A Father Says His Baby Daughter Was Named For A Mass Effect Character

A Father Says His Baby Daughter Was Named For a Mass Effect Character

"Tomorrow my daughter is scheduled to be born," wrote a soon-to-be-dad named Adam last night. "Since day 1 her first name was always going to be Tali'Zorah. ... My wife fell in love with the name during our first play-through of [Mass Effect] many years ago."

"Confused friends and relatives are told 'we wanted a nice Quarian name,'" Adam added, "just because it's funny to see the confusion become worse."

No, Adam and his wife did not name their daughter "Mass Effect," as some accounts have said as this story gathered viral traction in the past 24 hours. And it's Mum's idea, he insists, not his. Even among gamers, though, this naming choice — broached on The Escapist's forums, is controversial. There's a robust debate over whether the child should be named simply "Tali," rather than "Tali'Zorah." Because at that tender age when she's being Googlestalked for the first time, her suitors will discover she was named for a video game character.

"I was pretty embarrassed when I learned my middle name came from Dune," said one Escapist forum member, "and I even liked that book." Oh my God, I'm dying to know what the name is now. Don't tell me it's Duncan or Gurney, either. Please tell me it's Thufir.

That's sort of where this argument breaks down — a parent's prerogative to commemorate whomever or whatever has been important to their lives, and the ideal of a child growing up un-picked upon. This isn't a modern phenomenon, either, where a couple meets in Conversational Klingon 101 at the community college and then name their kid after a hairball. People used to name kids after presidents and we had some godawful Millards, Grovers and Ulysseseses back in the day, after all.

By that standard, Tali is easily a wonderful name for a little girl. It's beautiful, mellifluous, and appealingly feminine. But in the forum thread, the "'Zorah" suffix (surname?) is what bothers some. "Luke" is an excellent name, for example. (Of course it is!) But when this girl is 17 and filling out "Tali'Zorah" on her SAT bubble sheet, "That's kind of like calling your kid 'Luke Skywalker Smith," reasoned one commenter.

I reached out, as best I could anyway, to Adam to completely butt in on his private family decision and moment for publication here. But if a baby is on the way, regardless of her name, he might have other priorities today.

I'm childless, so I have no moral authority on this. Still, there are sports fans who name their kids after ESPN. Hell, some Alabama fans just named their kid Krimson Tyde. So I fail to see how "Tali'Zorah," whatever the name's provenance, is undignified for either the child or her parents. If they choose the name, wonderful. Congratulations to mum, and dad, and little Tali today.

My daughter is named Tali'Zorah. Are we crazy? [The Escapist]


    Still, there are sports fans who name their kids after ESPN. Hell, some Alabama fans just named their kid Krimson Tyde. So I fail to see how “Tali’Zorah,” whatever the name’s provenance, is undignified for either the child or her parents.

    I was going to object, but if this method of naming is good enough for ever logical and socially refined minds of rabid sports fans I guess there's nothing left to say. =P

      We should copy Germany. As so very typical of the Germans, they have a national database of names which parents pick names out of. It ensures that some troll doesn't name their kid 'Adolf Hitler' or something as happened some years back in the states.

        Naa we need like India and, batman bin superman as names

    Someone stop the planet, I want to get off.

      We can't really stop it -- you might have to tuck-and-roll. Try to aim for the soft patch of space, careful not to graze yourself on the asteroid belt.

    That's it. I'm naming my future child "Commander Shepard".

    Tali would be fine - and it's pretty close to Talia, which is a pretty common name already. (I have a cousin named Theoden, it doesn't seem to bother him.)

    I named my daughter who was born two weeks ago Saria, from Zedla OoT. I originally wanted Zelda but the wife didnt like it. We had agreed on Link though if it was a boy.

    I named my daughter after a character from a Neil Gaiman book. Naming kids nowadays is sort of a "Let's throw partial words into a hat and pick two or three". It's no biggie.

    Edit: I also went to primary school with a kid named Luke Sky Walker. Everyone thought he was the coolest kid because of that.

    Last edited 05/01/14 4:32 pm

    Too many parents think they're being clever by naming their kids after some fictional character... only everyone else thought the same thing. I've met a lot of girls specifically in the mid 20s age bracket named 'Tegan' because they all had Whovian parents. It's the same with Taylor now, and in another 20, we'll all be swamped by Jacobs, Edwards, Makos and Aryas (I know two couples doing this, and indirectly heard of even more).

    Parents, it's great you're so passionate about these things but think of the kids. Giving them a name like "Tali'Zorah" puts a big used-by date on your kid. If people still care about Mass Effect in 15 years, they'll be mocked in the schoolyard. If not, they'll spend the rest of their life explaining obscure videogame references.

      Although she will be mostly known as Tali so it shouldn't be that much of a problem. The kid will be mocked anyway for other things not related to her name as that's what kids do now days. Who knows what the schoolyard will be like in 15 years with the massive problem of cyberbullying.

      Last edited 05/01/14 7:39 pm

      At least 'Tegan' is still a normal name. It's not as if they were called Darlek.

      Is Gordan Freeman mocked? Is PacMan mocked? I would love to be named after any past time popular video game character.

        Are you asking if fictional video game characters are mocked by their peers (other fictional video game characters) for their fictional video game character name?

        The games aren't mocked but schoolkids are anything but merciful. Any kid I grew up with, with any vaguely exotic name was picked on endlessly. I had a Yugoslavian friend whose name was Djorge and everyone just called him "Dorge" ('Guys, it's George!'). If you have a name like PacMan, it would be a hundred times worse.

      At least some of those, like your Bellas and Edwards, are common already. The big issue I have with parents giving 'special' or 'unique' names - especially misspelled versions of popular names - is that the kid is going to have to spend their entire life spelling it out over the phone and putting up with clerical errors. Which I'm sure they're grateful to their parents for.

      At least with Tali'Zorah, people are just going to assume it's foreign (no matter where you are) and ask for it to be spelled anyway. And given that so many folks won't bother asking which nationality, the embarrassment factor's probably not as bad as 'Moonbeam' or 'Apple'.

        If you're vaguely ethnic, you can probably get by naming your kid Tali'Zorah. But if you're lily white and your daughter's name is "Tali'Zorah Miller" or something, it's going to raise a few eyebrows and people will ask where it's from.

    Its a parents job to embarrass their kids, this is just a preemptive strike.

    I like creative, silly or fictional names for kids... but I use them for middle names. So parents can still have a bit of fun with it, but it's not completely in everybody's face. But I really think parents should be creative with names. There are too many similar names being recycled, and it's so boring.

    My legit birth certificate middle name is Puck by the way.

      I do agree with the similar named. I went to school will dozens of Matthews and johns.

        I went to school with a lot of other people with my name and it was never a problem. We developed unique name variations on our own rather than having individuality forced upon us. It may seem boring but why does it need to be interesting at a glance? Optimus stands out to strangers but I'm not naming my children to impress strangers or make their teachers giggle while reading the roll. If I were to name a son Malcolm you may think it's boring but for me it would be far more interesting and deep than a shallow pop culture reference.

        I'll just name my daughter Amy and leave it up to her to be interesting. =P

          Well if we shall not force individuality on them like you say by giving them individual names. Why bother naming them at all. Just call them child or something.

            Well my point is more that you shouldn't force your individuality on them by giving them a name that deliberately stands out above the child itself, not that it's bad to give them an individual name. I wouldn't use the same name my friends just used, or one that I knew was super popular with newborns, but that doesn't mean I should throw out all conventional names and treat my kids name like a Hotmail account. There's plenty of room between Jake and Truckasaurus.
            Whatever the name they'll figure themselves out, but if you name your kid Frodo he's almost certainly going to hate both you and Lord of the Rings. All you're really doing is creating a barrier where it's harder to establish who Frodo is because everyone he meets focuses on the fact he's named after a hobbit.
            A name that doesn't stand out makes it easier to establish who you are. A kid named Steve can focus on just being himself. It's a blank slate name that he's free to make into whatever he wants, whether he shares that name with others in his year level or not. It sounds bland when you read it off a list but that's because on a list it doesn't mean anything. A kid will give any average name more than enough meaning.
            Tali'Zorah may deal with being named after a character from a video game her parents were way too into that nobody her age has played, but explaining her strange name with a really anti-climactic 'my parents were just sort of lame' is going to be a big part of her life (at least until she figures out she can just lie and say it's an old family name or go by Tali and say it's short for Natalie).

              I never once supported stupid names. I just said I went to school with a lot of Matthews and John's. You're manufacturing your own argument.

          But then others won't be forced to call her by what she wants.

      I can appreciate wanting to be creative but this just isn't that creative. They're naming their kid using the same thought process lazy/short sighted people use to name a pet or a MMO character. It's only real merit is that after the novelty has worn off you can drop it down to the much more practical Tali. Then rather than having to explain it constantly you can just let people make their own assumptions.

      Also at some point this kid is going to play the game, do the math and figure out that their parents named them Tali'Zorah after they'd finished Mass Effect 3. That's like naming your kid Anakin after Episode I.

        I look forward to the child playing through Mass Effect, then finding out they can have sex with their namesake.

        Assuming the school kids haven't been harassing them about it anyway.

      Nice one M

      Welcome to my family. Our family tree is nearly impossible to get straight. We had a string of five Georges at one point, two John Henrys in the same generation (cousins, but bloody hell it made it confusing) and far too many Samuels and Johns and Georges in general. Fortunately, the girls had names easier to follow - Edith, Fanny, Lorna, etc. but they just kept recycling the boys' names and that's made it impossible to follow the male line of the family with any level of coherency.

      I fully intend to go for first names that are unlikely to ever be repeated - that way, someone doing the research later is not going to sit there wondering how John Henry who was born and lived in rural SA managed to die in Sydney before realizing a year later that John Henry in Sydney was a different person.

      (And FYI? NEVER name your child any variant of Kathryn. My mum has so far found about 8 variants on the spelling. She has the most obscure one - Kathryn - and the number of times she's had fights over utilities accounts and other accounts because a salesperson didn't ask how to spell her name is not even funny. (She's actually twice now been accused of ID fraud because of that. Salespeople - ask how it's spelled, no matter what you think. It's the difference between your client changing Internet provider, and your client getting a visit from the police.)

      If you're going to name your kid anything, pick something with a universal understanding of how it is spelled. Any name with variants is only going to cause your kid grief when they're an adult and trying to explain that no, that is in fact my electricity account, you've just spelt my name wrong, yes I know my ID doesn't match because you spelled my name wrong, etc.)

    Eh, it's better than La-a. (Pronounced: Ladasha)

      Ugh, this bullshit again. There is no evidence that this is even a real name, just anecdotal crap. "I taught a student...", "I heard from a friend...", "more made up bullshit stories that people like you spread around"

        Yeah. It's an anecdote invented basically to make fun of African-Americans specifically (because a name like Ladasha would be assumed to be African-American, at least in the US). It annoys me too when people circulate this stuff.

    I'll name mine Shepard Commander

      Vey unisex, good choice. Gonna name our third child Street Fighter (if we get around to number 3).

        After you have Street Fighter, you can then name the next child Super Street Fighter, and refuse to play with the earlier child due to lack of new features.

          Then I'll name the next Super Turbo Street Fighter EO. And ignore it because I've just got so many kids at that point I can't keep track of them and I've gotten bored of kids by then.

            I think we should give up on Super Turbo Street Fighter EO since we know she isn't going to Uni and put all our eggs in Street Fighter 3

    Now EA will sue him claiming ownership of the name and they'll take ownership of his daughter.

    Tali is far better then Lynda, Myshell (seriously) and Rainbow.

      To add to that, Tali - is easy to pronounce and doesn't require much to understand how it is spelt- perfect for a name.

        They could even make it like Tali Zora Smith (or whatever their surname is) and it will both look and sound completely normal but also individual. It's really only if they insist on Tali'Zorah as one name that it will be cringe inducing for the kid.

    Or we could bring back names like
    Blossom, Clover, Edwina, Ethlinda, Pansy or Primrose. All lovely 19th Century names, rarely in use now. Names evolve and who is to say gaming is not a new source for names for soon to be parents? Hey, Robin Williams named his daughter Zelda.

      But Princess Zelda was actually named after a real person.

      As above, Zelda was a name before it was a videogame.

      Last edited 05/01/14 7:15 pm

        Indeed it was, Zelda Fitzgerald to be exact was the inspiration behind Princess Zelda, Still, Robin Willams named his daughter after the the game and no other Zelda (although it is an old name). Semantics I guess.

      I love 'old lady' names. Every time I have a patient with a name like Agnes, Gretchen or Eleanor, it warms my heart. Then there are the new-age, weird variations of common names, birds (lots of Wrens, Doves, etc). There are plenty of nice, normal names out there without parents inventing bizarre new ones. I once had a girl who was named, no bullshit, 'Kerosene' (pronounced kerro-senny). She had a raft of issues (drug use, no education, abusive home, in a very poor part of an already crappy town in rural NSW)... but whoever gave her that legal name takes the cake.

        I worked at a school with a young girl named "Dick". The kids would come to the library and tell me their name so I could find it in a folder and scan it when they borrowed a book. She was so embarrassed by her name when I first asked her for her name she had memorized where it was and pointed to it to avoid saying it aloud. Naturally, stupid me wasn't sure so I confirmed it aloud "dick?" I said, questioningly, she shrank a little and looked down and nodded.

        Poor thing.

          Wow, that's just horrible. Imagine being ashamed of your own name, something you had no control over and can't change (at least until you're of age, that is). That poor child.

            That's what middle names are for I suppose, they make a good plan-B.

        Not that I should tell you how to do your job, but I will anyway. ;) Should you really say this girls name in such a forum (and happily including the phonetic pronunciation), since it's so unique and she obviously has a quite distinct and rare name? Privacy and patient confidentiality and all that.

          I guess her second name isn't there, but still.

            You bring up a good point. It was in another country, and she would have graduated from school by now. I haven't worked there for many years.

          Possibly some moral grey area, but no legal problem, no as long as address and first and last legal name weren't used. It's unlikely anyone ever visiting Kotaku AU will ever meet her and if they did, it would be self-explanatory.

      Everyone compliments me (or my mum) on my name (Adelaide) because they love how "Old world" it is.

    I already think it's tasteless to have a video game themed wedding, so I disagree with a video game themed child. Ugh. The choosing of a name for your child, human being, shouldn't be an avenue to express your fandom. If you like a video game that much, great, go buy an expensive figurine or something.

      Yeah but much better than being called Apple, Banjo or Precious amongst other what were you thinking names.

      It's not like it is something new. People have been naming their children after fandoms well before video games. Whether is be sport, books, tv, movies or actors and singers people will choose a name associated with good memories.
      Often this leads to reusing of normal names but if you want something interesting choosing a game character isn't to far of anything else

        Tali is fine, cause it's just a name, you can string any sounds together to make a name, but Tali Zorah means that she is named after a character in particular. It's the difference between calling your kid Han or Han Solo.

    Of course there's a 'robust debate', if it originated on The Escapist.

      Like anywhere else on the internet is any better.

        No, The Escapist is particularly opinionated.

      It probably dissolved into the usual Microsoft and EA bashing at some point then.

    Awkward if he had Tali as a romance option.

      It was his wife's idea. She probably had Tali as a romance option. That probably makes it even more awesome.

    Thank god his favorite character wasn't Urdnot Wrex...

    Atticus, Manson and Khan - That's what I named my three boys. Fuck you if you don't like it.

    Still a far more appealing name than Blue Ivy or North (a girls name?).... As stated, it's not the love of the game they are doing it for (people are calling their daughters Khaleesi only because they love Game of Thrones, not the name), they are doing it because they loved the name.

      Funny, as Khaleesi is a rank (wife of Khal), not a name.

    My wife and I looked and the meanings behind the names.
    Our 4 girls names have the following meanings first then second name.
    Wise sorceress
    Strong Warrior
    Pure fairy

    the last had abbreviations of two grandma's names put together so did really mean anything....

    as long as the name is nice like Tali, go for it.

    I still remember going to school with a girl called ABCDE pronounced Absadee... Poor girl had to constantly fight for people to call her Abby :-/

    My niece is named after a character from the Dragonriders of Pern series and I can understand why the parents chose to name their daughter Tali. But I agree with the rest of the forum (I'm an ex-Escapist) on the matter: Keep it at Tali. Tali'Zorah is going to get that kid teased to Hell and back when she's older. I know there are video game characters whose names would inspire my child's name, but I'd make sure that the name won't give my kid some trouble later in life.



          Well, that's going to be hilarious when the niece is old enough to read about her namesake.

            I've never read the book, so why?

              Very mixed character. Kinda goes bad, has a scandalous affair and gets driven nuts as a direct result. On the other hand, before THAT happened she basically saved the world. That's my memory of how it went down, anyway.

                We're kind of worried she's going to become rebellious. call herself "Lara" and become all preppy. None of her family are equip to deal with that.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now