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1036664 Posts in 41853 Topics- by 33472 Members - Latest Member: Grouchy

August 27, 2014, 07:14:23 PM
TIGSource ForumsFeedbackPlaytestingGame Name Clinic - I will rate your game's name
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Author Topic: Game Name Clinic - I will rate your game's name  (Read 303851 times)
Bennett
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« on: November 21, 2007, 08:39:52 AM »

Pac-Man. Defender. Joust. You have heard of these games. They are classics. You think that they are classics because they were innovative and playable. You are wrong. They are classics because they have good names.

Who remembers 'Xain D'Sleena', outside of the retro-gaming nerd community? Who remembers 'Kuri Kinton'? Who remembers 'Exxed Exes'? These names are weak, and they cannot burn themselves into our minds or our culture.

In the 1970s and 80s it was easier to come up with a good name for your game, because a bunch of powerful, simple names were still there for the taking. Today you have to be a bit more creative. Good names are still out there - but many developers do not understand the power of naming.

When you name something, you instantly create it. You construct it. It doesn't exist until it is named, and it exists as soon as it is named (just ask the Duke Nukem Forever developers). The name tells people how they should perceive your work.

Even more importantly, when you are working on a project with a good name, it empowers you to do better work. It sets your compass, and creates the vision. Even if you are working for a game with a code name, the code name has to be good, or the project faces an uphill battle.

"Double Dragon" was a terrible game with an excellent name. It was a smashing commercial success. Another game in this category is "Postal".

"Ico" was an excellent game with a terrible name. It was a commercial disappointment.

What should they have called Ico? They should have called it "Hold My Hand". It would have sold 500,000 copies in a week.

---

In this thread, I am holding a game naming clinic. Post the name of your game in development, along with a sentence describing the game and (optionally) a screen shot.

I will tell you whether or not you should keep the name. If I recommend rejecting the name, I will offer you a better alternative. If I recommend keeping the name, you will win the people's ovation.

A final note: very sensitive people need not apply! I may bluntly tell you what is wrong with your game's current name.
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Terry
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« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2007, 08:55:32 AM »

Hehe, sounds like fun. Ok, I'll try.

I'm working on a silly little platform RPG hybrid at the moment as a spin off to a bigger game I was working on a while ago. The working title is The Tower, which comes from this.

Here's a rather ugly early screenshot:

« Last Edit: November 21, 2007, 08:57:32 AM by Terry » Logged

Keops
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« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2007, 08:57:31 AM »

Ico = Hold My Hand?

I don't think so O.o

I don't like Ico, but I certainly don't like Hold My Hand either. Sounds like a low-budget romantic thing or a ballad song.

Is Pokémon a good name? I don't think so either but it sells gazillions so I'm not too convinced on this whole name = commercial mega success think. Care to elaborate more? :3 With "elaborate" I mean: What are your criteria to judge a name? What makes a name good and what makes it crap? Those guidelines should be even more useful for us when picking names for our games.

If I like the answer I might submit my games to you Smiley Good luck with this, looks fairly interesting, even if I don't agree with the Ico example Tongue
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Bennett
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« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2007, 09:11:50 AM »

"I'm working on a silly little platform RPG hybrid at the moment as a spin off to a bigger game I was working on a while ago. The working title is The Tower"

'The Tower' is close to being a good name, but it is perhaps too vague to really evoke and construct an experience. It would be hard to search for on Google, and it is way too close to a lot of other game names.

You should call your game:

"Spire".


Quote from: Keops
Is Pokémon a good name? I don't think so either but it sells gazillions so I'm not too convinced on this whole name = commercial mega success think. Care to elaborate more? :3 With "elaborate" I mean: What are your criteria to judge a name? What makes a name good and what makes it crap? Those guidelines should be even more useful for us when picking names for our games.

Don't get me wrong, you can succeed even with a bad name. But Pokemon is a complex example because I think it might be stronger in Japanese, which is enough to drive worldwide success. As for criteria - well, naming isn't really a science. It's a very fundamental art. It was Adam's job in the garden of Eden. But as we go along, I will offer some rules against common mistakes. For example, never use a colon in your title.
'Ico', meanwhile, is a romance game. It wouldn't ever appeal to people who need a game to have violence and guns. A good name would have tried not to shut out girls.
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Terry
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« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2007, 09:28:31 AM »

"I'm working on a silly little platform RPG hybrid at the moment as a spin off to a bigger game I was working on a while ago. The working title is The Tower"

'The Tower' is close to being a good name, but it is perhaps too vague to really evoke and construct an experience. It would be hard to search for on Google, and it is way too close to a lot of other game names.

You should call your game:

"Spire".

I don't agree in the slightest with that name choice, but you probably have a point about its vagueness Smiley

I think you're half kidding and half serious, but you're raising quite a few good points. One thing that occurred to me reading this is that a lot of my favourite games have terrible names. Some of those games were commercial successes and some weren't. For example:

Silent Hill 2 (Bleagh. Terribly generic name for a horror game.)
Final Fantasy VII (If I was running Squaresoft, I just would have started giving each game a different title from game two - or at the very least, a subtitle Smiley )
Baldur's Gate II (Even without the "II", that's a terrible name)
Princess Maker II (Princess Maker probably puts off a lot of boys in the same way Ico probably puts off a lot of girls)
Tomb Raider (Honestly, that was barely applicable right from game one)
Alundra (There are some really cool concepts in this game, so it's really quite a mystery as to why they went for something as generic and meaningless as "Alundra")
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Bennett
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« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2007, 09:52:22 AM »

Mm, I'm not sure that "Spire" is perfect for your game, since the screenshot doesn't tell me much, but it's an awesome name. It's rare to get a short, cool-sounding name which has never been used in another game. If your game doesn't suit the name 'Spire', you should change the game so it does.

Once you're making sequels, it doesn't really matter what the name is. Nobody will judge it on the name, they'll judge it on the reputation of the first game in the series. 'Final Fantasy' is a good name, but yes it becomes a bit ridiculous when there have been twelve of them and none of them were 'final'.

'Tomb Raider', I agree, wasn't applicable to the game. But the thing is, a game which it DID apply to would have been AWESOME (like La Mulana, for example). The name certainly piqued my interest enough to seek it out at a time when I didn't own a playstation.

Princess Maker, Silent Hill, Alundra: Totally agree - I even skipped reading the reviews for these games because the names did so little for me. And probably nothing you tell me about them will induce me to look them up.
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Alex May
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« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2007, 10:00:44 AM »

Mm, I'm not sure that "Spire" is perfect for your game, since the screenshot doesn't tell me much, but it's an awesome name.

How about "Aspire"? "Ass pyre"? "Spore"?

I kid, I kid. I kid!
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Alec
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« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2007, 10:05:52 AM »

"Ass pyre"?

 :D
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Bennett
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« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2007, 10:21:40 AM »


Alright, I assume the two of you are going to submit your current project names for consideration. Let's have them!
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crakkie
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« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2007, 10:44:11 AM »

The first thing that popped into my head with that screenshot is

Death Carries a Pointy Stick
which has nice indie ring to it. That may not be a good thing, but that's my instinct. Also

Slovenly Knight
if you fatten up the PC a bit (assuming the knight is the PC). Some more

The Ascent
Siege Knight
Woe (cuz it's a bad card to get, like the Happy Squirrel)


edit: crap, I just realized the point of this topic. Please ignore me...
« Last Edit: November 21, 2007, 10:46:04 AM by crakkie » Logged
Zaphos
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« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2007, 11:01:07 AM »

If your game doesn't suit the name 'Spire', you should change the game so it does.
:D

Edit: Oh, and my most recent game name is "Mr. Heart Loves You Very Much" -- feel free to say random things about it! Smiley
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Bennett
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« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2007, 11:23:28 AM »

Quote
Oh, and my most recent game name is "Mr. Heart Loves You Very Much"

I just spent a minute or two playing your game, which is pretty rad. This name is evocative and original, but it is too long. I think the power of a name diminishes after it goes beyond three or four words. The word 'very' does nothing.

If you decide to publicise this game further, you should call it

"Heart's Desire"

I considered but rejected:
"Take Heart" and
"Heart of the Maze"
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Radnom
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« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2007, 11:44:19 AM »

I actually disagree with that, I don't think I'd even consider looking at a game called "Heart's Desire". I much prefer "Mr. Heart Loves You Very Much". It's original and piques my curiosity.
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Tr00jg
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« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2007, 11:46:30 AM »

While I agree to a certain extent that a name is important for a game, I don't think Ico would've sold more copies if it was titled "Hold My Hand". I would NOT have bought it, if it had that name. Unoriginal and bland. Hardly exciting.

"Mr. Heart Loves You Very Much" > "Heart's Desire"
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« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2007, 11:51:06 AM »


Alright, I assume the two of you are going to submit your current project names for consideration. Let's have them!

Current project name is "Deadrock, NV". It's an action zombie survival game set in a fictional desert town in Nevada. I'm considering dropping the ", NV", do you think I should?
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