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Thread: Bad game titles

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    Default Bad game titles

    I have some thoughts on game titles I would like to share. I was thinking just now how there are some games I have avoided over the years simply due to their title. I was thinking about how Bassin's Black Bass got great scores yet Bass Masters Classic was always the one I played. I think the use of a person's name in a game title has always turned me off. I don't know if Bassin is a real person, a character in the game, or if it's just a play on words, but for some reason, when a specific person's name is in the title, I feel it just cheapens the name of the game. Another example is Al Unser Jrs Turbo Racing. Who Al Unser is I have no clue. Did kids rush out to get this because it was Al Unsers game? No idea. That name means nothing to me and I feel really dates the game.

    A more obvious title annoyance is the obligatory year in (mostly) sports games. Yeah Madden 19 sounds pretty cool in February 2018, but it 2030, how many people are going to want to play it? I doubt many. King of Fighters did this for a while too. Even Galaga (Galaga '88.) Nothing dates a product more than putting the current year in the game title and to me says that the developers don't see you playing the game more than a year after it's released. Robotron 2084 really got it right, as did Miner 2049er. Those guys were really thinking ahead!

    Some other titles are just so generic that they have crap written all over them. TechnoCop, Renegade, Rollergames, Mech. Attack. None of those titles entice me to want to play them.

    Other bad titles, for example would be the needless "The Adventures of..." in front of the name of the star of the game. Example: The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends. Does the title really need to be this long? Couldn't they have just said Rocky & Bullwinkle? There's at least 5 SNES games like this and 9 on the NES. I think back then the marketing strategy said that the longer the title is, the better, in contrast to now where the shortest titles tend to be more popular; Halo, Destiny, COD, Minecraft, Fortnite.

    The Mega Man game boy games... they are numbered the same way as the NES versions but they're different games... are they just watered down versions of the NES versions they correspond to? Very confusing.

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    The Game Boy Mega Man games are distinguished from the NES games by using Roman numerals, rather than standard Arabic numerals. But considering they're pronounced the same and, in text, gamers often switch to Arabic numerals when referring to games that use Roman numerals, sometimes that distinction is lost.

    I'm not sure if there are any kinds of game titles that seriously turn me off. I guess I just don't like when game titles are corny and/or seem unfitting for the game. For example, Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom was originally called Monster Boy and the Wizard of Booze, which was an awful title, in my opinion, because it made me immediately think of alcohol, and I don't think that association is fitting for Wonder Boy/Monster World. Apparently I wasn't the only person who felt that way because they specifically changed the title because of negative feedback. For a corny example, I've always thought the title and character James Pond was really dumb, along with all the punny subtitles for the various games. I actually like corny puns in other scenarios, but James Pond is really bottom-tier in that regard, and I don't know if I'm crazy about puns being in the actual titles of games. Same deal with Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind. I'd say save your jokes for a one-time thing in-game. If people are going to be exposed to your joke over and over because it's the title of the game, it's going to get old real fast.

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    Al Unser, Jr., was fairly well known to anybody who'd seen a race car. He was the son/nephew of multiple Indy 500 winning drivers Al and Bobby Unser. Similar to Michael Andretti and Danny Sullivan, they were highly popular to American race fans. As a result, companies licensed them for the North American release of what were technically Formula 1 inspired games, as American Indy car racing was far more popular than F1 here. Anywho, his likeness made sense, as he was being heavily promoted nationally by Valvoline, and the game was a simulation, catering to fans.

    I would say that for the most part, titles whether home or arcade, were pretty straight forward during the early days. They would often get strange during the NES/SMS era, though. Featured a lot of made up words such as Faxanadu, or Nobunaga's Ambition, often from Japan, that never made sense or sounded terrible. As children at the time, our reaction was to scoff or laugh at these names, thus failing to take the games seriously.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg2600 View Post
    They would often get strange during the NES/SMS era, though. Featured a lot of made up words such as Faxanadu, or Nobunaga's Ambition, often from Japan, that never made sense or sounded terrible. As children at the time, our reaction was to scoff or laugh at these names, thus failing to take the games seriously.
    Faxanadu is just a portmanteau of "Famicom Xanadu". Xanadu is a long-running franchise from Falcom (with Tokyo Xanadu being a recent entry), and Xanadu is a real word that more or less has the same meaning as "utopia". Famicom is, of course, the Japanese name for the NES. The only thing confusing about the title is that it wasn't changed in localization, but I can't blame them when "NES Xanadu" or any other combination thereof doesn't look or sound as good as "Faxanadu" (not that "Faxanadu" is an amazing title either).

    There's nothing made up or illogical about Nobunaga's Ambition. Oda Nobunaga is one of the most significant figures in Japanese history. A Japanese person not knowing who he was would be like an American not knowing who George Washington was. The games are about his ambition to conquer and unify all of Japan. I suppose they could've put the games through the wringer in localization and changed all the factual things to fiction in an attempt to make it more accessible to Westerners, but it's not like it's a bad thing to expose children to world history beyond what they're learning in school.

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    It was more the ambition part that was dull. Again, you have to remember we would only get 1 or 2 tiny screen shots and a few sentence description of many games. So something as mundane as a strange title may well turn you off.
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    I'm learning a lot here

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    I'll admit that the first time I saw Romance of the Three Kingdoms around 1991, I wondered what on earth it could be and assumed it was a girls' game or dating simulator or something. But then my friends and I got into it and were completely hooked.

    If a name rubs you the wrong way by using contrived puns (Chew Man Fu), trying too hard (Yo Bro, Totally Rad, etc.), random use of foreign languages (Herzog Zwei), or just making you think "What the hell is that?" (Hydlide, Veigues Tactical Gladiator, Master Chu and the Drunkard Hu), that usually won't help its cause.

    But I think a generic name is actually worse. At least a bad name sticks in your mind -- I've never forgotten Herzog Zwei from seeing its name in the BRE Software catalogs in the early 1990s -- but what do titles like Gain Ground, Wardner, or Tricky Kick tell us about their content? The first one could be anything, from football to military sim to platformer; the second sounds like a trucking company; the third sounds like a soccer game, but isn't.

    BTW I always thought that Nobunaga's Ambition sounded awesome, but that's just me.
    Last edited by goldenband; 11-23-2018 at 11:00 AM.

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    Irritating Stick.

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    Vanguard Bandits was originally going to be called Detonator Gauntlet. I like the name it got much better since it seems to fit the gameplay much better.

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    Fortunately reason prevailed* and the name change was made.

    *Well that and threatened hassles from Midway over the use of Gauntlet in the title - similar to the fuss that was made about Mystaria for the Saturn which caused the name change to Blazing Heroes - in that case I liked the original name much better and was fortunate enough to buy it under that title in the brief time it was available.
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    On the subject of changed titles, Solatorobo on DS was originally going to be Solarobo. I'm not sure if there were legal issues or what, but I always felt adding the "to" made it a bit unwieldy. (It also makes it less memorable for Westerners. A Westerner has a decent shot of deducing it's something along the lines of "solar robot", conveying the image of sunny skies and robots. When you throw the "to" in, then it just seems like gibberish to Westerners. In Japan, "to" is a particle meaning "and", so it doesn't change much. Since "sola" could be an alternate romanization of "sora", the Japanese word for "sky", they're just going to go from interpreting it as "sky robot" to "sky and robot").

    And speaking of Yo Bro, my proofreader self wants to pull my hair out when publishers can't even get their own titles right and consistent. Not only is it a dumb try-hard title, but depending on where you look (the cover, spine, Hucard, title screen, etc.), it's: Yo Bro; Yo, Bro; and Yo' Bro. My favorite is the last, as if "yo" is short for anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gbpxl View Post
    I
    Some other titles are just so generic that they have crap written all over them. TechnoCop, Renegade, Rollergames, Mech. Attack. None of those titles entice me to want to play them.
    What, you're not a fan of the smash-hit TV series Rollergames, which married roller derby to weirdly dramatised story arcs similar to pro wrestling? It lasted one whole season!

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/RollerGames


    Quote Originally Posted by Greg2600 View Post
    I would say that for the most part, titles whether home or arcade, were pretty straight forward during the early days. They would often get strange during the NES/SMS era, though. Featured a lot of made up words such as Faxanadu, or Nobunaga's Ambition, often from Japan, that never made sense or sounded terrible. As children at the time, our reaction was to scoff or laugh at these names, thus failing to take the games seriously.
    As a little kid I couldn't make out the font on the box for Nobunaga's Ambition, so for a good while I thought it was called Cowabunga's Ambition and that it somehow involved the Ninja Turtles.

    https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/nes/58.../images/139695

    The artwork also made me think it starred a samurai spaceman.


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