If you’re like me, you probably subscribe to the age-old adage, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” However, while that sentiment might apply to the Javys and Suriels of the world, it’s not unconditional. Sure, Juliet may have wisely quipped, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” – but that didn’t stop her and Romeo from dying gruesome deaths because they had the wrong damn names.
As it turns out, names really do matter – especially when it comes to video game titles. A good title, like a good piece of box art, can sell a game all by itself. A bad title, on the other hand, can doom a developer’s hard work to the bargain bin – because no one wants to sniff the video game equivalent of a bouquet of crapweeds.
As longtime readers know, I’m something of an expert when it comes to titles. I devised a ton of brilliant names for the next Kingdom Hearts and Disgaea games (that were ignored by the developers, but it’s a free world so do what you want), and I’ve aided my fellow editors in perfecting their review headlines on multiple occasions. More to today’s point, however, I have experience analyzing terrible video game titles from previous years, which I did to help the industry understand the importance of a good name. It hasn’t made a damn bit of difference so far, but that won’t stop me from selflessly volunteering my duties once again. Let’s get to it already!
Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue
We might as well just get the Kingdom Hearts entry out of the way, since it wouldn’t be a Dumbest Video Game Titles list without it. Kingdom Hearts HD II.8 Final Chapter Prologue has a lot to unpack: the “HD” is because it’s a high-def remake, the “II.8” is because Nomura likes fractions and doesn’t mind mashing together Roman and Arabic numerals like a complete madman, and the “Final Chapter Prologue” is just a lot of babble that doesn’t mean anything. I guess you technically could have a prologue to a final chapter, but more often than not that’s just referred to as the second-to-last chapter. Also, we all know it’s not going to be the last Kingdom Hearts game, so give us a break already!
However, the bad titles don’t end there – because it’s a compilation, Final Chapter Prologue contains several other abominations: Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (a classic), Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover (wowza!), and Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage. I’ll be honest, my eyes glazed over as soon as I saw the squiggly “X” that hangs down below the baseline. Regardless, Square really went all out for this pièce de résistance crap.
Super Bomberman R
Now that I think about it “Super Bomberman” isn’t a great title to begin with. However, Bomberman is a holdover from the ’80s, so I’m willing to give it a pass just like Robocop and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. What I can’t overlook, however, is that stupid R. “But Jeff!” you say, “What if the developer has a good explanation for it?”
Funny you should mention that. Here’s a Konami rep’s explanation as to what it means:
“R is a throwback feel for the devs to when games could simply have a letter and allow that letter to carry many meanings. It symbolizes Returns & Reborn because this game is such a homage to SNES and SB3. But it also means Rangers, to represent the diverse and colorful group of Bomberman characters who patrol the galaxy.”
I never thought I’d see a developer actually admit to saying “F— it, just throw a letter on there,” but there you go. Here are a couple more words the R could stand for: Ridiculous, Regretful, and Rectum, which is where they pulled this title out of.
Snipperclips – Cut it Out, Together
First things first: If your video game title reminds consumers of the existence of Dave Coulier, you’ve failed HORRIBLY. I actually really liked playing Snipperclips – it’s a clever and unique little puzzle game. Its title, however is not. Even if you omit the subtitle, “Snipperclips” sounds like the name of a place you’d get a bad haircut at. I also like how they just threw the “Together” on the end so you know it has co-op. You can tell they really spared no effort in writing down the first idea that anyone said out loud.
I guess this title might be a throwback to “Hey You, Pikachu!” but at least Nintendo got the punctuation right on its electric rat sim. Hey! Pikmin reminds me of a kid yelling to get their parent’s attention, then being surprised when they actually get it, and realizing they have nothing to say. Or maybe it’s Nintendo yelling to get consumers’ attention, then sheepishly offering up a game that by all accounts isn’t that great. Either way, the game’s editors need to go back to grammar! school.
Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite
Here’s the thing: Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite is a perfectly acceptable name for a fighting game – but only if it’s the last one. And you know Capcom is going to keep shelling out MvC sequels until we’re all floating around in our personal entertainment pods like the fat humans at the end of Wall-E. That only leaves Capcom with schoolyard tactics for naming future installments: Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite + 1, Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite + Infinite, and Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite To The Infinite Power, and Marvel Vs. Capcom: I Know You Are But What Am I.
Coming Up Next: Pour yourself a hot cup of coffee – you’ll need it to stay awake when you see 2017’s most unforgivingly boring titles…