games.

Re:wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28402329)

is Interesting Considering the fact u took the time to talk about how the other people have lots of freetime to spend and decide not to use it saving the world and stuff.

thats my two cents.

Re:wow (2, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402331)

You're posting on slashdot.

Re:wow (2, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402361)

professional gaming

twittering

blogging

arguing over who gets to love whom

discussing how the US president swats a fly

That reads a lot like the "extracurricular activities" section of resumes of recent college grads that pass over my desk at work these days.

Re:wow (1)

ZosX (517789) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402365)

that's what I just thought. I read through the nintendo characters and just couldn't take it anymore. I want those ten minutes back. Badly.

Re:wow (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402523)

Don't we have some potentially more far reaching problems to address, like, oh, we might be going to run out of easily available water and energy, and the environment might change so much that about a billion people could lose their home over the next 15 years?

There, fixed that for you.

We might just as well discuss another 'real' problem like the chances of John Candy crashing into earth while riding a comet with Colonel Sanders' silhouette.

See, it's not that I don't believe there to be serious repercussions from the way we treat our planet, I'd just like for people like you to stop parroting all this FUD.

Re:wow (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402671)

People write, read, and pick apart literature as well. Movies too. I guess it's called "entertainment", but it also gives us insight into the human mind, so that's interesting as well.

Re:wow (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402819)

In the time it took you to type that up, you could have worked on providing clean drinking water to 3rd world countries.

Re:wow (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402931)

Don't we have a some real problems to address, like, oh, we're going to run out of easily available water and energy, and the environment is going to change so much that about a billion people will lose their home over the next 15 years?

Please hand in your geek card immediately.

See, this is what serious geeks do. They think about stuff. Lots of stuff, and they think about it a lot. Some of it is trivial, some of it is important, and a surprising amount of it appears to be trivial and turns out the be very important later. They don't decide whether they'll think about something based on its importance; they decide based on whether it's interesting to them at the moment.

The exact same people who worry about things like the etymology of the names of video game characters are the people who come up with solutions to serious environmental, economic, and technical problems. And the people who whine, "Why are you wasting your time on X when Y is so much more important?!?" ... are the people who will never put enough serious, obsessive thought into anything to make any serious, long-lasting impact of any kind.

The working title for Duke Nukem Forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28402343)

Was Mobius Escher.

How about Halloween Harry from Apogee fame? (0)

NRAdude (166969) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403927)

Halloween Harry has a jetpack, so does Duke Nukem. Harry prefers a flamethrower. Most would say Nukem prefers either the Glock or Ripper Chaingun though. [imfdb.org] I've always wondered why nothing ever features the Russian Sega shotgun and slugs (great international anti-piracy tool).

Oddly enough... (3, Insightful)

minvaren (854254) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402353)

...they left out the origin of the "Jack" character in Jack Attack [powweb.com] .

(I appear to be showing my age here... Hold on, there's some pesky kids out front...)

Re:Oddly enough... (1)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402995)

He as the founder of Commodore.
That's common knowledge and doesn't need to be mentioned.

Re:Oddly enough... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403319)

So this is where the term "Jacking off" comes from? I mean the C64's joystick, and...

Dhalsim (4, Informative)

vivin (671928) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403295)

The article says that Dhalsim comes from Kerala (a state that's a narrow strip in the southwestern corner of the Indian peninsula), and that his name is a Malayalam word. That's strange, because I'm Malayalee and I'm pretty sure that "Dhalsim" is not a Malayalam word. Hmm...

Vodka Drunkenski (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402407)

AKA Russia Armisky.

I thought his name was Soda Popinski. (0)

NRAdude (166969) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403767)

Zangief takes his name from a real-life Russian wrestler, Victor Zangiev. More interesting to me is that the working name for this character was Vodka Gobalsky. This is notable for two reasons for one, that this name is amazing [and] deserves to enter into the public consciousness and, for another, that it bears a striking resemblance to the name of a Russian boxer in Nintendo's Punch-Out!! series, Vodka Drunkenski.

Who gave me the idea that his name was Soda Popinski? I hope I didn't own the Special Edition of Mike Tyson's Punchout! Can anyone confirm this?

I never thought I'd be justified in saying this, (5, Insightful)

uxbn_kuribo (1146975) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402477)

But my GOD. TLDR, much? And half of it is either pointless speculation, or stuff like "I don't actually KNOW the origin of..." Must be a slow news day in IT.

Re:I never thought I'd be justified in saying this (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | more than 5 years ago | (#28405823)

I stopped reading at his very first suggestion that "Zelda" comes from "dhelta" (Gk. for "delta") katakanized into Japanese. The problem is that the delta symbol in Japanese is "deruta," which a quick wikipediaing reveals. First, you go to the English delta [wikipedia.org] , then click the Japanese link on the left to get to deruta [wikipedia.org] .

Donkey (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28402505)

FTA:

"His last name seems likes a clear reference to King Kong, but the Donkey part doesn't. Contrary to many other urban legends that say otherwise, Donkey Kong earned his first name as a result of Miyamoto wanting to call the villain something that conveyed a sense of stubbornness and stupidity, though he later found out that the English-speaking world doesn't interpret the word donkey in this way."

Wrong. Of course we do. From the OED:

donkey
1. a. A familiar name for the ass.
2. a. A stupid or silly person.

Why do you think Gordon Ramsay keeps using the word to describe the chefs who work under him? He didn't just pull it out of his ass.

Oblig Futurama (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28402907)

Fry: "Wait a second. I know that monkey! His name is 'Donkey'."
Professor: "Monkeys aren't donkeys. Quit messing with my head!"

Re:Donkey (2, Funny)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 5 years ago | (#28405435)

I see what you did there.

Out of his ass indeed.

Re:Donkey (1)

Morlark (814687) | more than 5 years ago | (#28408117)

Yeah, I read that section and was left puzzled at how the author was making such authoritative-sounding statements about a language with which he is so obviously unfamiliar. And then later in the article he claims to be an English major... Uh, yeah, good luck with that.

Stories behind game names... (5, Interesting)

HimajinX (660666) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402599)

Working in Japanese to English game localization, I'm often assigned the task of coming up with English names for characters. Usually this is just a transliteration, but in some cases a completely new name is required. The publisher makes the final call, and I've had to fight hard sometimes to get names that just won't work in English changed. Japanese developers often go to great lengths to research meaningful names for their characters, but not understanding how differently names can be interpreted in other languages, they can get attached to some really ridiculous ones. The only way I could deter one developer from using "Milla" for the name of a huge, ugly dragon boss was by telling them that most players would associate the name with a supermodel...

Re:Stories behind game names... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403307)

...a supermodel... of a huge, ugly dragon boss. ^^

You can tell that I do not find her very attractive, can you? ;)

Re:Stories behind game names... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28403713)

Idiot, Milla is a perfectly fine name for a dragon.

Re:Stories behind game names... (1)

trytoguess (875793) | more than 5 years ago | (#28404233)

Might I ask what game Milla is from?

Re:Stories behind game names... (1)

HimajinX (660666) | more than 5 years ago | (#28406503)

"Mila-Boreas" was the original name for the enormous black dragon in Monster Hunter. It became "Fatalis" for the English version.

Re:Stories behind game names... (1)

Tuidjy (321055) | more than 5 years ago | (#28404979)

As an aside, that supermodel's name means 'Endearing' in about every Slavonic language.

Re:Stories behind game names... (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 5 years ago | (#28405013)

When you said "Milla", I thought blonde young girl.

Ugly dragon boss, huh?

Don't forget the truly imaginitive.... (1)

hort_wort (1401963) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402617)

Don't forget the names that truly boggle the mind. What about clever, obscure titles like "Madden NFL 09"?

Re:Don't forget the truly imaginitive.... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403847)

Can you explain that to a non-native speaker?

I know the term stems from "mad"/"madness", but that is not enough to "truly boggle the mind", is it?

Re:Don't forget the truly imaginitive.... (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 5 years ago | (#28404033)

Okay, on the off chance that you're serious here: John Madden [wikipedia.org]

Russia-Japan issue (4, Informative)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402619)

http://geography.about.com/library/weekly/aa021400a.htm [about.com]

Anyone familiar with Japanese history would understand Japanese poking constant fun of the Russians, their neighbors. Russia is a bit of a sore spot to Japan since they are still disputing sovereignty of mineral rich islands that Russia claimed as a results of Japan losing WWII. It doesn't help that Japanese culture has been known [wikipedia.org] as being a bit on the racist [ipsnews.net] and xenophobic [atimes.com] side.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (0, Flamebait)

uxbn_kuribo (1146975) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402661)

I think that a culture that sells used schoolgirl panties out of vending machines (or anywhere, really) and makes video games where you have to seduce underage girls... well, I don't think hating the Russians is their biggest problem.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402825)

I'm sincerely curious how prevalent these things are in Japanese culture. If these are the small oddities that exist on the fringe, as opposed to cultural staples, then honestly I'm not sure it is different from American culture.

I recall when Newt Gingrich was trying to kill the National Endowment for the Arts, he pointed to an artist who got a $150 grant from the government and bought a fish tank that he filled with urine, and an upside down cross. What if a Japanese tourist came over that day, saw the item in the news and said "apparently this is American culture, for the government to sponsor blasphemous artwork submerged in urine."

We judge societies by contrast, the things that seem most different from what we accept as normal. But sometimes the extremes on the fringe are what stand out the most.

Should we suggest all Canadians are brutes because they club baby seals? In reality, it would be unfair because Canadians are characteristically polite.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (0, Offtopic)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403355)

Well, about their affection to underage girls... I think this picture makes it pretty clear:
http://images.encyclopediadramatica.com/images/8/8b/Akihabara_Rail_Mechanophilia.jpg [encycloped...matica.com]
Inspired by this very sick and NSFAnything image:
http://encyclopediadramatica.com/Image:Akihabara.jpg [encycloped...matica.com]
Sorry, but I think, whoever did this image, deserves to rot in hell. (Yes, nobody got hurt. But: Seriously?? WTF!)

Re:Russia-Japan issue (1)

Digital Autumn (664952) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403419)

I think you have still failed to show how prevalent this is in their culture. I could find two disturbing pictures from every country in the world, what does that prove?

Re:Russia-Japan issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28403807)

The girl-on-railway-bridge one is fake, isn't it?

This seems to be that bridge from the other side: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Onari-kaido_overhead_bridge(Soubu-line).jpg [wikimedia.org]

(But it says something that I had to check... probably that I've never been to Japan.)

Re:Russia-Japan issue (1)

Gravedigger3 (888675) | more than 5 years ago | (#28404031)

I wonder how many Japanese citizens in that area realize that the big ass doll in the first pic is inspired by that drawing.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (0, Troll)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403385)

I get your point.

But I don't think that in Japanese, "blasphemous" is even a normally known word.
You know, except from the USA, some areas in South America, and some Arabic countries, religious topics are just something that nobody really cares about.
A cross is just two pieces of wood or metal. We would get what was meant. But we would just say "So what?", yawn, and move on. :)

Re:Russia-Japan issue (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402789)

In all fairness, racism is a human condition prevalent in many cultures. I remember a Swedish gentleman suggesting that Swedes have never been racist. So I pointed him to a history book, and the term serf from the fact that they took slaves from other lands they conquered.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (1)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402901)

In all fairness, racism is a human condition prevalent in many cultures. I remember a Swedish gentleman suggesting that Swedes have never been racist. So I pointed him to a history book, and the term serf from the fact that they took slaves from other lands they conquered.

...How exactly is or was that racism? They took slaves from other lands they conquered, but not based on race. Serf, by the way, means indentured servant, which is distinguishable from slave in that indenture servents could earn their freedom in return for working off a debt.

Thats like calling someone an anti-semite because they buy a loaf of white bread at the grocery store.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (3, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402997)

In context, he kept suggesting to me that all Americans fit the stereotypes of southern rednecks, and he kept quoting the fact that Americans held slaves, and that some Americans fought a war to protect slavery.

I countered that we are the only country to arguably fight a war to end slavery. Either way, he was adamant that Swedes never had slaves, when in fact, they did. American slave-owners in the South sometimes allowed their slaves to earn money and buy their way out of slavery as well, so the American slave concept wasn't completely removed from the concept of a serf. Especially given that many serfs lived their entire lives in servitude with no real hope of escaping their situation.

I also countered that his hatred and stereotyping for all Americans could be construed as racism. He was adamant that he wasn't racist, but rather that all Americans were horrible, evil, Imperialists with no education or respect for human life.

In talking to other Europeans they tell me that their perception is that America is a very racist country, and that Europeans aren't racist. Which I find odd, because in England I hear a lot of anti-French sentiments, and vice-versa. I was refused service in a restaurant for being American, and racist epithets are common at soccer/football matches in Europe, where as that behavior isn't tolerated in American stadiums.

My point is that judgment and stereotyping is a very human condition. Sadly, it comes quite naturally, and I think it requires conscious effort to combat racism and cast aside racist judgments.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28403145)

I was refused service in a restaurant for being American,

There's a world of difference in being refused service for being a loud-mouthed jerk and simply for being an American.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (4, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403231)

I don't respond to ACs normally, especially those that troll, but I should clarify here.

In England, in an Italian bistro I was told as soon as I walked in with my wife and two friends that there were no tables available for us, despite seeing an almost empty restaurant. We hadn't opened our mouths. We were well dressed. A manager saw what happened, chastised the host and had us seated. But the waitress ignored us all night, and we spent over two hours basically waiting for pasta and drinks while everyone around us was served.

I spoke to my wife's British family about the incident, and they said Italians, French, etc. can spot Americans often by their shoes or jeans. They know what isn't designer, and what Americans wear.

In a related note, when I was in Cannes, I needed to use a toilet. Every business I went to told me they had no toilets. I went to a tourist information kiosk, and was told the entire town had no toilets, and I had to walk out of town, and go to the beach. Again, I was dressed nice. I walked into a casino, and was immediately escorted out before I said a word. They wanted to know why I was trying to walk into their casino when I apparently didn't look like a customer they wanted.

Another tourist center informed me there was a public toilet immediately around the corner, which I knew to be a lie. I said I had just come from there, and they told me to leave the tourist center.

And this was during the middle of the Cannes film festival when presumably there were tons of Americans present. Maybe I didn't look rich enough, or maybe it was simply that I was American.

Later that day, I was waiting for a small train holding my two-year old daughter. When the train arrived, someone shoved me quite hard to push me out of the way. I fell over a stone fountain next to me, twisted my knee, and was holding my daughter up so she didn't hit the stone.

I quite literally cried out in pain, and couldn't get up. No one apologized, or offered to help me up. They just got on the train and ignored me.

I never intend to go back there again.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28403321)

"I never intend to go back there again."

Mission accomplished.

An European.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28404443)

A Western European asshole, my guess.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28404885)

By your description of the incidents, you don't happen to look out of the ordinary [divisionoflabour.com] do you?

Re:Russia-Japan issue (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#28405131)

when I was in Cannes

Well everyone knows that the French are a bunch of overgeneralizing prejudging bigots. I know that and I haven't even met one!

Re:Russia-Japan issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28407497)

Good. Maybe, at least on some national level, you'll think twice before sporting "god hates fags" bumper stickers and oozing your draconian, mythology-spouting asses into two aeroplane seats.

Racism and Nationalism are often confused (1)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403149)

Racism and Nationalism are often confused. Not as much as say, Nationalism and Patriotism.

Stereotyping is a byproduct of brains pattern recognition skills; it is not all bad, merely our nature and a fundamentally important one.

An island of clones would differentiate somehow and create some sort of class / status system eventually leading to multiple systems that are not aligned which promote conflict (leaving out explanations of the unknown forming religions which would complicate such an experiment.)

Re:Russia-Japan issue (1)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403315)

In sweden's defense, they outlawed slavery and slave trade as a matter of nationalism, not racism. England was outlawing slave trade and sweden worried that other countries would expand into their territories, so they outlawed it altogether in 1813 (even though they allowed slavery until 1847). Race, however, was not a factor.

The civil war was fought not over the right to own slaves, but rather for the right for states to make laws that were not explicitly federal laws. You may note that powers not explicitly reserved by the federal government are reserved by the states in the US constitution. The issue of slavery was simply the biggest issue that many states wanted to fight over.

On the concept, anytime there is a large scale slave revolt in history, and the slaves lost, then a country fought a war to protect slavery.

Hatred/stereotyping of Americans cannot be construed as racism, because Americans are not a race. This is nationalism, which the vast majority of Americans engage in by actively choosing to live in the US. The majority of Americans have no education or respect for human life; most europeans destroy us on all metrics of education, and believe it or not, there are atheists in the US who believe that abortion in the case where the mother would otherwise certainly die is wrong.

America is a racist country. We have a melting pot of races here, and we have affirmative action, so every race begrudges every other race, gender, religion, etc for getting advantages based on these things despite laws that prohibit it. If you don't believe this occurs you are sitting with a blindfold on and fingers in your ears. Granted, this is true in european countries, they just dont lie about it.

Its futbol, not football. At football games, we dont have teams based on states. Our university teams dont have players based on states. If we did, people would would make fun of floridians and north carolinians and new yorkers (oh wait, they do) and arizonians with regional slurs. Making fun of the french is not racism, its nationalism.

I am quite certain you were no refused service for being an american. I am quite certain that it was because you were being a pompous jackass or because you didnt speak the language or because you demanded service when they werent actually open. Having been all over europe, I can assure you that restaurants welcome americans, as we tip in countries where it isnt customary, we eat a lot, and we genuinely enjoy the process of getting to enjoy another country's culture.

Judgement and stereotyping are a defense mechanism, and in most cases protect the individual more than they harm the innocent. As long as stereotypes continue to be true, I see no problem with it. As long as I avoid certain areas because people continue to be beaten, robbed, raped, and murdered in those areas, and specific kinds of people live in those areas, and I don't get beaten, robbed, raped and murdered, I feel like that's a win for me. If it takes conscious effort to combat racism, cast aside racist judgements, and put myself in a dangerous situation despite prior knowledge to avoid that situation, then I'm glad that judgement and stereotyping are human condition. Let's face it, so are you.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403497)

Hatred/stereotyping of Americans cannot be construed as racism, because Americans are not a race.

Definition of race:

1 A local geographic or global human population distinguished as a more or less distinct group by genetically transmitted physical characteristics.
2 A group of people united or classified together on the basis of common history, nationality, or geographic distribution: the German race.
3 A genealogical line; a lineage.
4 Humans considered as a group.

Its futbol, not football.

Spelling is different in different countries. For instance, England's Premier League spells football as football. As a native English speaker, football is the correct spelling for me. Don't attempt to correct a pedant when you are wrong.

I am quite certain you were no refused service for being an american.

You are making an assumption here, and you are wrong. I was refused service before I spoke a word. I was as well dressed as anyone in the place. And even though the bistro appeared to be run by Italians, I was in England. So I speak the language.

And, by the way, American is a proper noun, and thusly capitalized, like French, which you also failed to capitalize. You seriously shouldn't try to point out spelling mistakes.

...then I'm glad that judgement and stereotyping are human condition. Let's face it, so are you.

You misspelled judgment there, and failed to comprehend what I wrote. I am not glad for racism. I make a conscious effort to combat it.

I was having a discussion on a forum when a French individual was berating all Americans for being racist, while I was watching the news about race riots in France.

You feel that stereotyping people by race protects you from being raped or murdered. I would contend that is a rather ugly form of racism to assume that one race is more likely to rape or murder than another. Arguably classism applies here, that crime is higher in poorer classes, but that is not to say that the rich are above crime. Nor are most races.

My family adopted a Native American girl, and a Pakistani boy. I live in the predominately Mexican part of town out of choice. I love the taquerias, and the cost of houses are much cheaper. It is a lie to suggest all men were born equal. But I believe why should try to treat all men as equal.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28404077)

My family adopted a Native American girl, and a Pakistani boy.

Oooh, collect the set!

(Isn't writing "Native American" rather than just "American" racism?)

Re:Russia-Japan issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28404501)

"I am quite certain you were no refused service for being an american. I am quite certain that it was because you were being a pompous jackass or because you didnt speak the language or because you demanded service when they werent actually open. Having been all over europe, I can assure you that restaurants welcome americans, as we tip in countries where it isnt customary, we eat a lot, and we genuinely enjoy the process of getting to enjoy another country's culture."

Not lately. Western Europeans have been acting rather uppity and nasty towards Americans in the last few years, and rather blatant such that Canadians complain of being taken for Americans.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (1)

X-chan (782883) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403389)

You seem to confuse "racism" with "xenophobia". Also seems like you're exagerating a lot, because living and having traveled in Europe, I didn't hear that many insults against other countries or stuff like that. I'm not saying you're a liar when restaurants refused to service you, but it's most likely a very, very rare occurence. Unless there was another reason than being american that you're not telling or not aware of.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403557)

I've spent a whopping two weeks in Europe. And I'm not suggesting that racism is extremely prevalent there, or more prevalent that anywhere else. I'm suggesting it isn't completely absent.

You can't suggest that one part of the world is racist, and that others aren't because racism is a human condition.

That is merely what I was trying to express.

As far as racism vs xenophobia, racism is judgment on the basis of race. Race is a group of humans based upon a number of factors, such as common ancestry, or living in the same geographical area.

The racism I encountered wasn't fear of all outsiders, but rather targeted racism towards Americans.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403409)

Everytime someone argues with a generalized statement or "all X is Y" or similar: Just stop the conversation, and move on.
Except for some real physical laws of course.
You can maybe point out his failure. But usually it will not help much.

First he will drag you down to his level. And then he will beat you with experience.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#28404005)

White English vs. white French, or white European vs. white American isn't racism. The people are part of the same race. Also, Europeans and Americans are a mixture of races, so it's not possible to tell someone's nationality based on skin colour. "Nationalism" could be a better word, but in some countries nationalism is seen as positive (eg USA) and some negative (eg UK).

English people who "hate" French people are happy to go to France, or have French people visit England. They aren't happy when France beats England at football.

Europeans who "hate" Americans typically aren't happy with what the USA does. In some cases, they may also be offended by the way many Americans act (or are perceived to act) in public in Europe -- loud, impolite and arrogant. (Some Americans do act this way. Obviously, perceptions are skewed since the loud ones are much more noticeable and memorable.)

I'm British. I've been refused service in restaurants/bars in the UK. Usually, this is because I'm not the kind of person the owner wants in his bar -- perhaps I'm not dressed to his taste, or I'm younger than most of the clientèle, or I'm with a large group of only men, or have children with me. This is less common in restaurants, but more expensive restaurants might refuse service to people dressed in beach clothes, or scruffy clothes, or with children, especially in the evening.

I also countered that his hatred and stereotyping for all Americans could be construed as racism. He was adamant that he wasn't racist, but rather that all Americans were horrible, evil, Imperialists with no education or respect for human life.

American culture exported to Europe:
- Hollywood films
- Music
- TV chat shows
News seen in Europe concerning America:
- War
- Money
- Crime

It is, of course, stupid to assume all Americans approve of America's image. Being a major world power doesn't help, either.

Swedish culture exported to the rest of Europe:
- Cheap furniture
- Pop music
- Socialism?
News concerning Sweden:
- Nothing much.

(I'd be interested in a summary of the UK from the point of view of an American and a Swede.)

Re:Russia-Japan issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28404693)

"I countered that we are the only country to arguably fight a war to end slavery."

Er, come on. The reason for that is because eventually most nations unanimously agreed it was wrong.

In Europe countries didn't need to fight civil wars to end slavery because they didn't have such sizable portions of their population thinking it was acceptable, so much so that they were willing to fight the other half over it.

In other words, having to force half your population to give it up against their will, rather than having your whole population give it up because they finally began to agree it was unacceptable does not mean your nation was less racist, it means it was much more racist. In fact, it was only this last week we had a black security guard shot in the US at the holocaust museum. You may think this is irrelevant but it's not, you see, forcing point of view change through war, rather than education rarely works. The fact is the sentiment wasn't destroyed as it was in most European nations, it was merely pushed underground and this is why even in this day and age we have those who are anti-black shooting black people.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (2, Interesting)

pommiekiwifruit (570416) | more than 5 years ago | (#28406207)

When talking to other Europeans they tell me that their perception is that America is a very racist country,

Hey, that's not fair. In the year 2000 the good folk of Alabama even voted 59% in favour of allowing black and white people to marry each other (changing their state constitution)! That's a majority of forward thinking people!

Re:Russia-Japan issue (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403229)

They took slaves from other lands they conquered, but not based on race.

"Race" is a flexible concept in human history. These days we usually take it solely to mean skin color, but really it can be any group of people who define themselves, or are defined by others, according to their (real or imagined) heritage. It was not unusual, up to less than a century ago, to hear Europeans talking about "the Swedish race," "the English race," "the French race," etc.

Serf, by the way, means indentured servant,

No it doesn't. Serfdom is distinct from both slavery and indentured servitude, although of course for the people living under any of these systems life is about equally unpleasant. The distinction is that serfs are bound to the land, rather than the owner -- e.g. an antebellum Southern planter who sold his estate took his slaves with him (unless the slaves were explicitly part of the sale) while a Russian boyar who did so left his serfs in place. Both serfdom and slavery are lifelong conditions by default.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (1)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403401)

Up to less than a century ago, we didnt have computers, the hair dryer, the horseless carriage, or q-tips. We live in the present, where race has a different meaning than nation.

Your definition of serfdom misses part of the definition. While indentured servitude was a specified time period contract with a specific owner and a serf was a form of indentured servitude with ties to the land, neither was by default a lifelong condition. Only slavery has that distinction. A land-based serf worked in exchange for specific rights and could earn their freedom by paying off their debts. Some did it by fighting in wars where they would be expected to die. Others did it by saving their land owner's life. Still others worked long enough to pay off their debt. The russian boyar, by the way, was a class of the aristocracy, and did not own his serfs or his land, as it was given to him as a matter of title, and could be taken away by the czar at any time for any reason.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403839)

You are simply wrong about serfdom being a form of payable debt. I don't know where you're getting this idea, and if you have any citations I'll be glad to read them, but serfdom throughout medieval Europe (and in eastern Europe, up into the early modern period) was lifelong and heritable, exactly like slavery. Serfs were sometimes set free as payment for a particular service rendered to their masters, sure, but so were slaves. It wasn't a normal or expected part of the institution.

My examples of "race" may have been poorly chosen, since they corresponded to existing nations. Try "the Anglo-Saxon race" (a concept distinct from English, and then British, citizenship) or "the Celtic race" or "the Slavic race" or "the Jewish race" on for size. "Race" has always been a concept distinct from "nation," it has been entirely flexible throughout history, and our current "black/white/yellow/red/brown" breakdown is just as arbitrary and, I suspect, just as temporary as any other. Comparing it to technologies (some of which are a good bit older than you think, BTW) is an absurd red herring.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (1)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 5 years ago | (#28404167)

If you insist, these examples are also not races.

The concept of a Jewish race is absurd, as Judaism is a religion, not a hereditary function. You can be Israeli but not Jewish and vice-versa.

The anglo-saxons refer to people in germanic tribes in part of Britain in the middle ages. The anglo-saxon period is dead, and no one alive can reasonably claim to decend from the anglo-saxons, thanks to the norman conquest of 1066.

I'll let you do your own research on celtics and slavs, which are also nations (even if they no longer exist), not races. Geographic location is not race, even if you name every location on earth.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 5 years ago | (#28404539)

You may not consider Anglo-Saxons, or Celts, or Slavs, or Jews, to be races; the point is that all of these groups have in fact at various times been considered to be races, and subject to exactly the same sort of division and discrimination based on heritage rather than geography or nationhood, as have those groups which we consider to be distinct races today. Absurd? Of course it's absurd. That doesn't keep people from doing it, and the basis on which they do it is and has always been arbitrary. There is no difference between, say, the attitude of a Norman nobleman toward Saxons in 1100 and the attitude of a Mississippi slaveholder toward black people seven hundred years later. And that Norman would have dealt with an Ethiopian as nobleman his equal, while that Mississippian would quite possibly have been the descendant of the Norman's Saxon villeins. The definitions of what constitutes race change at a whim; the concept remains.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#28408563)

The anglo-saxon period is dead, and no one alive can reasonably claim to decend from the anglo-saxons, thanks to the norman conquest of 1066.

I wasn't aware that the Normans killed off all the previously existing inhabitants.

I also find it odd that the victors and their descendants chose to adopt the language of the people they'd just wiped out, rather than continuing to speak French. Perhaps you can also explain how they learned it, since according to you they'd just killed all the people who spoke it and Linguaphone wouldn't be founded for anothe 900 years.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28408569)

Given that earlier in these comments the dictionary definition of the term 'race' was quoted, which directly contradicted the above statements of yours, your continued assertion of this point betrays a wilful ignorance of the facts. Your erroneous definition of serfdom, about which you were corrected by a more well-informed poster, is further demonstration of this. Your apparent desire to remain in ignorance is quite baffling to me, and your insistence on imposing your ignorance onto the world at large is entirely improper. Good day to you, sir!

Re:Russia-Japan issue (1)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403137)

In all fairness, racism is a human condition prevalent in many cultures. I remember a Swedish gentleman suggesting that Swedes have never been racist. So I pointed him to a history book, and the term serf from the fact that they took slaves from other lands they conquered.

Soooo....the white slave market is being run by self hating caucasians?
I didn't know slavery had anything to do with race.

Re:Russia-Japan issue (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403699)

"It doesn't help that Japanese culture has been known as being a bit on the racist and xenophobic side."

As does Russia.

Zangief (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28402823)

Zangief takes "Vodka Gobalsky" and does a spinning piledriver.

Wow... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28403045)

That was one long article. Am I the only one who stopped reading midway despite all the interesting stories?

Japanese impression of the Spanish? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28403317)

Did you ever notice that Don Flamenco (Mike Tyson's Punch Out) and Vega (Street Fighter) are both incredibly vain? Perhaps this reflects another Japanese cultural bias?

Re:Japanese impression of the Spanish? (1)

Digital Autumn (664952) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403451)

Those bastards. When will they stop painting their cartoonish stereotypical video game characters with such a prejudiced brush? I'm beginning to wonder if New Yorkers are really as plucky as Little Mac led me to think.

is it missing this? (1)

holywarrior21c (933929) | more than 5 years ago | (#28403343)

Anyone know what Starcraft means? Galactic warfare? Space-land-for-battle? It kinda reminds me of Chevy Starcraft, too...

Re:is it missing this? (3, Informative)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 5 years ago | (#28404063)

Anyone know what Starcraft means? Galactic warfare? Space-land-for-battle? It kinda reminds me of Chevy Starcraft, too...

It's because the game is essentially Warcraft in space.

Re:is it missing this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28408157)

they should have named it spacecraft then!

Zelda Fitzgerald (2, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 5 years ago | (#28405125)

When I first heard of "The Legend of Zelda," the first thing I thought of was Zelda Fitzgerald, mostly because there are so few women I've ever heard of who were named Zelda. I assumed that was just a coincidence. It's very nice to discover that it wasn't: "The game's creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, has said that he took the character's name from Zelda Fitzgerald. "[Zelda Fitzgerald] was a famous and beautiful woman from all accounts, and I liked the sound of her name. So I took the liberty of using her name for the very first Zelda title."

Zelda was famous, yes, and beautiful yes, and for a while the Fitzgeralds were a "glamorous" and lionized couple. She also had a stormy marriage with F. Scot Fitzgerald, and was the fictionalized subject of some of his novels and stories. Zelda was famous for her unconventional behavior, and I've never been able to read between the lines to understand for sure just what this behavior consisted of; was jumping into a fountain in New York just youthful high spirits, or was there more to it than that? Every account talks of her "flirting" with men other than Fitzgerald, and famously saying that she wanted to "kiss" a thousand men; was it just flirting and just kissing? Some of what made her interesting was perhaps the prelude to her mental illness.

By all accounts, they were a sad, tragic, and unlucky couple.

Re:Zelda Fitzgerald (1)

Esc7 (996317) | more than 5 years ago | (#28406821)

And how do you celebrate something that is sad, tragic and unlucky?
With humor!
http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=197 [harkavagrant.com]

Re:Zelda Fitzgerald (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 5 years ago | (#28406981)

Very strange that Miyamoto says he chose the name because he liked how it sounds, when, in my mind, it's probably about the ugliest female name out there. It's right up (or down) there with Gertrude.

Tiny Misinformation (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 5 years ago | (#28405855)

And I have no idea why Nintendo chose to switch his name from Gannon, as itâ(TM)s stated in the first game, to Ganon in Zelda II: Adventure of Link, and then to Ganondorf in Link to the Past onwards. It seems that now Ganon â" one âoeNâ â" refers to his more hulking, monster form and Ganondorf to his human form.

Actually, that last bit was true from the very first game in which Ganondorf was his name. In A Link to the Past, a character calls his something like "Ganondorf, the Master of Thieves - no, Ganon, the King of Darkness".

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