Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Whats in a name?

Just how important is the name of a game?

I would have to say it is one of the most important decisions a design team can make. Of course nowadays a lot of games are named by the marketing department, and i guess that is a great thing.

I do not place too much importance on the name from a personal point of view. Though i do like names that make some level of sense for the game. Calling a card game 'shooterdude' would be wrong in my mind, even though, in a round about way a shute can be used in card playing.

So what do you name your games? Myself I want a name that i think will stick with people, so it should be a name that describes my game in some way. Sometimes this is hard and you want a sentence instead of a small name. Which is better though? that i do not know. Single named games have done just as well as multi part named games. 'Warcraft' vs 'Knights of the Old Republic' for example are completly two ends of the spectrum, and both did well. So maybe the name does not matter. These games though were both huge and probably for other reasons.

Now lets take my first game.... Aceball
It had a ball in it and erm, we themed it to have playing card references throughout. The reason for this was that we wanted a game that started with the first letter of the alphabet. This therefroe was a marketting decision, and one that has stood the test of time. Or we believe it has, cos it still downloads about 6 a day. Is this because it is on the first search page of all the apps? Or is it becasue people are looking for bat and ball classics and mine stands out because it has wonderful artwork? Either way the naming of this game was god i think in retrospect. I was going to call it 'ball breaker' or some such :o

Now we move on to my second game.... Pellmell
I liked the name. It was a word i am familiar with from who knows when and where. It means to run headlong without to much care, how appropriate a name for my shootemup where ya go running headlong down a corridor towards enemies, firing away with your blaster as you go. However this clever name was NOT a good marketting name. Most people I have met in the States are not familiar with the word (yes it is in the dictionary). It is also bad from a merketing perspective as it begins with the letter P, right smack bang in the middle of the the alphabet. BAH! I hardly make 1 download a day from this game. The sell through is good, so i take it people like it.. Woah! now i am drifting off target for this post. Pellmell was not a great choice of name for this product. I live, and I learn.

Now here i am about to go with my latest creation. This oe is a little different as it is a licensed product. So the name is mostly set. However nothing is easy eh! I wanted to call the game 'A Dreamland Chronicles - Trivia Challenge'. This described my game, and also started with an A and finally it had the license name in the title. How clever and marketting too. Woot!
But fickle are the MS laws of game naming, and to my chagrin i found last night that i am limited to Only 30 characters in the name. I cannot believe it!

so now i am considering my options. Though they are small in reality. As i will keep the license name and also the 'A'. So there is not really much to decide in 7 letters really.

Make good choices on your name if you can.

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