December 5. 2003

This is one of those things that you don't usually know till you stumble into something random. It's been thought that the Koopalings were designed based around the members of SMB3's graphical staff. However, where the names originated from was never explained, until now. I may have stumbled on the "Holy Grail" of Koopaling facts.

On December 9, 2000, I was watching a show on VH1 that profiled outlandish and peculiar musicians and bands. I was on my computer working on random stuff, not really paying attention to what was going on on TV.  However, I stopped what I was doing when I heard the name of the raunchy female lead singer of an 80's punk band called the Plasmatics: Wendy O. Williams. Of course, I was instantly reminded of another Wendy, Wendy O. Koopa. Then I started to see a connection. Earlier on, they interviewed a punk singer named Iggy Pop. This got me thinking. After researching for musicians and similar professions up to the year 1988-1990 on the Internet, I have came to the conclusion that the Koopalings could be named after media celebrities! Keep in mind that this might or might not be the true origin of how the Koopalings got their names. However, the chance that might be sheer coincidence is low. Nintendo has done this name play before. In SMB3, Boo Diddley might be a pun on Bo Diddley, a 1950's musician. In either case, here are my findings:

Ludwig von Koopa

Ludwig von Beethoven (1770 - 1827)

Considered to be the one of, if not the, most talented composer of all time, Beethoven has composed hundreds of chamber, piano and orchestral music, including the famous Fur Elise and the Moonlight Sonata.


Lemmy Koopa

Lemmy Kilmeister (b.1945)

Born Ian Kilmister, Lemmy is the main vocal and bass player for the 70's metal band, Motorhead.


Roy Koopa

Roy Orbison (1936-1988)

 He was a very popular 1960's pop singer, who was idolized by Elvis Presley. He was known for wearing thick-rimmed tinted glasses.


Iggy Koopa

Iggy Pop (b.1947)

 Born James Newell Osterberg and called the "Grandfather of Punk," he picked up the nickname Iggy when he was a drummer with the Iguanas in 1964


Wendy O. Koopa

Wendy Orlean Williams (1949-1998)

 Lead singer of the 1980's punk band, the Plasmatics, she was known for blowing up equipment and chain-sawing guitars.


Morton Koopa Jr.

Morton Downey Jr. (1934-2001)

A former chain-smoker whose provocative late 80's talk-show, "The Morton Downey Jr. Show," is sometimes credited for defining the sleazy talk-show format of the 90's.


Larry Koopa

Larry King (b.1933)

The famous talk show host of CNN's "Larry King Live", Larry has been broadcasting for over 40 years, interviewing everyone from celebrities to world leaders.

And here's something that I just came across. There is a possibility that the Koopalings' names are really American creations, and that the original Japanese SMB3 never named them until after the US version of SMB3 came out. I was led to this conclusion when I got the Japanese Famicom version of SMB3 recently, which has a similar layout as the US manual. The JP manual doesn't list the names of the Koopalings at all, unlike the US version which did.. They were never named in the game, neither, either in the Japanese or American version.

Japanese Version (1988)
American Version (1990)
Here is a comparison between the two pages. The Japanese version from 1988, and the US version in 1990. No where in the Japanese manual are the Koopalings named.

I still don't know if this is true, though, or just another case of coincidence, but this could also explain why the cartoon version of the Koopalings were named differently than the game. DiC most likely never used the official Koopalings' names because they never had names to begin with at the time the show was under production until after the cartoon and the game were released here. I couldn't find an instance of when the Koopalings were referred to by name before the game's release in Nintendo Power magazine.

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