A disclaimer before we start, since I so often find that clickbait titles need a little post-click clarification: by “bad names”, I mean a game whose name is either unimaginative, inaccurate, straight-up-dumb, or in any other way inappropriate to the experience. So The Typing of the Dead might be a silly name but it feels right at branded on a game about killing zombies by hammering out Shakespeare quotes on your keyboard. Now with that out of the way, here’s a handful of games who didn’t do a great job with their first impressions for anyone blessed with a basic grasp of modern English.
Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner
A lesser-known franchise from the mad auteur who’s been making Metal Gear for a quarter of a century, Zone of the Enders boils down to robots hitting each other while anime characters drone about philosophy and make those weird exclamatory noises whenever something dramatic happens. That’s all well and good then, especially since you can skip most of the blather if you’d rather get to the part anyone cares about, but you can’t escape the fact that the name on the front of the box looks like Hideo Kojima sought creative inspiration from the automatic captions on a YouTube video. And even within the lore of the universe the game only makes passing sense, like if Lord of the Rings had been called Old Dude with a Beard and a Thing for Little People.
A rare moment of Dark Souls criticism from a man whose praise-filled blog posts probably constitute more raw text than the game’s entire script. Because although I’ve uttered the name often enough that it loses all meaning in my head, kind of how you don’t realise that an innocent word like “country” is harbouring a juicy swear, Dark Souls as a title makes me think of the time during my teenage years I started writing a story about mopey vampires then promptly destroyed all evidence of it for the good of future generations. And while it again makes some sense once you’ve acquired the necessary degree in archaeology required to penetrate the game’s lore, it still smacks a bit of Google Translate. Still, when you consider that the game’s working titles included Dark Race and Dark Ring, perhaps we should be thankful for what we got.
Somewhat topical since the long-rumoured sequel/reboot/whatever is finally on the horizon, Mirror’s Edge is a game struggling to find a personality beyond a superficially interesting protagonist and an unusual focus on running away from violence rather than being the primary cause of it. Maybe it’s not surprising then that the title is basically meaningless twaddle, even after the main character tries to explain its relevance during the opening cutscene. If Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst brings even one innovation to the franchise, then, I kinda hope it’s the missing puzzle piece that explains the connection between mirrors and running around on rooftops with tattoos that look like you fell face-first into a clown’s make-up kit. Though I’d settle for having the game turn out to be a full-fledged remake of the pizza delivery missions from Spider-Man 2.
Red Faction: Guerrilla
I can’t claim to have written many dictionaries in my time, but if the opportunity arose I probably wouldn’t define the word “guerrilla” as “running amok with a sledgehammer”. And I’m definitely not just bitter about the fact that I routinely misspell this game’s name, though I’m gonna go ahead and hold that against it as well.
Final Fantasy VI
Do I even need to comment?