1.28.2009

The Name in the Game

Have you ever noticed how frequently characters in video games have completely absurd names? Of course you have, unless you yourself have a name like Wednesday or Apple. At some point early on, game makers must have gotten together and decided to secretly vow to make up as many names as possible. If you think about it, it's a wise PR move. They get first dibs on iconicizing names before the competing media. For every Han Solo in the movies, there are a dozen Clouds, Jaks, Ashes, Links, and Master Chiefs (which, by the way, is less of a name than it is a hyperbolic title). In an effort to document game name convention history and aid future game-makers, I give you my basic tenets for naming a character in your video game...

The Letters 'V', 'Z' and 'X' Are Sorely Under-Utilized
It's a shame, really, and you should seek to remedy this. If you're having trouble, try just replacing an 'S' with a 'Z', a 'CKS' with a 'Z', or, if you're feeling really adventurous, replace an opening 'Z' with an 'X'!
Ex: Daxter, Zelda, Vaan, Jenova

Don't Be Afraid of the Dictionary
The book is full of names for things! Gravitate towards using objects that either sound cool (Edge, Jazz, Rock) or are cool (Steel, Razor, Warp).
Ex: Cloud Strife, Lightning, Toad

Many Cultures Have a Rich History of Mythology. Make it Your Own!
Don't just restrict yourself to names of gods. There are demigods, fairies, heroes, and more! Hey, you could even just use old Latin words that mean something pretty cool.
Ex: Cait Sith, Chrono, Sephiroth

All Your Favorite Words Overused? Combine Them for a Fresh Approach
This makes it look like you put a little more effort into your names. Say you considered naming your heroine Love, but then decided it was too blatant. How about Lovela or Lovehug?
Ex: Squall Leonhart, Rinoa Heartilly

When All Else Fails, Add Some Originality by Mixing up Your Spelling
Those same old names are boring. Spruce them up with nontraditional spellings!
Marcus Fenix, Lara Croft, Jak

Disclaimer: Though I poke fun, I am quite a fan of unusual names. I don't want Larry the hero and Sue the love interest.

Disclaimer: Sorry, Larry's and Sue's. I'm sure you're all nice people.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

of course, 'Master Chief' is less of a hyperbolic title than a short form of the military rank Master Chief Petty Officer... which people use as a name 'cuz they don't know better. i usually use his name -plain old John- or number when refering to him.