Popular for having created the Pokemon series, game development company Game Freak is having its name changed to Game Maniac in China. In addition, it is already a trademark.
Twitter user, @sirena, came across the change which she described as an alteration of the label in Chinese. Essentially, shifting the word “freak” to “maniac” as a result.
Game Freak changed and trademarked its official name in China.
Game Freak was formerly known as 遊戲富利克
(Where 遊戲 is game, while 富利克 is a phonetic translation of freak)
It is now known as 遊戲狂想家 which is more like Game Maniac.
The new name sounds less foreign. pic.twitter.com/nPwDPm7o36
— sirena (@852_sirena) September 20, 2020
For the Chinese market
While Game Freak themselves did not officially send out a word about the change, Sirena has a deduction about the initiative. According to her, the Chinese equivalent of the word “maniac” has a “less foreign” sound to it. All the while not necessarily modifying the intensity with the original name.
If that statement is anything to go by, it’s likely that the relabeling has something to do with appealing to locals. One that could get to the better nature of the local Chinese market.
Adding more to the notion is the fact that the local word for “freak” in China comes with a negative connotation. That is when taking the word for its literal meaning. Which, in contrast, is not the case in the Western world, where the word itself comes with open acceptance.
Game Freak through the years
Prior to delving in video games and starting a phenomenon that is the Pokemon series, Game Freak was originally a magazine company. The company’s early beginnings draw back into the 1980’s as a joint business between Ken Sugimori and Satoshi Tajiri.
The name of the company got itself from Tajiri who, as a freelance writer, used it as a pen name. A career which sees him writing for publications at the time, such as for Famicom Tsushin and Family Computer Magazine.
It was not until April 26, 1989, when the founders of the magazine company decided to enter the fray of the video game industry. The game started off with an action-puzzle game, Quinty (Mendel Palace in North America), for the Nintendo Entertainment System.
Game Freak subsequently continued developing games for several more years, until hitting a gold mine with the first Pokemon games in 1996. Dubbed Pokemon Blue and Pokemon Red, the games were a blockbuster hit in the Nintendo Game Boy.
For much of its existence, Game Freak’s success comes mostly with each entry in the Pokemon series. Some being better or worse received than others.
As of May 2019, Game Freak has committed itself to prioritizing the development of new IPs. An initiative is driven by the Gear Project campaign that seeks to diversify its portfolio and also augment the experience of its staff.
Image used courtesy of Liga Jade CR/YouTube Screenshot