How Lemmy Kilmister Inspired a Koopaling in the Super Mario Bros. Universe

By December 30, 2015

Lemmy Kilmister the lead singer and founder of the rock band Motörhead died of cancer on Monday. As usual, when a huge rock star dies, stories about that person come out of the wood work. Like this amazing story that ties some of my favorite things together – gaming and music. The story comes courtesy of Kotaku.

Dayvv Brooks was a product analyst at Nintendo, at the time of developing of Super Mario Bros. 3; and was responsible for making the translated Japanese text make sense. He had to name the Koopalings and in one particular case, he came upon a name that… well, is the reason for this story. He said,

“Music has always been a big part of my life. I’ve been a DJ for years and have been a music collector for even longer. When I first saw the group of seven Koopalings, music was on my mind. The hairstyle on one of them reminded me of Ludwig von Beethoven for some reason and Ludwig von Koopa was born. Next was the one with the glasses; that has to be Roy Koopa in homage to Roy Orbison, who almost always wore glasses. Then Wendy O. Koopa (Wendy O. Williams) and Iggy Koopa (Iggy Pop). One looked like a loudmouth, so he was Morton Koopa Jr. from the loud-mouthed talk show host Morton Downey Jr. And then there was Larry. There’s no real-world equivalent, he’s not Larry Mullen Jr. from U2 or Larry King, he just looked like a Larry.

That brings us to Lemmy. In addition to being a great name, it’s perfect for a video game character. This Koopaling struck me as being the kind of character who would do his own thing, no matter what anyone else thought. I think it was those crazy eyes. Lemmy Koopa was born and was in the crew.”

LEMMYKOOPAThere you go… Lemmy Koopalina is actually based on Lemmy Kilmister from Motörhead. I love how this story allows us a way to remember this rock legend. I also love that the way the Koopaling looked struck Dayvv as Lemmy, of all characters. It’s the little things, like this story, that shines a light on certain stories we didn’t even know about. Lemmy, in just being who he is and standing for something inspired someone all the way on the other side of the spectrum in gaming. An impression that will last forever.

So the next time you boot up a Mario based game including those Koopaling characters, Lemmy will be on your mind. Now I want to hear from you out there in the Nation… what you think of this story?

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Mark Reilly
Born a geek a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away - Tustin, CA - Reilly is a seasoned writer and producer with over twenty years experience in the film industry. He is the co-host of 'Far, Far Away' here on GeekNation as well as 'Meet the Movie Press' on the Popcorn Talk Network; which airs live every Friday morning at 9am pst. Tweet him at @Reillyaround