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Developer: Gearbox Software
In 2009, Justin McElroy, reviews editor for the now-defunct gaming blog Joystiq, contacted Gearbox co-founder Randy Pitchford asking the story of how Gearbox got its name for a puff piece series about different companies' names. Pitchford proceeded to tell an extraordinary story about how he and Valve co-founder Gabe Newell mistakenly boarded a cruising river boat together in New Orleans instead of a crossing ferry, and ended up getting into a high stakes Texas Hold 'Em poker game.

The stakes in particular were over the name "Gearbox", which he claimed came about from him and Newell discussing potential names for their up-and-coming game studios, and "realizing that something cool for a video game studio would have something to do with engines and machinery." Pitchford thought that the name was "sticky and simple and gears are cool things that have both an art and a precision to them and it's generally a nice, short but really cool word." Whoever knocked the other player out of the game or ended up with the biggest stack would win the Gearbox name. The stakes were higher for Pitchford, because according to him the other co-founders would have ditched him and shuttered the game studio entirely if he lost.

After four or five hours of play, Pitchford, being an avid poker player while Newell was not, found the right opportunity to turn the odds in his favor, leading to him winning the match, and Gabe Newell had to settle with Valve. Pitchford assured McElroy there were no hard feelings between the two as Gearbox would later work with them on several Half-Life spin-off titles, and the article was published and further corroborated by fellow outlet Kotaku.

However, later that day, McElroy was contacted by a spokesperson from Valve, who informed him that Newell and Pitchford first met after Valve shipped the first Half-Life game, making the story impossible. Upon this discovery, both outlets later contacted Gearbox, and a spokesperson confirmed to them that the story was fake. Pitchford then explained to a reporter at Kotaku that the intent of his "Tall Tale" was to entertain and not to mislead, and promoted the original articles on his Twitter account as such.

It's currently unknown how Gearbox actually got its name, or if the inspiration for the name featured in the story is true while the poker game surrounding it is fabricated.
Contributed by MehDeletingLater
Series: Pac-Man
In a 2020 interview with IGN, series creator Toru Iwatani revealed that the ghosts Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde, were inspired by the Japanese manga "Little Ghost Q-Taro" and the American cartoon character "Casper the Friendly Ghost". More interestingly, he revealed that the ghosts were conceived to always be ghosts, meaning that they never died to become ghosts, and are more akin to Yōkai in Japanese culture as "ethereal beings and concepts that reside among nature that were simply 'there' from the very beginning."
Contributed by MehDeletingLater
Mission: Impossible
Developers looked to both Super Mario 64 and GoldenEye 007 as references to creating the game, especially the latter.
Contributed by GamerBen144
Developer Ian Stewart stated the 1995 movie “Babe” and the video game franchise “Command & Conquer” inspired Hogs of War. He even described it as “Worms, except in 3D and with pigs.”
Contributed by GamerBen144
Console: Genesis
"Blast processing" is a marketing term coined by Sega of America to promote the Sega Genesis as the cooler and more powerful console compared to the SNES. It was such an effective campaign that it caused Nintendo to spend millions of dollars to ramp up their own smear campaign to rebut the claims, helping to create the textbook example of a "console war" between two rivaling video game companies through aggressive marketing and advertising. It is true that Blast processing as presented in advertisements at the time does not exist in any released Genesis game, but its creation was based on a real feature that ultimately went unused by developers: a low-level processing method that was progressive for its time.

The basic idea is that the hardware's video processor is "blasted" continuously, with the Genesis' 68000 processor working flat-out to change the color of every individual pixel during an active scan, a process where the "guns" on a CRT screen move from left to right and then down to the next line and so on. It was believed at the time that this function could be used to increase the Genesis' somewhat constrained color palette to showcase 256 color static images if timed right (this number would be exceeded by other developers like Jon Burton from Traveller's Tales who later discovered the trick).

Sega of America Senior Producer Scott Bayless claimed that Sega technical director Marty Franz first discovered the trick by "hooking the scan line interrupt and firing off a DMA [direct memory access] at just the right time", as firing it off at the wrong time would result in the scan lines appearing out of phase. This timing/synchronization issue, on top of the more pressing issue of the feature using all of the 68000's CPU time (meaning that while you could run the feature, you couldn't actually play the games that use it), effectively made it useless for cartridge games, and no shipped Genesis games ever used the feature. It’s speculated that it could have been used for Sega CD games, as the add-on had its own CPU that could run the feature, but this also did not come to pass.

The people responsible for the name "Blast processing" are Bayless and Sega of America's PR team. They interviewed him about the specs of the console, and he described to them how the feature could "blast data into the DAC's [digital-to-audio converters]". When talking about how the name came about, he assumed the PR team just liked the word "blast" without understanding what Bayless was explaining, and Blast processing was invented by them to more easily and vaguely sum up the technical capabilities of the Genesis when marketing it. Bayless later expressed reservations about the phrase, calling it "ghastly".

It should also be noted that this feature was not exclusive to the Genesis. In 2020, former Sculptured Software programmer Jeff Peters claimed that they discovered a similar technical trick on the SNES before Sega started using the phrase, but it was focused on audio rather than graphics. He claims that when porting Mortal Kombat to the SNES, Sculptured Software encountered an issue where the amount of graphics data being put onto the cartridge meant that sound had to be cut back drastically. To overcome this problem, Peters and his team used a homegrown system which allowed them to read sounds from the cartridge one at a time and blast them directly to a buffer in the sound memory. While the two tricks were achieving different things, it's interesting to note that both were possible on either console, despite Sega's insistence that only the Genesis could achieve Blast processing.
Contributed by MehDeletingLater
Pokémon Scarlet & Violet
Although the Paldea region is based on Iberia, its starters may take inspiration from the modern culture and fauna of New World places that Spain and Portugal colonized and influenced. Specifically:

•The Skeledirge line may represent Mexico. Its name, secondary ghost-typing, and skeletal imagery evokes Mexico's Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a celebration of the former lives of deceased loved ones where, among other things, celebrators may dress in flamboyantly colored costumes and paint skulls on their faces. Crocalor also has a head growth resembling a Sombrero. This and the line's theme of singing to attack may also be a reference to Mariachi folk music. In a fauna sense, Crocodiles are also endemic to Mexico.

•Quaquaval's influence may derive from Brazil's culture. This can be seen in the name which has elements of Carnival, a Catholic festive season popularly celebrated in Brazil with lavish parades. In addition, it being part fighting-type and being dance-themed may be based on the Brazilian martial art of Capoeira, a fighting style that heavily resembles dancing in many of its moves. Quaquaval is also based upon the South American Crested Duck.

•Meowscarada, while possibly taking inspiration from Iberia itself with its resemblance to the Iberian Lynx, could also take cues from the Southern United States, specifically the State of Louisiana. This is because New Orleans, in Louisiana, is known for its Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) celebrations as part of Carnival, which iconically feature performers in elaborate masks, hence Meowscarada's name evoking the word Mascarade. Although Louisiana was influenced by France, it was also conquered by Spain later, along with a lot of the Southern U.S. It may also be based on Louisiana's prominent diasporic religion surrounding Voodoo. Meowscarada's species may furthermore be based off of the Bobcat/Red Lynx, a relative of the Iberian Lynx.
Contributed by PirateGoofy
Pokémon Scarlet & Violet
Tandemaus and Maushold may have dark origins as they may be based on the concept of a "Rat King", where several rats' tails are tied together or tangled by a person (although there have been reported cases of this happening without human interference). Explaining the German-sounding name of the Pokémon, the Rat King concept is named after the German term "Rattenkonig" which, in turn, is based on the villain of the same name from the short story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" who is sometimes depicted as being comprised of several mice or rats.

Also the Pokémon themselves may be aesthetically based on toy-like dioramic objects called "Sylvian Families" in Japan (or "Calico Critters" in English countries) which are essentially dressed-up mouse dolls in different whimsical small settings that make the mice look more like a human family. These Sylvian Families started in Japan in the 1980s, which is when many of the veteran developers at Game Freak would have grown up.
Contributed by PirateGoofy
Series: Pokémon
In a Q&A with Game Informer in 2019, producer Junichi Masuda revealed that programmer Koji Nishino was given the nickname "Kabi" after Nintendo's Kirby ("カービィ" or "Kabi" in Japanese) because of his big appetite. Nishino's behavior and appetite would serve as a direct inspiration for the design of the Pokémon Snorlax, including Snorlax's habit of constantly eating and sleeping, as well as its Japanese name "Kabigon", which was derived from Nishino's nickname. This means that by association, Snorlax's name is technically derived from Kirby.
Contributed by PirateGoofy
Pokémon Scarlet & Violet
In the mission Starfall Street, at the request of the enigmatic Cassiopeia, the player must face off against Team Star and their five leaders who command five sects of the group. Spoiler:Eventually, It's revealed that Cassiopeia is actually their leader manipulating the player to take down her peons. This is forehadowed through references in both Cassiopeia and the Team Star sects' names. Cassiopeia is the name of an M-shaped constellation in the night sky, and the names of the leaders' different sects are all the names of the five main stars of the constellation itself: Segin, Ruchbah, Navi, Schedar, and Caph. In addition, the geological positions of the Team Star leaders' bases on the map of Paldea reflects the appearance of the Cassiopeia constellation as well.
Contributed by PirateGoofy
Pokémon Scarlet & Violet
Professor Sada and Professor Turo's names possibly come from the Spanish words for "past" and "future" respectively: "pasada" and "futuro". Spoiler:This is expanded upon by the fact that Sada plays an important role in Scarlet (which is past themed) and Turo plays an important part of Violet (which deals with the future).
Contributed by PirateGoofy
In a 1995 interview with the game's designer and illustrator Akihiro Kimura published in Dengeki Super Famicom magazine, he stated that with Emerald Dragon, he consciously tried to change up his art style up for its different incarnations. This was partly due to him thinking his drawing improved somewhat, but also that the amount of time it was taking him and his team to make the game naturally made him want to try different things out to keep himself from getting bored. The illustrations he did for the game's 1994 light novel were especially different, but for the Super Famicom version, he made sure the overall game's image remained unified, and ultimately didn't change too many things from the PC version.
Contributed by ProtoSnake
Pokémon Scarlet & Violet
The games' Paldea region is inspired by the real-life Iberian Peninsula in Europe where countries like Spain and Portugal are. In a lot of areas of Paldea, this can be seen:
•The Glaseado Mountains are based on the Pyrenees Mountains that separate Spain and France
•The large amount of caves in the region are possibly based on Spain's own large amount of caves, such as the Malaga Province's Caves of Nerja
•The real life Andalusia Region, known for its olive fields and sunflowers, is the inspiration for the Paldean cities of Cortondo and its similar olive fields, and Artazon and its sunflora connection
•Naranja/Uva Academy is architecturally based on La Sagrada Familia (The Holy Family) in Barcelona, an old landmark church that is still in an unfinished state to this day, among other inspirations.
•The regional variants on old Pokémon also reflect this; for instance, Paldea's black-furred Fighting-type variant of Taurus represents a Spanish Fighting Bull.
Contributed by PirateGoofy
Pokémon Sword & Shield
The Pokémon Centers in the game were inspired by British pubs that concept art designer Shigeru Ohmori saw throughout the United Kingdom during a trip there. The intention was to portray an area in the Galar region were people of all kinds could come to hang out and watch the spectacle of the region's Broadcasted Gym Battles.
Contributed by PirateGoofy
In a 1988 interview with the game's manager Kouji Hiroshita published in GSLA, he stated that the first stage they made was the fifth stage, Revenge of Moai, because the Moai were a mainstay in the series and their character design had already been established. The thought for that stage was to stuff it with as many Moai as possible.

After that, they created the first stage, Artificial Sun. The purpose of the stage was to give the player have a chance to power up, but they thought if the player was given a bunch of power-ups, it would be boring. They wanted something where expert players could gain power-ups easily, and where the more players tried to power-up, the more changeling the enemy attacks would become.
Contributed by ProtoSnake
The background of the stage Shenlin Park is inspired the first prototype screenshots of Mega Man X, also known as "the white city prototype".
Contributed by SkyminHAZBOZ
Photos of the spinning-top toys Beyblades were used as reference when designing Carol's Jump Disc.
Contributed by SkyminHAZBOZ
Freedom Planet
Brevon's galactic warship, Dreadnought was modelled in Spore.
Contributed by SkyminHAZBOZ
The Aqua Trooper enemies were based on lava sentinel-esque enemies from an old RPG project that the game's creator Sabrina DiDuro never finished.
Contributed by SkyminHAZBOZ
Sonic Frontiers
Some of the Cyberspace levels have layouts and elements taken almost directly from previous Sonic games, even if the aesthetics of the Cyberspace levels don't match the legacy ones at all sometimes. They are as follows:

Zone 1-1: Windmill Isle Act 1 from Sonic Unleashed

Zone 1-2: Windmill Isle Act 2 from Sonic Unleashed

Zone 1-4: Green Hill Act 2 from Sonic Generations

Zone 1-5: Chemical Plant Act 2 from Sonic Generations

Zone 1-6: Green Hill Act 1 from Sonic Generations

Zone 1-7: City Escape from Sonic Adventure 2

Zone 2-1: Green Hill Act 2 from Sonic Generations (2D sections)

Zone 2-2: Dragon Road Act 3 from Sonic Unleashed

Zone 2-4: Shadow's Radical Highway level from Sonic Adventure 2

Zone 2-5: Sky Sanctuary Act 2 from Sonic Generations (2D sections)

Zone 2-6: Shadow's Sky Rail level from Sonic Adventure 2

Zone 2-7: Sky Sanctuary Act 1 from Sonic Generations

Zone 3-1: Green Forest from Sonic Adventure 2

Zone 3-2: Savanna Citadel Act 1 from Sonic Unleashed

Zone 3-3: Sky Sanctuary Act 2 from Sonic Generations (3D sections)

Zone 3-6: Rooftop Run Act 2 from Sonic Unleashed

Zone 3-7: Chemical Plant Act 2 from Sonic Generations (2D sections)

Zone 4-1: Metal Harbor from Sonic Adventure 2

Zone 4-6: Chemical Plant Act 1 from Sonic Generations
Contributed by PirateGoofy
According to an article in the fourth volume of the Computer Entertainer magazine, publisher Broderbund explained that the reason the hero and Princess Mariko are blonde in spite of the game taking place in Japan is because of Japanese preferences at the time, as heroes in adventure manga often had blonde hair.
Contributed by ZpaceJ0ck0
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