Dungeons & Dragons used to be huge but when I was growing up. I would visit my grandmother who lived in the middle of Manhattan during my summer or spring breaks from school. In most apartment buildings in NYC, some handymen live at the bottom floor called super (not sure why but that’s the title). They are the person you call if your door was stuck, pipes in the bathroom were broken, a leak in the roof or floor, or things like that. This super, named Victor, had an older son who played D&D and since I hung out with his younger brother Ivan, I was invited one day to play.
I used to watch my friend’s brother and his older friends chat into the night about these fantastical adventures they were embarking upon, yet there were no screens, consoles, or controllers that I could see. What exactly were they talking about, and how did you play a game without a board or a cartridge? It piqued my curiosity, so when they asked if I would be interested in playing a campaign, I was excited to join.
For those that have never played D&D, you need to make a character on a sheet. It’s a detailed sheet that you fill out with your character’s information like gender, race, class, name, age, and stat points that you roll to decide on. It was kind of like making a character in Final Fantasy XIV but different since that game was nowhere near released at that time!
A name means a lot in life, even when it’s fictional like a game. When asked what my character would be called, I had no idea what name to bestow upon him. I explained that his appearance was Goku when he was little, like in Dragonball with his tail before it was cut off. Mulling through my mind, I thought of the word Samurai since it reminded me of Japan so I started to toy with changing around the letters and I came up with Samuru. It’s pronounced just like it’s spelled and I had never heard of the word before, so I thought it was just a random avatar name.
I had a lot of fun over the years playing D&D with that group of friends, but as my visits were less frequent to New York as I would have liked and life got busier I couldn’t keep up with them. It was a time without any social media except AOL chat, so that didn’t help either!
Being a geek in my middle and high school years thanks to the exposure I had playing D&D, watching bootleg anime VHS tapes, listening to J-Pop, and playing countless hours of videogames I made my campaigns with my friends. Of course, Samuru was part of the adventures and I was even able to publish (sort of) a small fiction book in middle school based on those characters my friends and I created for D&D.
I looked up the meaning of Samuru for fun on Google one day, and to my surprise, it means “His Name Is God” and its origin is Japanese! What’s crazy is that I was thinking of the word Samurai because it related to Japan, so I was pretty shocked when I first found that out. Taking it a step further into seeing how this was God who gave me the idea, my name is Michael which means who resembles God. It’s not the same as Samuru, but it’s pretty close!
I give God the glory that this coincidence happened with me choosing that name, and I wasn’t even a Christian back then either so I wasn’t praying about the right name or anything like that. Years later I still use it to this day for just about every username, videogame main character name, or personal login on websites. The connection I have to the name is long-lasting and is nostalgic to even think about, even while writing this post.
What’s your username/avatar’s origin story? Let me know in the comments so I can get to know the meaning, even if it’s simple and not a long story like mine.