What's in a Name: PopCap Games

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What's in a Name: PopCap Games
During another long night of shakes and sweats, suffering from what was surely some PopCap Games withdrawal, we pondered the origin story of the electronic pharmaceutical giant's name. We spoke with PopCap Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer Jason Kapalka for the answer:

"First thing is that [PopCap Games] wasn't our name originally. The original name was 'Sexy Action Cool,'" Kapalka told us. "Back at university in Edmonton, there was an inside joke because some people had a basement suite with this big movie poster of Antonio Banderas in Desperado. It had this movie quote at the top that said: Sexy. Action. Cool."

"It became an inside joke on how nobody could imagine using Sexy Action Cool in a real sentence. We'd walk around saying, 'You see that movie?' 'Yeah, it was sexy, action, cool.' Or 'That couch? That couch is really sexy, action, cool.'"

The company founders snagged the related URL (which now directs to PopCap proper) and continued to not think much of the name, at first. As the site grew, however, it became clear that "Sexy Action Cool" was an awkward destination for mass-market family games.

"We liked the word 'pop,' that seemed like a nice sounding word. So we started looking around to see what URLs were available with the word 'pop' in them," Kapalka continued.

"But, even in 2000, those were mostly all taken. We went through a list of names like PopFrog, PopSlap -- but they were all taken. Eventually, down the list, we had PopCap, and that turned out to be the first one that wasn't taken. It was short; six letters long. It had this good feeling to it, like a bottle cap for a tasty beverage; something semi-nostalgic. And it cost $20 to register, which was a good deal."

Kapalka added that the name change from Sexy Action Cool to PopCap wasn't instant. The company incorporated under Sexy Action Cool, so for years after, employee checks would read as "Sexy Action Cool doing business as PopCap." Kapalka recalled a time when he was crossing the Canadian border through US Customs with his work visa, trying to explain to the border guard what type of internet company he worked for. Sexy Action Cool did "look funny," he admitted.

PopCap Games is currently working on several projects that you'll lose hours, days and weeks to.

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