As those of you who read around the subject will know, coming up with good names for games has grown increasingly difficult ever since Sony used up "Dropship" in 2002. The situation is now borderline-worth-writing-about. In an independent survey conducted while driving to Aylesbury last weekend, average dads were asked to try and identify what a game was about based only on its name. Fed the titles of all this week's releases, respondents were only able to identify 18% - even when pollsters agreed to accept answers in the broadest terms possible, and when pollsters got frustrated and started doing hand actions and drawing little pictures in grime on the dashboard.
One respondent, who asked not to be named (presumably remembering that the last time somebody named him he ended up "Neville Jeremy") but apparently now has been named by accident in brackets, pointed out that Medal of Honor Vanguard sounds like something you use to stop people breaking into your Transit, and responded "something to do with shops in winter" when asked about brand new Oblivion expansion "Shivering Isles". Meanwhile, Tiberium Wars sounds "like that graffiti". What? "You know, you see it on walls round the way. Timmy Wars Ere." Respondents who tried to be funny from thereon out were forced to pay for all of lunch instead of half, which had originally been the arrangement. Future birthday meals went on to find themselves in serious jeopardy.
So what can we do about the rising tide of names that nobody understands? "The first thing to do is stop slamming names together like Heat editors on a deadline," says newly made-up entertainment analyst Trendy McZeitgeist. "'The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - Shivering Isles' is not an attractive moniker. Dashes and colons should keep their distance - like Amy Winehouse and whatever that other one is called, who TOTALLY hate each other." Former showbiz reporter Fabrie McKate concurs. "The other problem is names nobody understands, like 'Penumbra Overture'. Keep it short and racey, like a song by plucky pop princess Kylie Minogue, who will have no trouble finding a new man - she really deserves one after all she's been through."
Something clearly needs to be done. Consumers we spoke to on the streets of Chesham yesterday or the day before we can't remember agreed with the assertion made in the opening sentence of this paragraph. Avid McGamer is an avid gamer who plays games, in his words, "avidly". "Is this for a newspaper?" he told us. "Oh. Well anyway, I usually know what I'm buying in advance, but I can easily imagine impulse-buyers breezing past most of the displays," he noted with suspicious articulacy. "Half of the names sound like the sort of crap action films you see on DVD at the petrol station. There's no class to the boxes, either. That's probably a bigger issue."
"That's a point I was going to make before you changed the emphasis of the piece at the end of paragraph three," McKate explains. "Box artwork is rubbish - they should keep it simple and classy, like an album by plucky pop princess Britney Spears, who will have no trouble finding a new man - she really deserves one after all she's been through." "Incidentally," says Trendy McZeitgeist, "the name of the other one from earlier was Lily Allen. They TOTALLY hate each other." Game names then - they don't mean anything to the average punter, they're sprawled across the top of boring-looking boxes, and they really deserve a new man after all she's been through.
- 300: March to Glory (PSP)
- After Burner: Black Falcon (PSP)
- Call of Duty: Roads to Victory (PSP)
- Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars (PC)
- Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars - Kane Edition (PC)
- Disney's Meet the Robinsons (PS2, Wii, PC, Cube, DS, GBA)
- Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 2 (Wii)
- Freak Out - Extreme Freeride (PC, PSP, PS2)
- Full Auto 2: Battlelines (PSP)
- Gunpey (PSP)
- Gunpey DS (DS)
- Heatseeker (PS2, Wii)
- Jetpac Refuelled (Xbox Live Arcade)
- Lunar Knights (DS)
- Medal of Honor Vanguard (PS2, Wii)
- Metal Slug Anthology (Wii)
- Penumbra: Overture (PC)
- Pocket Pool (PSP)
- Pogo Island (DS)
- Saint Seiya: The Hades (PS2)
- Spinout (PSP)
- Test Drive Unlimited (PSP)
- The Con (PSP)
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - Shivering Isles (PC, Xbox 360)
- Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent (PS3)
- Totally Spies! 2: Undercover (DS)
- Virtua Tennis 3 (PC, PSP)