Thrilling Tales of Old Video Games: Hard Hats in the Mushroom Kingdom
“Sometimes things are a lot like other things! This is one of these — and despite the thumbnail image telling you that there is some Mega Man content here, this is, alas, also a Mario-related post.
In an early post on this site, I wrote about Pac-Man’s name and the urban legends surrounding it, and one of the discoveries I made in researching this was that Pac-Man actually had a lot in common with the Piranha Plant from Super Mario Bros. Both are essentially sentient mouths that interact with the world by chomping, and both of their names come from this fact. Pac-Man’s name comes from the Japanese pakupaku (ぱくぱく, “opening and closing,” especially if a mouth is doing it) and the Japanese name for the Piranha Plant (Pakkun Flower, パックンフラワー) comes from a related term, pakkunucho (ぱっくんちょ, “eating in one bite”). In short, they look similar, they act similar, and their names reflect this, but I’d never noticed despite being aware of both Pac-Man and Piranha Plants for decades.“