8 Famous Video Game Characters Created By Accident

The most bizarre events that gave rise to gaming's greatest icons.

Jumpman Donkey Kong

The world of gaming is only as successful as the colourful characters that drive its games, and over the years, gamers have certainly seen more than their fair share of iconic household names. Mega Man, Kratos, Samus Aran, Sonic the Hedgehog - these are just some of the most famous protagonists that video games have gifted us.

Obviously, a great amount of work goes into designing characters like these, and developers take very deliberate steps to ensure their looks and personality really gel with their respective audiences.

Imagine, then, if certain beloved video game characters came to be by complete coincidence!

Impossible, you say? Well, the process of developing a game is a long and complicated one, perhaps more so than that of movies and TV. When issues arise from the limited technology of the time, overseas translations, and even minor legal disputes, occasionally these problems can force developer creativity in ways it hadn't been forced before.

From that, whole new gaming characters are born, some of which have made themselves known today as true poster children of the video game medium.

Talk about a happy accident!

8. Kirby

Jumpman Donkey Kong

We all know Kirby as the ravenous little pink ball who can float by inflating his round body and copy the abilities of creatures his mouth vacuums up. An early concept of the character was similar to the aforementioned one we know nowadays, but, as it turns out, it was another of Nintendo's game series that finalised the creation of their rosy-cheeked icon.

When Donkey Kong was released in 1981, Nintendo were sued by Universal Studios due to claims that the name was basically a copy of King Kong. A truly stupid thing to go to court over, since it's obvious the former is just an homage to the latter - and the judge must have thought so too, as Nintendo won the case and got to keep the game's name as it was.

Reportedly, the lawyer who helped ensure Nintendo's victory in the court was named John Kirby, and so the character the company were working on at the time - a familiar spherical being named 'Popopo' - was renamed Kirby in his honour.

Can you imagine how things would've turned out if not for this fortunate coincidence? Somehow, 'Popopo Air Ride' just doesn't have the same ring to it.

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Graduate composer, on-and-off session musician, aspiring novelist, professional nerd. Where procrastination and cynicism intertwine, Lee Clarke can be found.