The truth on how Futurama's Zoidberg got his name
Names are bestowed on people in many ways. Sometimes a name of a favorite relative or famous ancestor is given. Other times the provided name comes from a Hollywood star that you may adore. Then, there are times that a person's name comes from a Apple II video game that was completely coded in Assembly Language.
The last one is how Futurama's downtrodden, but lovable, Dr. Zoidberg got his name. The second one mentioned is the reason I named my son Mr. T Alf Keller.
The game is called Zoid and it was coded by Futurama co-creator, and previously ardent arcade gamer, David X. Cohen. You probably can't recall the game because it never made it to mass market. After spending two years writing code, Cohen's game was rejected by the software company Broderbund, which was one of the hottest names for computer games at that time. Don't you think the company is smacking itself in the collective head right now for missing this opportunity? They could have re-released Zoid under the name Zoid, Created by Futurama's David X. Cohen and made a small mint. Dr. Zoidberg could have even made a cameo appearance in the game.
So why, after so many years, did Zoid resurface in Cohen's brain and become the impetus for Zoidberg? Well, according to an article over at Wired, plans were already in the works for a Star Trek-like, "Bones" McCoy type of character who would be forced to treat humans without any previous knowledge of their anatomy. The name of this character came to David while watching a space shuttle launch with Futurama's other co-creator Matt Groening.
By the way, Cohen still has a 5.25-inch floppy disk that contains a copy of Zoid. It has been extensively protected with a pin that was pushed through the unused portion of the disk. He is looking for someone who would be interested in taking the disk and dumping its ROM so he could play the game on an Apple II emulator. And, who knows, there may be a copy of the newest Futurama DVD in it for you.