No matter what kind of an impact a game has after tons of time and money are spent on developing it, it’s by a single word or phrase that it will be ultimately be identified with. Using just a few words at most, a game’s title is meant to either tell you what the game is about, or at the very least must be snappy and memorable.
Unfortunately, not every title succeeds at this. To be fair, coming up with a title for anything, regardless of how big or small in scope, can be pretty tricky. Yet while some game titles simply have titles that make you think “meh,” others make you wonder why anyone would want such a phrase associated with their product.
Of course, this isn’t the first time anyone’s ever written about crap-ass game names. In fact, a quick Google search will reveal at least a couple written fairly recently. However, those always pick on crappy games. “Awesome Possum Kicks Dr. Machino’s Butt” is already a terrible game, do we really need to make fun of its name on top of it, too?
So in the spirit of my Terrible Games by Quality Developers article, here are some damn good games with some unfortunate monikers.
The word “infamous” works pretty well as a title for Sucker Punch’s inaugural PS3 game. Following a crazy accident, protagonist Cole MacGrath gets even crazier electrical powers that only get more powerful as the game progresses, with the city turning against him along the way — easy enough.
But just what the hell is the deal with the ridiculous caps-locking that occurs one syllable into the word? Am I supposed to whisper “in,” then yell “FAMOUS” at the top of my lungs? Did someone’s caps lock key spaz out while typing the word, and they decided to go with it? I don’t understand.
On top of that, I refuse to type it that way under any circumstance. Why? Because I graduated elementary school, that’s why.
Bulletstorm / Killzone
I was thinking about giving these each their own separate entries, but there names are so equally stupid for the exact same reason, and their names so interchangeable, that I’d have serious trouble writing them without repeating myself verbatim.
They both sound like something you’d hear in an out-of-touch Law & Order episode, or whatever piece-of-crap show that NBC or CBS decide needs 13 different spin-offs. You could switch the titles of both games and nothing would change. Hell, you could even mix them up (BULLETZONE & KILLSTORM) and they’d be no less generic.
I’m looking forward to someone making a game called ShootKill, a game where, get this, you shoot and kill dudes. For hours and hours. I can’t wait for 10th-grader Billy to get the high score, causing him to rape and kill his way through his high school!
Not too long ago people underestimated the power of the apostrophe, like the smug bastards that we tend to be. Then along came Demon’s Souls and turned that shit upside down, making us question everything we thought we knew about plural possessives.
It’s been almost two years since this game came out in the United States and I still don’t understand what From Software was trying to convey with the title of their otherwise-fantabulastic masochism-fest. A single demon in possession of several souls? Are they all his own? Did he take them? Was the apostrophe simply transfixed? Was “Souls” meant to be singular?
Most importantly: Why does it bother me so goddamn much? I don’t know what’s worse: the ridiculous apostrophe or the menstrual-looking Greatest Hits box it’s currently stamped on while resting on my shelf.
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix
Look, we understand that there are no less than 6 dozen versions of Street Fighter II floating around, and that naming each new iteration is difficult without sounding ridiculous, but come on.
It’s as if they’d decided that they should aim for being the longest title on XBL or PSN, but they couldn’t even get that right.
Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness
Beating SSFIIT*GASP*HDR to the long-winded punch was this masturbatory title. Look, we get that your brand is important to the marketing of the game, but the art style speaks for itself in this case. People that read Penny Arcade will recognize it instantly, and those that don’t read the webcomic can be referred to it with a simple “By the guys that bring you Penny Arcade” blurb in the store description.
I mean, just look at that beastly son of a bitch! Nothing is gained by tacking on the phrase “Penny Arcade Adventures,” and nothing is lost by removing it. It’s just … there, latching onto what’s already too long of a title. It doesn’t even fit in the heading correctly, fer crissakes.
It’s pretty easy to make fun of any title that isn’t a part of the mainline Halo series. Halo 3: ODST is downright confusing to anyone that knows dick about the franchise, and this past fall saw more lazy Reach-Around jokes than I care to count.
But what makes Halo Wars so particularly bad? Unlike the other crappy names, it manages to tell you zero about what to expect. Hardcore Halo nuts appreciate what ODST means and know what to expect out of a game set on Reach. Halo Wars, though? As opposed to the war-less Halo games that came before it? Give me a break.
Ensemble Studios should’ve cut the crap and just called it what it was: “Halo RTS That We’re Being Forced to Make For Your Xbox 360 When We’d Rather Make a New ‘Age Of Empires’ on PC Instead,” or HRTSTWBFTMFYXB360WWRMANAOEOPCI for the attention span-deprived.