HOW MUCH CAN DOES A NAME AFFECT A GAME?

Posts

Pages: first 123 next last
I'm curious as to how much you guys think a name can affect the success and popularity of a game.

This stems from my past experiences. The first game I ever put out was called "The Bamford Tenement" and in my opinion it did pretty well (100+ downloads as of now.) However, my most recent game "Black/White: Renegade", despite having a higher production value, is not nearly doing so well (30 or so downloads in the past few weeks.)

There's a number of reasons why any game wouldn't do well, so I won't blame anything in particular. It could just be my bad sense of PR. Talking it over with someone close to me, she mentioned that the name of the game may not be very grasping. Though for me, I can't really figure out what a title like "Bamford Tenement" would be more interesting than "Black/White: Renegade" but it is entirely possible that that's the case. Again, title isn't the only reason my game isn't doing so well. But it may be an important factor.

So that made me wonder: how much does a name affect a game? It is possible for it to be too long or too short? Well, if you consider that games like "Evolve" and "Highly Responsive to Prayers" both had a rather high popularity for their time, it may not be that.

What about intrigue? What games can you guys think of where the title really "grabbed you?" For me, games like "Bioshock" and "Little Inferno" had titles that grabbed my attention. But that's just me.

So, what do you guys think about the importance of how you name your game?

Any feedback is welcome.

-Doctor Rocket
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
6003
A name should at least tell players what type of game it is.

From the name "The Bamford Tenement" I can immediately tell it's going to be character-driven, story-heavy, non-comedic, probably have more talking than action, and probably have a Victorian or late Renaissance setting. I can tell it'll be either a JRPG or an adventure game. If that's a type of game that interests me (and it actually is!) I will look at it to learn more.

From the name "Black/White: Renegade" I can hardly tell anything at all about the game. I can tell it involves fighting between two factions, but that's all I've got. Maybe it's a fangame of the strategy game Black & White? But that game had no story, no characters and no setting, so there's no way, that can't possibly be what it is. I can't even tell what genre it is. It could be a WRPG, a first-person shooter, an adventure game, a real-time strategy game, a 4X strategy game, a bullet hell scroller, I have no idea. I also can't tell what the setting is, what the style is, or whether it'll have a story or not. The title might make perfect sense once I've started playing the game, but when I'm deciding whether to click on the game page, it gives me nothing. Since it doesn't catch my eye, I pass over it, and look at another game instead.

...However, I would also like to point out that getting 30 downloads in one month and getting 100 downloads in nine months are basically the same result. Both of those numbers sound equally (un)popular to me. Whatever your marketing problems are, they seem to have affected both of your games pretty evenly.
Sunflower Games
The most beautiful user on RMN!
13284

Trying to figure out what effects downloads is really hard. My first game is a pile of heaping crap, but somehow it has over 1000 total downloads and 15 subs. I have games on here that are much better, but are under 500 downloads with on 5 subs, or something like that.
Depends. If it just some average, boring name like "Final Dragon Quest", chances are it's not gonna make much of a positive difference. But if you come up with something really witty/fitting/unique it can definitely have a positive impact.

Edit: Black/White: Renegade is something I would rate in the "not memorable" category, while Bamford Tenement is sort of unique.
It's all about first impressions. If it were a game on the shelf in your local video game retailer (or steam), the first thing you'd see is the name and the front cover. I've always been on the look out for interesting names of games, films or books. But I didn't really grasp the effect of a name until I saw Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, it's a mouthful, yeah, but it's off-putting in a way that makes the player want to see what it's about. So while I agree with SnowOwl that Black/White: Renegade can be seen as not overly memorable. The Bamford Tenement is a title that oozes intrigue.

Though while this never really occurred to me, and forgive me for asking, but as far as a title goes, how does Steel Spirit SaGa sound as a game title?
"A game by any other name would smell just as sweet." - Shakespeare

I think it's a demographic thing. We know that some key words good abused year-to-year, like "dark" or "craft" and whatnot, and some people know that and avoid whatever game is trying to fit into a trend. But others buy just those games.

A game I really like is called Why Am I Dead At Sea? That name is a pretty niche name. Only a certain group of people would read that name and be interested. Try to find the group of people the game itself is aimed toward and name it to those sensibilities.
unity
You're magical to me.
12403
I always struggle with coming up with names, so this topic really speaks to me. I like to hope that people will find the game despite the title, but the truth is that you really do need a title that encapsulates something interesting that'll draw people in.

Like SnowOwl said, a name that blends in with everything else and is boring is probably much more likely to just get skipped over, and I've got to agree with the others that "The Bamford Tenement" is a lot more interesting to me than "Black/White: Renegade." But I'm someone who named a game "Weird and Unfortunate Things are Happening" so I may not be the best person to weigh-in on this XD

author=Pyramid_Head
Though while this never really occurred to me, and forgive me for asking, but as far as a title goes, how does Steel Spirit SaGa sound as a game title?


I think some people might file that close to the generic/forgettable category, but personally it speaks to me because it genuinely sounds like the type of thing I'd probably enjoy just from the title XD
Marrend
Guardian of the Description Thread
20691
I suppose the titles I tend to come up with generally focus on answering questions like "who", "what", "where", and "when". Matusmori Days answers "where" and "when". Arbiters From Another World answers "who" and "where". Konae's Investigations answers "who" and "what". Okiku, Star Apprentice answers "who". Myriad Cyhper answers "what".

Bamford Tenement seems to answer "where". Black/White: Renegade seems to answer "who" and "what". Steel Spirit SaGa seems to answer "what", though, the spelling of "SaGa" (as opposed to "Saga") suggests to me gameplay inspired by Romancing SaGa, and it's ilk.


*Edit: I think the best question to ask yourself in regards to game titles is what ties the game together? Is it a specific character? Is it a location? Is it an event? In the case of a sci-fi game, is it a particular technology?
Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5331
My knee-jerk reaction to anything with "Renegade" in the title is "generic action/strategy thing, Like I'd expect on an FPS." It's been used to the point that it just has a lot of baggage hanging on it. (I'm not even sure any synonyms would be better, given the habit of various jerks of trying to claim rebellion against society as an excuse for just being a douche.)

Given the market you're going for (RPGMaker enthusiasts), that kind of thing is probably less interesting than the other quirky, character-driven-sounding title that doesn't have the accompanying baggage.

(Looking at the gamepages, the fact that one looks a lot more colorful and varied, while the other is monochrome without an interesting style to it, probably has increased the effect. Monochrome is the sort of thing where you really have to push the design to make it more than just bleh.)

I think a good title is simply one that grabs the audience's curiosity- a sort of, "Huh? What's that?"- without going too far and confusing them. Additionally, it should be memorable, in the sense that the audience should be able to somewhat remember what the hell it was a few days later. These days, having it be googlable is also an important aspect- don't give it a name that'll bring up a whole pile of unrelated results, even if you add "game" to it.

Going from the list of games on the front page right now, some good titles* in my opinion:

Pocket Mirror- familiar words, but unclear how they'd apply to a game. Definitely piques my interest. Easy to remember.

Seven Mysteries- Not as good on the uniqueness, but it sounds like it's giving the player a mystery story, which is great for getting the specific audience you want.

the Huntress of the Hollow- Just generally a sound title. Easily remembered, due to the rhythm and alliteration, as well as having a bit of a mythic quality. It evokes a specific image of the wilderness, and piques curiosity about the title character.

Ressurflection- Yes, I would check this out just on the strength of the pun and imagery. "Resurrection" and "Reflection" are both bland on their own, but combined into a word, their connotations play off each other interestingly.

Lancaster's Hall of Horrors- A little on the generic side, but I admit the rhythm of it grabbed me. Possibly I am biased because I like haunted house type junk, and this sounds very much like that sort of thing.

By contrast, the ones I consider bad titles*:
Penance- It just sounds like a navel-gazing downer.

Animal Village- Devoid of the title pic, I'd assume it was a free-to-play virtual pet or something. With the title pic, I don't have any real idea what to think of it, though the dark theme gives the impression it's another "what if I took a cute thing... BUT GAVE IT VIOLENCE?!" thing.

Acrylic- There's not enough of a particular image evoked to get me interested.

Karma Flow- the Prototype- Doesn't give any sense of meaning; it's sort of word salad. I know what each individual word is, but together they don't add up to anything. Also "karma" has been overused to the point that it's lost any useful meaning.

OFF- Ungooglable, gives no impression what the game is about whatsoever.

Sunray Village- "Sunray" communicates the mood of the game, but not much else.

Secret Journey- Bland, tells me nothing other than "there's a journey" (there usually is) and it's secret (not enough to get me interested). I feel like adding a name or a destination would have fixed this a lot.

My- Completely ungooglable, offers no useful information about the game.

the Enchanted Specters- Both words are just generic, and offer no real intrigue when combined.

Lost Dreams: the Last Magus- Same as above.

Of course, a title doesn't have ultimate impact on a game's success, but it's one thing that is definitely good to think about.

*These opinions do not reflect the quality of the game, of course.
I don't think the name really sells a game that well outside of maybe telling you what genre it is.

When you have games out there called The Color Tuesday, Space Funeral, and Can't Be Stopped (which might not be grammatically correct) I don't think the name matters too much.

But if your really starved for views call your game Final Pokemon: Chrono Bros. Z and I'm sure you get a lot of attention. Maybe not.
Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5331
There's nothing wrong with the grammar of "Can't Be Stopped."
Also Space Funeral is one of the best game titles on this site.
Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5331
Yeah honestly all three of those titles are something I'd at least check out. They're pretty good.
Craze
i bet she's a diva with a potion popping problem
14360
unity
But I'm someone who named a game "Weird and Unfortunate Things are Happening" so I may not be the best person to weigh-in on this XD


i remember the status post where that happened and i think that more than qualifies you for this
unity
You're magical to me.
12403
author=Craze
unity
But I'm someone who named a game "Weird and Unfortunate Things are Happening" so I may not be the best person to weigh-in on this XD
i remember the status post where that happened and i think that more than qualifies you for this


Thanks! :DDDD XD
OldPat
OrudoPatto, kisama!
4948
Karma Flow- the Prototype- Doesn't give any sense of meaning; it's sort of word salad. I know what each individual word is, but together they don't add up to anything. Also "karma" has been overused to the point that it's lost any useful meaning.


Never knew the words "Karma Flow" combined could be classified as word salad. I mean, is the meaning that... hidden, or incomprehensible? Does the game's title really fail at covering up what the themes of the game are or what is the meaning behind the game itself?
"Karma" is overused as much as a lot of other words are nowadays, I've never thought it would've been that much of an issue. There's a reason that's there.

Just asking as this... worries me a little. No big deal, though.






I thought I was being pretty clever with Brave Hero Yuusha. I mean, it's Brave Hero Brave Hero, or Yuusha Yuusha depending on who you ask. But to the unfamiliar, it just sounds like a brave hero named Yuusha. So I figured it worked on all sorts of levels.

Make a title that is captivating to audiences of all types. Something that people can relate to, and doesn't allude TOO much into what the game is actually about. Perhaps something that players can be a fw hours in and have it click "Oh so THAT's why the game is named that!" Naming your game something like War Of The Ultra-Specific Proper Noun won't really leave anything to the imagination.



Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5331
author=OldPat
Never knew the words "Karma Flow" combined could be classified as word salad. I mean, is the meaning that... hidden, or incomprehensible? Does the game's title really fail at covering up what the themes of the game are or what is the meaning behind the game itself?
"Karma" is overused as much as a lot of other words are nowadays, I've never thought it would've been that much of an issue. There's a reason that's there.

Just asking as this... worries me a little. No big deal, though.


I mean, it's not a huge deal, but as someone who has no familiarity at all with your game, the title offers me no clue as to what it's about, other than "there's some kind of spiritual thing? I guess?" and "there's a prototype. Of what, I have no idea."

"Karma" and "flow" together don't really make sense to an outside observer. Now that I think about it, "flow" isn't a really useful title word unless you're emphasizing certain movement mechanics.

The big problem with "karma" is that it has been stretched so much over the decades that it covers too many associations. There's the strict original definition from its religious context, which nearly nobody in the West uses these days. There's the colloquial "poetic justice" definition. There's the "just vaguely New Age spiritual stuff" definition, or the tangentially related "Japanese-influenced animu spiritual stuff" definition. It's a 2 pound sack holding 5 pounds of connotations.

Again, I wouldn't worry too much; the title is only one part of a game's marketing, and a bad title isn't likely to have much impact on your success. Heck, one of my bad titles is OFF, and that thing is super-popular.
author=Sooz
I think a good title is simply one that grabs the audience's curiosity- a sort of, "Huh? What's that?"- without going too far and confusing them. Additionally, it should be memorable, in the sense that the audience should be able to somewhat remember what the hell it was a few days later. These days, having it be googlable is also an important aspect- don't give it a name that'll bring up a whole pile of unrelated results, even if you add "game" to it.


Funny thing, none of the titles you mentioned seemed very good to me. "Ressurflection" is unique, but really hard to remember and spell. "What was that game I wanted to try a couple months ago, Flexurection or something?"

For my own projects, I try to find a common phrase and change a word or two. Some examples (that will likely never be made):
Flat Open Skies
Random Number Adventurers
The Hero with a Thousand Cards

Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5331
author=Kalin
Funny thing, none of the titles you mentioned seemed very good to me. "Ressurflection" is unique, but really hard to remember and spell. "What was that game I wanted to try a couple months ago, Flexurection or something?"



What do you think are good titles, and what do you feel makes them good?
Pages: first 123 next last