Monday, August 28, 2017

Finding a Name for an Impossible to Name Game

William

I've been talking about my current project on this blog for 2 months now, and so far the best I've been able to call it is Game X.  This isn't an attempt to be 90's XsTrEmE or anything, it's just what I consider to be a completely empty placeholder name like Jane Doe or Hayden Christensen.

So, in these past weeks I've been trying to think of what I could possibly name my game.  If I were writing a book, I might want to wait until I've written the entire manuscript before giving a stab at an official title.  But, alas, I'm making a game which I'm writing a blog for to somewhat market it, so giving a title that readers and fans can latch onto to look for news on it in the future will be paramount moving forward.

But, how on Earth do I give a title to a game like this?

A Title as a Short Description

One of the first roles that a title plays for the consumer is the role of a description of what to expect in the game.  This is definitely the first area where I'm going to have trouble.  The game's story takes a lot of twists, and I'm afraid to reveal the most major themes all at once.  The gameplay is also all over the place, switching between arcade shooter mechanics, survival adventure game approach, and some RPG elements.

For just about every blog post I've made so far about this game, I take the first few sentences attempting to describe what the player does in the game.  Now I'm beholden to describe it in not just as few words as possible, but in no more than five syllables tops.  It's a daunting task.

These guys know the struggle.

So, I decided to come up with some words that could help describe the game and some of its more obvious themes:

-Space, infinite, infinity, dimensional, multiversal, and otherworldly are all words that describe the overall gimmick of the game: you explore a multiverse of infinite strange worlds.
-Nomad, traveler, wanderer, vagabond, hobo, and explorer all explain the role that the main player character takes.
-Jump, shift, teleport, portal, hop, and leap are all good words for what the player does the most in the game: jump from universe to universe.

These words are good jumping off points for finding a name I would be comfortable with moving forward.

The Title as a Business Card

Something that Gabe and I found out shortly after releasing our game See No Evil was that when you google "See No Evil" our game doesn't come up because "See No Evil" is a really common phrase in pop culture.  This undoubtedly hurt our sales, which at the time was a fairly big deal to us.  Currently, if my sales are significantly hurt then my days of trying to make game development a full time career might be on the line.

So, the goal is to make something that's quick, catchy, and not over-saturated as a search term.  When people hear the game's title, that title should be able to stick in their memory and then later act as a way for them to instantly find out more information about it.  It needs to be the perfect business card.

If the title of my game doesn't make Patrick Bateman want to murder me, I've failed.

The Title as a Domain

Gabe had reminded me that one of the important aspects of having a game title act as a business card was that we need to make sure I could secure a domain and ensure it would rise to the top of Google searches.

He and I started putting combinations of these words together.  I felt that Nomad was a word I wanted to stick to, because it's a cool sounding word and sticks so well to the themes of the game.

The first title that I wanted to go with was "Multiversal Nomad," for its direct descriptiveness of the game.  There was also the upside that Multiversal Nomad doesn't bring up many results on Google, so any attempt to search for "Multiversal Nomad" should put my game near the top.  However, Gabe pointed out that people who hear "Multiversal Nomad" would end up remembering it as "Multiverse Nomad" which has less of those useful qualities and would not call "Multiversal Nomad" up on a search.

After a lot of searching around, what we came up with was Jump Nomad- a fairly memorable and simple name that could appear just as easily in searches.  I think that that's a name that can fulfill all of my current needs.  On searches, man things come up for both Jump and Nomad separately, but almost nothing comes up with the two words forced together, and so it's what I'm currently considering sticking with.  It may change later in time, but I think that it's solid and it beats the hell out of GameX, so everybody say hello to Jump Nomad!

Um, obviously he means "Hello"


Gabe's Comment: As mentioned in the post, William and I were chatting through most of this process. So all my critiques have already been implemented or refuted. So I'm gunna just highjack this shit. 
When saving the original project file I used an abbreviation of 'wall' and 'jump', WaJu. The titles really grown on me sense, I think I'll be naming my little fella WaJu.

WaJu works for a few reasons. Its short, only four letters to remember. It sounds exactly like its spelled, so new confusion when the word is said in passing. Its not being a real word works to my benefit in google hits. The only thing that comes up is a small time rap artist, we wont be competing for an audience anyway. Waju.com is taken, but four letter domains go for around 10k these days... So WaJuGame.com will have to work! 

I love it because its both easy to brand and has a cute little explanation. Its a game about wall jumps, I call it WaJu!

 

3 comments:

  1. Random riffs...
    Damon Nomad (character name)
    Multiversity Student

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  2. When you listed the words I almost immediately thought of Leapverse. Granted, first ideas are not always the greatest and anchoring bias is a thing, I like it (:

    ReplyDelete