What’s Your Favourite Game Name?
What’s in a name? Loads, it turns out. Flicking through the review list of a (nameless) games magazine recently, it struck me how generic the majority of game names can seem – especially without any accompanying graphics or even a recognisable brand font.
Once you’ve actually played a game, it’s hard to keep the style, tone and even characters from your mind the second your eyes read a game name. Even to the point where, personally, simple words like ‘Portal’ now entirely belong to the world of Aperture Science and GLaDOS or when a Halo has far more to do with the Masterchief than with angels and saints.
So what makes a good title?
As with a lot of wordy things, simplicity plays a big part. The working title for the mega successful Plants Vs. Zombies franchise was ‘Lawn of the Dead‘. In some ways, it’s a better title but, on the other hand, it also doesn’t describe the game play as well and also seems potentially more niche (and after Shaun of the Dead, it perhaps risked being Yawn of the Dead for that sort of pun. Hmmn… would Yawn of the Dead make a good game?)
As well as game play, I think the most powerful thing titles convey is tone. As much as I analyse titles like Silent Hill to be anagrams of ‘Instil Hell’, mostly it works as a title because it just *sounds* creepy. It seems like it’s really easy to over think names which is how we seem to end up with a great deal of very committee-conceived sounding [Insert Franchise Name]: Operation Shadow Revenge Evolution on our shelves. (The colon seems to be a tell-tale sign)
I started writing this post before we started developing a game of our own which we’re now mulling several titles for. I know it’s out there, but we’re just waiting for that final moment of inspiration and clarity that will tie everything together and seems so obvious now you think of it.
Mind you, I think lots of great games have terrible titles (again, no names!) And, vice versa, a good title doesn’t necessarily mean a good game. (Check out this great list of games that seem to satisfy neither category).
So, genuine question. What’s your favourite game name? And does it belong to your favourite game?