Did you miss a session from GamesBeat Summit Next 2022? All sessions are now available for viewing in our on-demand library. Click here to start watching.


Bad guys are the coolest. We all know that, and now we’re naming our kids after one of gaming’s baddest guys.

The fastest-rising name for new-born boys in the United States last year was “Gannon,” according to Laura Wattenberg of website Baby Name Wizard. That’s the name of the demon-pig boss from the 1987 Nintendo release The Legend of Zelda, which millions of people have played. Nintendo has since clarified that Gannon was a mistranslation, and it now calls the character “Ganon” and “Ganondorf.” But while the game character likely did have some influence on parents, Wattenberg points out that the reality TV show Teen Mom probably had the bigger effect. One of the young mothers on that show named her child Gannon — with that spelling — and that’s probably where most people are getting the idea.

And this is probably the first time I’ve ever thought that people are better off naming their kids after a game character than some other cultural touchstone … Teen Mom? Really?

Still, despite reality TV’s gigantic influence, plenty of gamers are out in the world making tinier versions of themselves. Baby Name Wizard has a list from 2010 that details the video game names people used five or more times in 2009.

In the United States, right now, there are five or more 5- to 6 year olds walking around with these names:

  • Alucard: The son of Dracula from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.
  • Arthas: A prince from World of Warcraft.
  • Cloud: The hero from Final Fantasy VII.
  • Cortana: Master Chief’s A.I. companion from Halo.
  • Kaileena: A princess from Prince of Persia.
  • Kratos: The hyper-violent hero from God of War.
  • Roxas: A character from Kingdom Hearts.

These join other gaming names from the past decade or so, which include “Raiden” from Mortal Kombat and “Madden” from … well, John Madden NFL Football. That’ll be fun to explain to your kid, but I guess it’s better than Kratos.

GamesBeat's creed when covering the game industry is "where passion meets business." What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you -- not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Discover our Briefings.