A common feature is to allow players the option to name their Player Character, or even other characters. It allows for a certain level of customization. Most games that do this feature a hero without a past, but many even present this option for characters that actually have "real" names. Often, the player's name will appear in a slightly different typeface, which may have been intended to remind the player that he's the one being addressed, but also reminds him that the dialogue is being generated Mad Libs style. Endless amusement can be derived from entering entirely inappropriate words instead of names. Occasionally, a game will acknowledge an unusual name choice (often for a Cheat Code or Easter Egg), or even not allow you to use specific names.
Naturally, it is common for the player to abuse this feature (in one wayor another). If you really must talk about it, talk about it there. Many Speed Runs will reduce character names to a single letter because it makes Scrolling Text messages go by just that much faster.
Occasionally, RPG designers attempt to compensate for the issue by writing extremely ambiguous NPC reactions to players' names: "And what is your name?" "Call me (name)." "Well, that's as good a name as any, I suppose." Most of the time, this will end up sounding totally inappropriate, either because the player chose a normal name that shouldn't elicit any special comment or because the player chose an outrageous, even obscene name that should be reacted to much more strongly.
Since the addition of live voice-acting to video games this presents a challenge to developers, because they can't predict and record audio tracks for whatever possibilities a player may think up. Methods for addressing this vary:
Some series have stopped allowing you to name characters at all, so they can be referred to by their intended names
Some games have attempted voice synthesis. This can be accomplished more easily in Japan using the phonetic katakana alphabet than it is in English, but even in games that do have this, the results may still sound strange as it misses out on timing and inflections, and Say My Name loses much of its effectiveness as a result.
The first ActRaiser game lets you name the god you play as. Your angelic assistant is the only one who refers to you by name, and always calls you "Sir", which adds to the creative process.
In the DS games based on the Transformers movie, you are able to make your own name up. Due to the voice-acting in all of the cutscenes, though, you are not directly referred to by name. Whoever happens to be your mentor, though, calls you 'rookie'.
All games in Zelda series have this, with the default name of Link, naturally. However, the two DS games actually use the player's name as set in the DS options as the default name. This is because the name Link is meant to symbolize a "link to the player", so using the player's own name gives more of a feeling of immersion in the adventure.
Many of the Zelda have an Easter Egg where naming your character "Zelda" gives you some kind of bonus.
Abuse of this feature was referenced by Yahtzee, who referred to the hero as "Link, when I'm mature enough to not abuse the naming feature, and Fagballs at all other times." He then proceeds to refer to him as such for the rest of the review.
And then in the blurb at the end, he notes he sometimes names him "I Say" because it makes everyone sound like Foghorn Leghorn.
Doubly true in a meta sense, considering it was abusing a stack overflow with Epona's name that led to the proliferation of homebrew on the Wii.
In Adventures In The Magic Kingdom, you can enter any name you want, though if you decide to leave the naming box blank, your name will default to... "Bamboo.7".
The fourth type is seen in some Barbie CD-ROM games, of all things. You get a pretty large list of prerecorded names to pick, including male ones, which is a nice surprise...
Sly Spy begins by asking the player to enter a three-digit "security clearance code" which then becomes the agent's code name. Inputting "0-0-7"is allowed.
The Quest for Glory series lets you name your character, but it's mostly a moot point because you only get addressed by name twice in the entire five-game series (in the very first conversation, and at the end of the third game).
The first two Space Quest games featured this ability. If you left that field blank, it would default to "Roger Wilco," which became the character's official name.
Tombs & Treasure lets you name the player character and his female companion. Leaving the boxes blank will make the game assign them names from lists already programmed in.
In Wasted Youth, you enter your name at the beginning of the game. The game tells you not to give your character a "stupid" name, because "ask the kid of any celebrity how that feels and you'll realize it's a bad idea."
The racing game called GRID has a kind of hybrid of this. It will ask you for your name, which is what shows up on the scoreboards, but also for a nick or callsign, which is what will be used in voice commentary. You can pick anything you want for name, but only choose from a list for the nick.
Modern football/soccer games work like this too, when you create a player. You may name him "Joe" and have the announcer refer to him as, say, "Ronaldinho" (or not refer to him at all), if "Joe" isn't available in the callname list. Pro Evolution Soccer is particularly bad with this, since it also allows you to change the callnames for already-existing players since the PS1 versions.
Need For Speed Under Ground 2 allows this; the other racers use no names in reference to the player character, calling you things like "Yo dawg," etc.
An old Reader Rabbit game, Reader Rabbit Thinking Adventures takes your name entry and matches it against a database of pre-recorded names available on the CD-ROM.
In modern Wrestling Games with create-a-wrestler modes, announcers either don't say your name or refer to as you as Player One. In some games, you can pick your ring name from a generic list of ones that the game has recorded. Legends of Wrestling 2 is a bit more robust, as you can select a first name, a last name, and a nickname for your created characters from the list of pre-recorded names. The general rule on this device seems to be that if you can find your name on one of those tiny souvenir license plates, you can find it in the game too.
Fun fact: There's least one wrestling game out there that has the names Derek and Derrick to choose from, and yes, they are pronounced the exact same way.
First Person Shooter
In Deus Ex, you can name your character anything you like, but he'll still be called by his "Code Name" JC Denton. The only place you get to see your custom name are in datacubes and e-mails.
And newspapers, but they're calling you a terrorist.
When someone in a multiplayer game of Red Faction kills himself, the game shows a message saying " was killed by his own hand". When someone frags another player, the message says " was killed by ". Therefore, you see gamers calling themselves "his own hand", and beyond this, is Capture The Flag mode. The flag status indicator shows "at base" if it's at the base, "Missing" if it's dropped somewhere, or if somebody has it. Cue players naming themselves "at base" or "missing."
In the original Star Trek: Elite Force, the player doesn't get to choose their character's name but they do get to choose their gender, which would normally affect the possible names. The developers work around this by saying that the male is Alexander and the female is Alexandra, meaning they can just be called Alex either way.
The game dialog, however, remains the same regardless of gender, which may have led to unintentional Les Yay.
Hack And Slash
In Diablo II, since all of the speeches are prerecorded, they simply refer to the player as "Hero" or variations thereof instead of mentioning you by name.
Dragon Quest Swords has a rather strange variant: you get to choose your name, which only appears in your stat screen and some Non Player Characters dialogues, but one of your teammates will let you pick from a couple of nicknames, and will call you that for the remainder of the game.
In the experimental game Facade, all dialogue was spoken. Since the game revolved around a tense three-way conversation, it needed to speak your character's name. So you got to pick from a list of male or female names, which would be clumsily inserted into the speech.
In NC Soft's Aion, the player can name their character whatever they would like. Cutscene dialogue is neutral and the text inserts the name of your character class when referring to the character.
Champions Online is full of restless NPC mooks whom you will often catch talking among themselves (in text balloons), saying things like "Who do you think would win in a fight between Ironclad and [your name here]?", or running up to you and saying stuff like "I bet Psimon will think twice about crossing [your name here] again!"). When it comes to voice acting, the accompanying text balloon will always use your character's or your nemesis's name while the voice calls you or your nemesis "hero" and "the nemesis" respectively.
Like the World of Warcraft example below, the game sometimes refers to whichever character is attacking, which may be a player's "pet" and not the actual player. This leads to Non Player Characters saying things like "You'll never get away with this, Battle Drone!"
In the sequel, your character's name only comes up in non-voiced dialogue. Cutscenes during your personal story will use the latest of your titles - first the one earned during your tutorial, then (for most races) one given at the start of the last racial storyline, then your current rank in your chosen Order, then, finally, Commander.
Kingdom of Loathing has familiars which players are expected to name. However, you cannot name your familiars anything profane. Doing so causes them to be renamed to "[profanity]"
Funnily enough, the only name you cannot give your Bloody-Faced Volleyball familiar is "Wilson." And if you try, it gets renamed to another brand of volleyball.
Attempting to name your Exotic Parrot "Polly" results in it being renamed "Unoriginality".
In MapleStory, NPCs sometimes call your player by name during quests. Which can lead to stuff like "Please help me, Dragon3.14159265358979323!"
Puzzle Pirates allows custom-named ships, and ship names are used in several places.
In Yahtzee's review of Tabula Rasa, he names his character Gareth Gobulcoque in order to test the game's profanity filter.
Each of the characters in Vindictus has a preset name, which is generally used more like a class title than a real name, instead using the name the character comes up with.
Wizard 101 has a set list of name-parts to choose from (usually resulting in Luke Nounverbers); however, the voice-overs will always call you "Young Wizard" while the dialog boxes will display your character's name.
World of Warcraft doesn't apply player names to actual sounds (players are usually referred as friend(s) or hero(es) in sound bits) but frequently uses it in written dialogue, battleground announcements, quest texts etc . This is further enhanced by having the script also recognise the player's sex, race and class. In some cases, older titles or whether or not the player has completed other quests related to the NPC are also taken into account.
This can sometimes lead to funny results when an NPC mis-yells. For instance, the arena quests in Valhalas are scripted, so the arbitrator NPC yells the name of the person who does the killing blow. What happens when a pet/summoned creature gets the killblow? "All hail Army of the Dead Ghoul, Champion of Valhalas!"
Also, "All hail Searing Totem VI!"
The Arcade GameHyper Bishi Bashi Champ allows you to choose from a list of prerecorded "wacky" nicknames, although this feature is removed from its PlayStation port on the compilation Bishi Bashi Special (where you're always "PRAYAAAAH WAN")
Parodied in Portal, where GLaDOS (who probably has an automated response to finishing each course) says things like "You, Subject Name Here, must be the pride of Subject Hometown Here."
Though, it should be noted that the main protagonist does have a name (Chell) and an official (though unconfirmed) backstory (a daughter of an Aperture employee who witnessed GLaDOS being turned on).
In Stronghold Crusader, the player can choose his or her name and gender. The CD has a list of a few hundred common first names on it, and on the title screen the player would clearly hear "Greetings, Lord [name you choose]" or "Greetings, Lady [name you chose]" voice-acted.
Dwarf Fortress combines this with randomly-generated Luke Nounverber-style names for endless entertainment. You can give dwarves nicknames and custom professions ("'Carpslayer' Fencebadge, Badass, has organized a party at Slate Table.") and choose the name of your fortress using a list of words that the game gives the You Are The Translated Foreign Word treatment. While this does prevent you from naming your fortress "Fred," you can name it "Goldgold the Golden Goldgold of Lobsters" or "Omnom Nomnom" ("Cluttergod the Godgod").
Nethack has renamable foodstuffs (and pets); couple this with The Many Deaths of You and it's not hard to see why some wags try to die by choking on "an unusually large wang" or kicking a "bucket".
Like every other Nethack trope, this overlaps The Dev Team Thinks of Everything. Reading a scroll of amnesia ordinarily triggers the messages "Who was that Maud person anyway?" and "Thinking of Maud, you forget everything else." That's unless your character's name is Maud, in which case "As your mind turns inward on itself, you forget everything else."
The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series allows you to name your hero, their partner, and any Pokemon you recruit (save for in Gates to Infinity, where automatic recruits can't be named due to retaining their story relevance). In the case of the partner, this can come across as being rather odd in Rescue Team and Explorers, as your partner will introduce themselves with whatever name you give them, which can make them the one Pokemon in the world who has an actual name, rather then simply going by their species name. Gates to Infinity fixes this by having them introduce themselves as their species initially, then later ask you to give them a nickname, which they immediately decide to use as their new name after saying that it's awesome (even if you don't actually change it).
Almost all RPGs made by Bioware allowed you to name your character, and almost all have involved voice acting. The solution to the naming problem has been to simply refer to your name only in the written dialogue, and only in passing. For example, you could have "I don't think that's a very good idea, <name>" in the dialogue with the voice acting simply being "I don't think that's a very good idea". There is separate voice acting for the male/female distinction, however. Knights of the Old Republic II partly averts this by giving the main character the moniker "Exile" (canonically "Jedi Exile"), while in Mass Effect, the player can only change the first name of Commander Shepard and it's is never used anywhere in the game.
The Baldur's Gate series is usually able to duck this, although in scenes with recorded dialogue, the protagonist is referred to as Gorion's Ward or "you", and their gender is avoided altogether. The protagonist's Fan Nickname, CHARNAME, is based on the variable used in the Infinity Engine whenever the character's name is inserted into dialogue.
The second game has some fun with this in the scene where you meet Drizzt Do'Urden. If your character is also named Drizzt and has a bad reputation, the real Drizzt will challenge you to a fight over it.
The original Knights of the Old Republic does a heroic job in its entirely voice-acted dialogues in avoiding the player character's name. Then comes a revelation.
In the second game Kreia is The Nicknamer and makes it less awkward for her to avoid using the Exile's real name when she is (by far) the character that refers to her the most.
Dragon Age: Origins, like Mass Effect, allows the player to give their character a first name though they will have a specific last name depending on their Origin Story. You can speak your own name — because the Player Character is text-only — but others won't use it even if you ask them to. You'll mostly be addressed as The Warden. Somehow, this never causes confusion when you have another Grey Warden with you.
This is Lampshaded in Dragon Age II when Hawke meets Alistair and Bann Teagan and the latter comments that "the Hero of Ferelden" will be back in Denerim soon. Alistair pokes at him for being so formal and says that the Warden "has a name".
For that matter, Hawke follows the model set by Mass Effect: only their first name is changeable by the player and it's never used in dialogue. It seems BioWare has moved away from this trope and into fixing a part of the PC's name.
No one ever explains how everyone automatically knows Hawke is the PC, and not his NPC sibling, who also has the surname "Hawke".
Arcanum allows you to choose any name, but still has voice acting for some important NPCs - who simply skip saying your name if directly addressing you (though it appears in the dialogue text).
Baten Kaitos also has the characters leave out the Guardian Spirit's name when addressing it, actually leaving a gap in the voice acting where the name would go.
This is fixed somewhat in the game's sequel/prequel by not giving the player the option of choosing the Guardian Spirit's gender (leaving characters free to use generic masculine pronouns). That doesn't mean it stops when the spirit's name is said during regular dialogue, though.
Bravely Default double subverts it. The party members have fixed, canon names, but unusually for a game with voice acting, you can change their names however you like past a certain point in the story.
Chrono Cross plays it somewhat weirdly: The names you give the characters are explicitly nicknames, which explains why there are several cases of characters who already have names getting naming screens.
With the exception that the game will not let you give the main character the nickname Crono.
Phantasy Star II also had the "renames are nicknames" aspect - characters would arrive at your house, introduce themselves and then ask you to rename them as a sign of trust.
You don't have an option to rename Nei and Shiruka will refuse to get nickname from you.
In Chrono Trigger you can name all the playable characters. In one instance this can lead to some pretty funny results, as when you meet Robo he identifies himself by his serial number, which Marle immediately rejects. However, the number fits in the name creation box, which can lead to this exchange:
Lucca: All right! Now what's your name?
Robot: Name? Ah, my serial number. It is R66-Y.
Lucca: R66-Y? Cool!
Marle: No! That won't do at all! Come on Crono, let's give him a better name!
[Crono names him "R66-Y"]
Marle: R66-Y... R66-Y... that's perfect! Your new name is R66-Y, okay?
R66-Y: I am... R66-Y... Data storage complete.
Renaming Frog Glenn is also pretty funny, as his dramatic "Mine name is Glenn!" moment later in the game would presumably be met by the rest of the party with a, "Yeah, so?"
This can actually be done with almost all of your party. Naming Marle "Nadia", Frog "Glenn", Robo "R66-Y", and Magus "Janus". can lead to a few "no kidding" moments.
Most bizarrely, you can rename Magus if he joins your party, despite the fact that his name is used frequently before than point (which happens a good 3/4 of the way through the game). If you do, suddenly everyone throughout history will refer to him by his new name. Even his bestiary data in the DS version is affected.
In the Giant Bomb Endurance Run of the game, an errant button press by Ryan Davis changed the first character in the protagonist's name to a B. Amused, he kept it and continued the convention with the other characters, leading to a party full of characters with names like Brono, Bobo, Barle (pronounced like "barley"), Bucca ("di Beppo"), etc.
Crystal Story II lets you name all of your party members when you first meet them.
The NES game Crystalis allows you to name the hero during the cryogenic re-awakening process. If you leave the name blank, it becomes S N K (with spaces) by default. SNK is the name of the company that produced the game. In the Game Boy Color remake, his default name is changed to SIMEA (all caps), which is an anagram of Mesia, the game's heroine.
Most Custom Robo games will allow you to name your own character (You are forced to choose a male).
In the original Dark Cloud, you could rename every single character in your party. After his story is finished, Rando still calls the main character Toan even if you changed his name.
In the first four .hack games, the main character's default name is Kite, but the player can change this to any name they wish, and while the player is called by their given name in text, nobody ever says their name out loud. However, every other part of Dot Hack that references the games assumed that the player's name canonically is Kite.
The Dragon Quest series, as a rule, always lets you name the main character yourself and never gives suggestions. III and IX also feature create-a-character sections where naming is up to you, and various other games allow you to rename some party members as well (though those do give some sort of default name first).
Nintendo Power: What do you consider the sacred elements of Dragon Quest that should never change? creator Yuji Horii: Two things: the game worlds and the ease of play. Also, the fact that the main character never has a name.
Dragon Quest III had many plot-related names. You had to create and name all of your characters. Guess which names were "not available"... well, "Erdrick/Loto", depending on the version, would cause the tavernmaster to say something about the game's mythology and ask for a more humble name.
Dragon Quest VIII. You're either referred to as "guv," or the characters simply skip over saying your name while speaking, although it does sometimes still appear in the dialogue box.
Dragon Quest IX went out of its way to avoid naming previous player characters, in that party members can make cameos in the Quester's Rest but main characters do not.
Dubloon has you naming your characters right on their introduction. Like in EarthBound, there is a "don't care" button which gives a character one several predefined names, ranging from standard names to shout outs to Monkey Island, One Piece and EarthBound.
Dungeon Siege allows the player to name the main character upon creation. The film adaptation seems to play with this, referring to the main character as "Farmer," stating that he is of the belief that a person's profession should be their name. Whether this was an intentional act of custom-name-fixing or the film's writer was just lazy is unknown.
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind had the option to name your character, which would appear in conversation with NPCs in text form, but would conveniently be left out in the audio of the NPC speaking.
Oblivion continued this differently. The spoken dialogue simply call the character "you" and later in the main quest call him "The Hero of Kvatch". NPC's also call your character by their race occasionally.
This actually caused some interesting problems in the German translation. The translators apparently didn't realise German has gender-specific words for hero ("Held" for male, "Heldin" for female)... meaning that, since the voice acting lacks variety, your character will ALWAYS be addressed as female.
In Fable I, you may as well just name your hero "Hero" as, barring your close family and the folks in your hometown, pretty much everyone calls you that, or by your title.
In the PC upgrade The Lost Chapters (basically the same game with a bit of fluff added) they omitted the ability to even name your character, and your only source of identity comes from whatever title you buy from the vendor (unless you want to be called Chicken-chaser, the title you start with).
Fable II continues the by-now time-honored tradition of not having a proper name. Now, you don't have a name at all, you're simply referred to by your title. At least it gives you a default title of Sparrow, which is better than Chicken Chaser (which is still available, of course).
The Fallout games allow you to name your character and choose a gender. The latter affects some dialog, but the former appears very rarely, and the playable characters are referred to by titles like The Chosen One or The Courier almost exclusively.
In Fallout 2 you can wind up overriding most of the other endings for New Reno provided that you're male and choose certain options, but other than that it's mostly aesthetic.
In Fallout: New Vegas, the character you tell your name to responds incredulously— apparently the game just assumes you'll pick something absurd!
Which can lead to some real hilarity.
Doc Mitchell: What about your name? Can you tell me your name?
Player: 'Doc Mitchell'
Doc Mitchell: ...Huh. Can't say it's what I'd have picked for you, but if that's your name, that's your name.
In Fate/EXTRA, you can name your male or female protagonist, even create a nickname for them.
However, the nickname is never used. Even your name is rarely used, due to being referred to indirectly by other Non Player Characters, and being called "Master" by your Servant. You aren't even referred to indirectly in the voice-acted scenes, except by your Servant.
The Final Fantasy series has held a long-standing tradition of allowing the player to name characters as they are introduced. In Final Fantasy X, you can name Tidus whatever you want, and as a result he is referred to by the standard multiple variants of you. In fact, the other characters seem to (quite conspicuously) go out of their way not to address him by name in the third-person. Oddly, this still occurs in Final Fantasy X-2 when the player has no chance of renaming him, although Yuna is the only one who really talks about him directly. Subsequent games would simply ditch the feature so as to avoid that voice acting problem again.
Final Fantasy VIII is the second game in the series that doesn't allow the player to rename all party members; only the male and female leads, the female lead's dog, and the Guardian Forces can be renamed. After Final Fantasy X, it's no longer possible to rename anyone.
Lampshaded in the DS remake of Final Fantasy IV. Namingway, an NPC who could rename your characters for you in previous versions, finds himself out of a job when he realizes that since characters are referred to in spoken dialogue, he can no longer rename them.
In the PSP remake of Final Fantasy Tactics you can name your character at the start of the game, and your character will be referred to as the name you set in text sequences. However, the main character is referred to by his default name in the voice-over cutscenes.
Final Fantasy IX plays with the trope a bit: You can't name Garnet originally, but when she takes on a pseudonym, you get to choose that. Strangely enough, her default pseudonym ("Dagger") is taken froman actual dagger, so if it's changed to anything else the scene stops making sense.
It makes the scene rather funny to just call her "Garnet".
Also in IX, there's a rare case with Adelbert Steiner where you don't change his first name; instead the players are given the option to change his surname, since that's what everyone calls him by.
Those more literary players could get a kick out of changing his name to 'Benedick', since he ends up with Beatrix.
Or those who liked to call him 'Rusty', in accordance with Zidane's nickname for him.
In Final Fantasy VI if you already know the events prior to playing or already played through, naming your Edgar character "Gerad" causes an excellent humorous line later on in the game when the character tries to hide his identity which causes the game to print "I'm not Gerad, I'm Gerad!".
Or naming Celes "Maria". "Maria looks just like Maria?"
Or in the case of Final Fantasy VII, giving Red XIII his original name, "Nanaki". "I'm Nanaki, also known as Nanaki."
Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light allows you to name all four heroes. Only one of them even has a name suggested in the manual. As a result, you can end up looking at a walkthrough and wondering "who the hell is Aire?"
The Fossil Fighters games not only allow you to name yourself, but you can, in fact, change your name as much as you like, any time you like. Tired of being named Hunter or Dina? How about Buckland or Sarah? The first game, however, did not allow you to name your Mons despite this feature. (The second game did.)
The first Front Mission game provides Lloyd as the default name for the Commander, but the name and call-sign can be customized only at the beginning of the game.
After the Larcus Incident, the Carrion Crow wanzer names are all customizable — every wanzer as soon as its pilot joins the team.
Both Golden Sun games only let you rename Issac and Felix, but certain button combination in the name entry screen would also let you rename the rest of the party.
There was also a second code you could input in Golden Sun 1 that let you rename Felix, Jenna, and Sheba.
In the second game, The first code lets you rename the party of the second game, while the second lets you rename the ones from the first.
Golden Sun: Dark Dawn restricts the character naming to just the main character, Matthew. Everyone else is set with their given names.
Growlanser I, IV, V, and VI allow the player to rename the main character in the beginning.
After successfully defeating and recruiting any one of the three goddesses in Hyperdimension Neptunia, you are allowed to give them a name, Noire/Blanc/Vert being the default names of these three goddesses.
In the Playstation Pokémon-like game Jade Cocoon, whatever you name yourself wouldn't get your name said. Usually NPCs say all their dialog except your name, which in the dialog box your name is in red text.
Both Legend of Legaia and its sequel give each of the player characters a default name while also allowing you to name them something different instead. Since the game doesn't feature any voice acting outside of battles, there's no issue with having to avoid using names in dialogue.
In the Unskippable Let's Play they named Lang "a tool".
Graham: "[a tool]: You can call me a tool. This should be pretty cool." (laughter)
Paul: He's a rhyming tool! That's awesome!
Present in Magical Starsign; you can not only name the hero(ine), you are given the option of naming your classmates. It comes with a neat detail: At least once, your main character is addressed by name in all-caps even if his/her name is not all-caps to begin with. Extra rant They actually put the effort into a tiny program, probably to be used very few times (if not once), made to emphasize characters' user-inputted names in a natural way, without using Rainbow Speak (which the game does use) or symbols around the word to point it out. (If you don't use italics, YOU USUALLY USE ALL-CAPS to emphasize something in text.) This, plus the fact that every single NPC has a unique name, confirms that this game loves names.
In the first Mega Man Star Force game for the DS, you can do this with the main character, the default name being the Canon Name. This was removed in the second game.
In MOTHER, the character name screen would prevent you from giving characters the names used by locations, important NPCs, or enemies, such as "Duncan", "Mary", "Wally", or the name of the last boss, although this could be bypassed by entering the name with a different capitalization.
Mother 3 gets a little... sick... about this. It lets you name everyone in Lucas's family, including his Sacrificial Lamb mother. The creator said he wanted to give players the opportunity to name her after their own mother. Talk about a Player Punch.
Some of the party characters in Mother 3 go into hiding and adopt aliases later in the game. To prevent a situation akin to the Gerad/Edgar example in the Final Fantasy section above, the game has a 2nd choice of alias picked out if you happen to name either of the characters identical to what their secret alias would be.
Other than characters' names, you can also name their favorite food and favorite things (the later is used for a special ability's name). Don't be surprised if there's a boy who likes to eat his mom's homecooked "Bomb" or "Sword" as his favorite meal and likes to wander around casting "PK Rape" on random animals.
Neverwinter Nights 2 piles titles onto the player so that voice-acted NPCs can call you "Harborman", "Kalach-Cha", "Knight Captain" or "shard-bearer" (and in Mask of the Betrayer, "spirit-eater"). Before you start accumulating titles, NPCs generally call you "lad" or "lass." Unfortunately, Elanee has some Narmful moments calling you "our leader" when she has no real reason to dance around your name.
Which is somewhat odd, as there are a number of times that your name comes up in dialogue but is simply skipped in the voice acting. It's not like, in cases when she's talking to another character about the PC she couldn't just use a pronoun.
In Okage: Shadow King, the main character (default name "Ari") can be renamed. Most of the dialogue in the game is text-only, but in the occasional narration, his chosen name is displayed in the subtitle but replaced by "the boy" or "the hero" in the recorded voiceover.
In Persona, Persona 3 and Persona 4, your can name the main character whatever you please, and the chosen name appears in dialogue text where appropriate but is not included in the voice-acting, in much the same fashion as some of the BioWare examples already mentioned. P4 further gets around the issue by having Yosuke refer to the main character as 'Partner' every so often, while Teddie calls him 'Sensei' and Rise, Kanji and Naoto all call him 'Senpai'.
Persona 2 treats this in a different way; in Innocent Sin, you can name the main character whatever you want, but it's not going to change the fact that his name is Tatsuya Suou in Eternal Punishment.
To compound matters, the Japanese Honorifics (-Kun, -San, etc.) are preserved in the Persona games and the other characters commonly use them when addressing you in scenes with non-spoken dialogue. This can end up sounding really unnatural if you didn't choose a Japanese name.
All Pokémon games in the main series allow you to name yourself, although you are also given a list of default options.
Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal have a widespread case of the abuse type accidentally. The player names the rival by giving his name to a police officer, the problem is that you have fought him at this point, where he has the temporary name ???. Quite a few people gave the "right" answer and wound up stuck with a rival called ???. The remakes fix this, as the rival now has the name "Passerby Boy" (which is too long to fit in the name box and is more obviously a description) during the first battle with him.
While the opponent naming feature has been used for years to make fun of your rival, Pokémon Red and Blue has the most ridiculous of all: Not only does the Absent-Minded Professor forget the name of his grandson, he will also "remember" (and delightfully shout out) whichever name you choose, as seen in this page's image.
"This is my grandson. He's been your rival since you were a baby. ... Erm, what is his name again?" "That's right! I remember now! His name is LOSER!"
The Missingno. glitch is a result of your player name being copied accidentally into an invalid memory location. The glitch is caused by a limitation in the way the battling system interface looks up the player name. When the player talks to the old man in Viridian City who demonstrates how to catch Pokémon, his name gets copied into the name location, and your name gets displaced. When talking to him later, this causes your name to be copied into the data causing the glitchy squares on Cinnabar Island.
Shadow Hearts allowed you to do this. It's Lampshaded when you try to rename Roger Bacon and he won't let you. In the sequels, you can't rename the characters... but a rename box still comes up for Roger.
Inverted in Shadow Hearts: Covenant. You meet a new character, the the typical naming dialogue opens. When the cutscene resumes the new character objects and says that that's not his name.
Devil SurvivorOverclocked has voice acting, but allows you to name the main character. To get around this, whenever his name comes up in the text, the characters say "He" instead (or other generic terms in some instances).
In Persona 3 and 4, some lines of voiced dialogue include the name you've put down for yourself. Both games get around this by simply omitting your name from the audio.
Parodied in South Park: The Stick of Truth: despite asking you for your name (which can be anything you want), no matter what you enter, Cartman will say "You entered' Douchebag', is this correct?".
Ditto with the remake of the first Star Ocean for PSP.
Not to mention the second, which also featured a huge list of recruitable characters. Not only did Claude and Rena retain their names in voice-overs, the anime cutscenes treated them as the only two members of the party.
The PSX version of Tales of Phantasia didn't use any different typeface for character names, but in all the voice-acted lines, there was a pause right about where names would have gone, or the voiced line was the written line minus the name. There was exactly one exception, though - Chester's name near the beginning, immediately before you get to enter his name.
In Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology, you are a create-a-character that interacts with Tales series veterans. Since major dialogue is voiced, people either skip over your name entirely, or say "you" or "my partner" while simultaneously using your name in text.
In Radiant Mythology 2 and Radiant Mythology 3, the same thing was done, except that "descender" was also used .. once you're at the part of the story where it's known'' to the Tales Of characters that you are the legendary descender.
In Tales of Vesperia every character is renameable but the default names are the ones spoken in the voiced scenes.
Similarly, Wild ARMs 2 allowed the player to name virtually every major and minor character that was not a villain. Wild ARMs 3 also does this, mainly through using rare 'Rename Cards' on townsfolk. Also, most Wild ARMs games allow the player to rename spells.
In another Wild ARMs example, the first Wild ARMs (and the remake, Alter Code F) allowed the player to select the name of one of the main characters as he is entering his name into an ancient password lock. Naming him after one of the correct passwords causes the corresponding door to open, after which he just enters something random. This means the same thing happens regardless of whether or not he's named after a password.
The Animal Crossing series allow you to name your character and your town. The games also let you set a neighbor's catchphrase. In some of the games, your neighbors may decide to address you by a nickname instead of your current name.
Descent: Freespace allows you to pick a callsign, but avoids this problem completely by making you an AFGNCAAP and having everybody treat you like a Red Shirt. Command addresses you as "pilot", or by your wing designation "Alpha 1". Vasudans just call you "Terran". Your squadron leader in Freespace 2 greets you on your first briefing with "Welcome to Vega, Ensign..." (even if you've been promoted and was starting the campaign over).
The air/hover combat/trading sim (it's quite hard to define it, really...) Hardwar lets you give a name to your character, which you will then see all the time, from police bounties to your hangars' names to various bulletins. However, if you try naming yourself "Gandalf", the game flat out refuses to let you play, displaying the following message: "Please insert a name that is not inherently sad".
None of the player characters in the Harvest Moon series have default names (though they have accepted fanon names). You have to give them a name. The exception being Raguna of the Oddly Named SequelRune Factory.
Also, Chelsea and Mark from Island Of Happiness, and Kyle from Rune Factory 2.
Interestingly enough, you CAN still rename them if you play as them - they just have those names for when they show up in-game as a possible marriage candidate for you (if you play as Chelsea, you can marry Mark, and vice-versa). Interestingly, Island of Happiness and Sunshine Islands only allow 6-character names for either farmer. Chelsea is one letter too long to fit.
And Kyle's kids from Rune Factory 2, Ars/Aaron and Aria.
In 'Puzzle De Harvest Moon'' the previously un-named characters were given names with odd spelling.
Actually every protagonist does have a default name. Until recently though, they were rarely stated in-game and were often shoved aside by Fanon Discontinuity.
Hidden Agenda, a Banana Republic simulator, asks for your first, last, and mother's maiden name (which is customarily appended in Latin America). If you skip this step, you become Juan Incognito Anonymous.
The SimCity games by default required the city to be named and in 2000 and beyond, to name yourself as the mayor (The default name was Defacto). Since advisers, petitioners, citizens, and everyone else would address you by "Mayor [your name here]", or sometimes use the line "the fair city of [insert city name here]". Results could get pretty crazy here, to the point of mad libs.
Ironically, while The Sims games have voice acting, they're Speaking Simlish, so players have no problems changing the names of their Sims.
The Sims Medieval has cutscenes, messages and moodlet descriptions that are all able to integrate a Sim's unique name and any titles he or she might have. Moodlets use first name only, while many cutscenes and other messages use profession title and first name.
Starsiege uses the "Define a name; everybody uses fixed nickname" variety.
In Wing Commander, prior to the option of available speech, the name and callsign you chose at the start of the game was worked into the speech text. Starting with the Full Motion Video of Wing Commander III, you could only choose your callsign, but it was never mentioned in conversation.
In fact, while Colonel Blair (as the Player Character) had his last name on the nametag on his uniform, the other pilots were tagged with their callsigns.
Sports games often call the "create-a-players" by their jersey number or team position. Some games seem to have a "bank" of names stored in them that will be read out when a custom player is introduced to the game. So, theoretically, if your character's name is "Mark Smith", it just might be able to cough it out.
In the NCAA Football series, the players all come without names, because they cannot use the names without paying the players, and cannot pay the players without violating NCAA rules. The announcers have a very large name bank they will use if you type in the names manually, including some extremely rare surnames corresponding to star players. Recently, EA even took submissions for players' names to be recorded in the game.
The same thing appears in NHL 2K9, where the international and historic players were not named in order to keep the production costs down. However, the name bank, as normal, allows you to put players back in the game... if you're willing to research all of that.
In some of the EA Formula 1 series, the players are called "The Driver", which inevitably results in the commentator calling "Michael Schumacher is first... the Ferrari driver is second!" or something similar. In multiplayer games, where you have races with five McLarens, the guy on the pit radio calls them all "The McLaren Driver, meaning you've got no idea who he's referring to if it weren't for the message that popped up that says "[player] has entered the pitlane".
The Backyard Sports series features a "Create-a-Player" option. However, the game can only refer to them by a preset nickname.
For some Madden games, they recorded commentary for a selection of fictional team nicknames (such as Sharks or Rhinos), which would then be called as appropriate should you name your created team accordingly. The stock logos you could select from hinted at what names might be recognised.
The EA Sport NHL xxxx series has tried different approaches to this in its Create a Player feature. NHL 2002 made an attempt to actually use the name entered, whereas NHL 07 asks you to select the player's surname from a huge pre-defined list, and this selection is then used in all commentary. This could have been driven by EA's decision to switch from creating a version specifically for the PC (NHL 2002), to simply porting over the PS2 version to PC (NHL 06 onwards).
Stealth Based Game
When using the first node during the Plant chapter of Metal Gear Solid 2, you are asked to enter your name. Entering the F Word makes the game beep angrily at you. Contrariwise, calling yourself Kojima and entering Hideo's data (Bloodtype, DOB, etc), would unlock a bonus for you. The name and data is only used for the dog tag Raiden throws away at the end of the game.
Played with in the PC versions of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, where you can name yourself for the games high score list, but any attempt to name yourself "Regis" or "Millionaire" would result in your name being changed to "Faker," "Wannabe," or something similar.
You Don't Know Jack was a series of PC trivia games that used the variant of this trope in which the host simply referred to the players as "player one, player two", etc. In the first three, that's about as far as the trope went. In the fourth game, the game would sometimes take it upon itself to change your name to something more demeaning, and would actually scold you and exit the program if you tried to name yourself "fuck you".
The 2011 version will supply a name for everyone that did not enter one. It is not above using the names "Duck", "Duck", and "Goose" for 3 players that don't enter any names.
Turn Based Strategy
Fire Emblem: The Blazing Sword has the player assume the role of a tactician in the game who can be renamed. This creates a funny moment if the player choose to name their character "Lyn", since the first character the player meets (Lyn) will always comment that the player's name is odd-sounding.
New Mystery Of The Emblem gives us the Avatar, whose Canon Name is Kris. He/she is like the tactician but can be controlled as a playable character and has his/her own unique (customizable) portait.
Fire Emblem Awakening also has an Avatar, Canon Name Robin, who serves as the tactician and a highly customizable playable character, but also plays a much greater role in the story.
And like with Blazing Sword above, you can name yourself after canon characters like Marth or Chrom and no one (including the actual Marth and Chrom) will pick up your shenanigans.
Chrom: Chrom? Sounds foreign.
Shin Megami Tensei Devil Children (known in North America as 'Demikids') allows you to name your protagonist before the game begins. Whichever character you are (Jin for Light and Akira for Dark version as the default) respectively are not silent protagonists, so naming the character serves no purpose beyond the players desire. Also, you cannot name Akira in Light version or Jin in Dark Version even though said other character appears.
In Shining Force for the Mega Drive/Genesis, it was possible to rename the main protagonist. In the second game, a code allowed you to do the same for the entire playable cast.
The main characters of the Suikoden games (except the third one) don't have default names (besides a few used in novelizations which fansites has adopted), so you have to provide your own name. This can lead to some humor in the first game if you call your character "Bater".
In Suikoden III, you can rename the castle, which already has a hilarious default name: "Budehuc". The Genki Girl gate guard Cecile is rather exuberant in chanting the castle's name over and over again; this plus the already-hilarious default name becomes very tempting...
It's not just Suikoden III. You can rename the castle in virtually all the games with default suggestions from other characters.
Renaming your castle (on in Suikoden IV's case, your ship) is constant in all five main-series games. II and V also give you the option to name your ARMY, however. In Suikoden II, your army's name eventually goes on to become the name of the country/state forged at the end. Since one of the initial suggestions from Jowy is "orange", you could wind up being responsible for giving an entire country this name. Or you could name it after the hero for maximum megalomania.
The second Vandal Hearts game allows you to name the main character in the beginning.
Turn Based Tactics
Worms, which allows you to name your own team as well as opponents - giving you, for example, the chance to kill Sephiroth with an exploding sheep! ("Sephiroth is an ex-worm.")
Wide Open Sandbox
The Godfather: The Game allows your character to be named anything, but this doesn't affect the game at all. The respectful characters tend to use 'Hey, You!' or 'Son'. Not even choosing the name 'Michael' does anything. And at the end, your 'real' name is revealed anyway.
There's an interesting bit of Painting the Medium on an FBI Agent's outline of the Corleone Family structure, with a picture of members with their names and nicknames. Under your picture is the name "Aldo Trapani."
Minecraft allows players to rename creatures of all kinds by renaming their spawn eggs (only in creative mode unless an adventure map allows players to get them) via the anvil. Whether it is the docile pig or the aggressive Creeper, you can use any name. Naming a mob Dinnerbone or Grimm will flip the mob's model upside down as an easter egg since those names are based on the developers of the game. Mobs that are give a custom name will also never vanish from the game unless killed, making it handy to keep your pet wolf or horse at your side.
Terraria also features such in the character creation and NPC's refer to the player by their name when talked to.
CLANNAD allows you to do this. It can cause giggles later on, though, if one is using the English patch: because "Tomoya Okazaki" is a variable (like when your typed in name is in a different font/highlighted) it is "untranslated" and as such its kanji will appear in a field of English text.
If one is playing with the voice patch or the PS2 version, the characters will still refer to him as "Tomoya Okazaki," making the entire naming process pointless.
In Sony's special "Hall of Play" marketing campaign, Facebook users can navigate their own personal Halls. One of the links will cause an advertisement to play, and taking the first name from the user's Facebook profile, various video game characters will honor them for their continued valor (i.e. "To Michael! To Michael!"). However, if the name isn't pre-recorded, the characters will simply chant "To you! To you!"
Anime and Manga
One case in Detective Conan involved a kidnapped child and a strangely worded ransom note imploring his older brother to "help me... bring Mamoru back to life." When Conan investigates Mamoru's room, he discovers that Mamoru had been playing a video game where the hero dies partway through, and the player must find a way to revive him before they can move on. Mamoru had used his own name for the hero/save file, which helps Conan deduce that the boy's message was actually him telling his brother that he'd gone to a friend's house so they could help him bring the hero back to life, and that the "kidnapper" had altered the note to make it seem more menacing.
In The Firesign Theatre's comedy album, I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus, the events take place in an automated amusement park. The protagonist, Clem, is taken by surprise when a recorded greeting asks him his name, and he stutters, "uh, Clem". For the rest of the trip, he keeps running into park animatrons who say things like, "I sure am happy to see you, [uh Clem], please walk this way." To make the cut-and-paste even more obvious, the bulk of the sentence is delivered in a "professional actor" voice, while the "[uh Clem]" part is a tinny low-fidelity soundclip of Clem's original response, playing at lower volume than the canned line.
There is an LoadingReadyRun skit in which all the actors pretend to be in the "LRR CD-ROM Game", getting very annoyed when the viewer doesn't do anything. Near the beggining, Graham asks your name several times before deciding to call the viewer by the name displayed in the input box, "TypeYourNameHere". That name even appeared in the closing credits.
In a scene in Idiocracy, Joe Bauers is asked by an ID machine what his name is, according to a government document Joe has never heard of. He answers, "I'm not sure if—", before the machine declares that his name is now "Not Sure."
One of the Bunnicula books featured a dog whose New Yorker owners, trying to be cute, gave it the name "Taxi," which resulted in a confused dog and an angry taxi driver whenever they tried to call him.
A running gag in the City Watch Discworld novels is the fact that Vimes never bothers to fill out the registration for his Dis-Organizer. Because of this, it always refers to him as Insert Name Here.
Also in Discworld, the Oath of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch is written in this style, but new members generally say it exactly as written instead of making the appropriate substitutions:
I, [recruit's name], do solemnly swear by [recruit's deity of choice] to uphold the Laws and Ordinances of the city of Ankh-Morpork, serve the public trust, and defend the subjects of His/Her [delete whichever is inappropriate] Majesty [name of reigning monarch] without fear, favour, or thought of personal safety; to pursue evil-doers and protect the innocent, laying down my life if necessary in the cause of said duty, so help me [aforesaid deity]. Gods Save the King/Queen [delete which is inappropriate].
It's even better when it's read the way Carrot reads it, because he has a problem with punctuation. "I comma square bracket recruit's name square bracket comma do solemnly swear by square bracket recruit's deity of choice square bracket to uphold the Laws and Ordinances of the city of Ankh-Morpork comma serve the public trust comma ..." Or if you read it with the archaic spelling. I know there's a reading, done by Carrot, where he pronounces it "truft" because the s was a long s, not that that makes any sense at all, but there you are.
Seeing as Carrot was raised as a dwarf, and dwarves have a religious regard for the written word, and the long s resembles an f, it sort of makes sense in context.
In Bitterblue (Part of the Graceling series), the title character allows Teddy and Saf to name her because she doesn't want them to recognize her nam as that of the Queen. (Let's face it— how many Bitterblues can there possibly be in Bitterblue city?) They call her Sparks.
In the sport-themed comedy panel show A League Of Their Own (not to be confused with the movie of the same name), one of the contestants did this with, of all things, a horse. He told the story of how he bought a horse and named it "Some Horse", just to get the announcer at races saying things like "And Some Horse is coming round the outside" or "And in fifth place, it's Some Horse".
Annie: Please rename that thing. And this time not with a contest on Twitter. Troy: It's HIS Twitter account. He can do what he wants. Annie: They are MY body parts.
Referenced in Doctor Who. Apparently, the anthem of the most conquered planet in the universe is titled "Glory to Insert Name Here".
In Stargate SG-1, Colonel Maybourne retires to an offworld village, where the locals make him their king. He tells the main characters, "I get to name all kinds of stuff. You should see the Grateful Dead Burial Ground."
Children Music CDs pumped out by Kids Jukebox Inc allows the buyer to customize the CD by inserting their name into the song. The end result can be Narmish.
At the Universal StudiosE.T. Adventure theme park ride, visitors have to help E.T. return to his dying home world and heal it. Guests enter their names for an "Interplanetary Passport" before boarding; at the end of the ride, the visitors pass an animatronic E.T., who thank them by name. The potential for abuse from repeat riders should be obvious...
Certain toy companies tried to cash in on this trope. Fisher-Price came up with a bunch of plushes (the Knows Your Name line) from Winnie the Pooh to Elmo that you can program your name into and it will say your name. Leap Frog upped the ante with the My Pal Scout and Violet plushes, and then supplemented it with the My First LeapTops and My First Story Time Pads, which adds Mad Libs Dialogue to the toys as well - for example, the toys may claim to have the same favorite color as the owner. And then V-Tech rips off Leapfrog with Smart Cubs Cody and Cora, with both interactive plushes and toy laptops. All are programmed by downloading the selected name from a list into the toy using a USB cable. Microsoft topped it by making the Actimates programmable wirelessly if you have an expansion pack. And there's plenty more examples out there, too. And the company mentioned above, Kids Jukebox Inc, also puts out various toys that can be customized with the owner's name.
Older than that, there was a story-telling teddy bear that had a built-in microphone. You'd press the Record button and record your name (which, as with other examples on this page, could be anything), and it would insert the recording at random points in the stories. So, for example, it could greet you by saying, "Hello, [Dammit, Hardison!], it's time for a special story!"
Parodied several in the MS Paint Adventures storyline Homestuck. The four main characters are named demeaning names at first (such as "Farmstink Buttlass"), then express their displeasure and receive proper ones instead.
Subverted, however, with Jack Noir. He states that, while the suggested name (Spades Slick) sounds nice, he already has a name. Besides, Spades Slick is the name of an alternate version of him from another Sburb instance. And Sovereign Slayer sounds cooler anyway.
Subverted once again with the Alpha kids, who are 16 when the narrative switches to them, and thus already recieved names (both the original kids and the Alpha kids recieve their names at 13.) Besides, the reader would've just named them something dumb like Barnstench Fartface.
The Noob also had this in spades, with names like "Your Name Here" and "ohforf'sake", and the elf forest where everyone was named some variant of Legolas.
Being a parody of JRPGs in general, RPG World uses a typical RPG naming dialog box whenever a new member joins the party. Particularly notable is when a woman named Lienne attempts to join, only to be renamed "Diane" by the hero mid-sentence.
Parodied in Super Effective, the side project of VG Cats creator Scott Ramsoomair, where the protagonist Red reminds Professor Oak that his Grandson is named "Douche".
Later in the same comic, Red's Pokédex tries to get him to do this with his Pokémon ("You should name it 'Butts'! 'Butts used GUST'! Hahaha...").
Any time a person, place, or thing can be renamed in a game, bringing the matter up for a vote is a time-honored tradition in the Something AwfulLet's Play forum. A Genre Savvy LPer will be quick to ban obvious joke names ("Dongs" is generally not a valid name for this reason), but sometimes the goons do come up with pretty clever Theme Naming schemes.
The Game Grumps often have fun with this. From the top!
Eek! The Cat: Eek avidly watches a 'personalized fiction' video starring the Dummie Bears. The cartoon bears' dialogue is awkwardly broken in several places to insert "EEK THE CAT" in a droning computer monotone, during which the speaking bear's mouth is pixelated, but Eek is enchanted nevertheless.
The Fairly OddParents: When Norm the Genie introduced himself to Crocker, he read the introduction from a card. "Hello, insert human's name here,..."
Futurama: Fry's Lucy Liubot had this feature; she would say things like "I love you, Philip J. Fry", saying his name in a mechanical tone at odds with the rest of her dialogue.
In Phineas and Ferb, Lawrence one time forgets his and Linda's anniversary, leading him to hire the services of "Love-On-The-Go". The script reads as follows;
Lawrence: ....lead the way for the lovely lady with a wave of your hand. "For you, and only you, [Insert-Your-Name-Here]..."
Skinner: [over PA] Attention, this is Principal Skinner, your principal, with a message from the Principal's Office. All students please proceed immediately to an assembly in the Butthead Memorial Auditorium. [to himself] Dammit, I wish we hadn't let the students name that one.
Also from The Simpsons: The episode where Bart and Lisa go to Kamp Krusty they are given a welcome speech from the very boring and monotone Mr. Black. He plays a tape of Krusty very enthusiastically welcoming them to camp. He then introduces "My very best friend in the whole wide world <>" with the <> being very obviously said in Mr. Black's monotone voice.