Funny To A Point – The 15 Dumbest Video Game Titles Of 2017
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...
Call Of Duty: WWII
Just because Call Of Duty promises to be one of the biggest shooters of the year doesn't mean it gets a free pass in the naming department. I'll confess, contrary to popular internet opinion, I thought Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare was actually a pretty clever title – sure, it doesn't knock your socks off, but it plays off of the Modern Warfare brand and lets consumers know that the game is set in the near future.
Call Of Duty: WWII certainly lets players know what it's about, but most developers would aim a little higher than that; what tone is the game going for? What themes does the story convey? The answer to these and all other questions is apparently WORLD WAR II. It certainly gets the point across, in the same way that naming your dog "Dog" lets people know it's a dog. Congratulations?
Black The Fall
I almost put The Long Dark on this list, but at least that title makes sense. Black The Fall just sounds like someone took a better, comprehensible title from a different language and ran it through Google Translate without checking the results. I thought I had a good sense of what the developer was going for – there's some kind of downfall, and it ain't good – but then I found out that the main character's name is Black, which makes it even more confusing. I guess you can just write the whole thing off as poetic license, but that's a bit of a cop the out.
As if the concept of a grid isn't enough to get me excited, this one is retroenhanced! Does that make up for the fact that one of the two words in the title is spelled incorrectly, and the other one isn't even a word? Absolutely not. Hell, "retroenhanced" doesn't even make sense as concept – usually you don't "enhance" something by making it old and crappy. I will give Gridd: Retroenhanced credit for one thing though: I knew EXACTLY what it was going to look like before I even did a Google search for a screenshot.
I've seen a lot of confusing titles in my time, but this one takes the cake! I just don't get it – what could this game possibly be about? "Hunting" commonly refers to tracking down and killing animals, while "simulator" means a program designed to imitate a real-life activity. What on earth they mean when you combine the two together, however, is anyone's guess! I wish developers would take a little more care when coming up with a game title, because this kind of confusion could really impact sales!
This one isn't that bad – it just kind of looks like "Ass-divine." Assdivine Cross. That's all I got.
Coming Up Next: Shield your forehead – we've saved the most facepalm-inducing entries for last!
Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2
Like Marvel Versus Capcom: Infinite, this is another case of a fighting game franchise painting itself into a corner – Guilty Gear is just further into the process. It all started when Arc System Works went from Guilty Gear X to Guilty Gear XX. However, they couldn't very well call the next installment Guilty Gear XXX – though it would probably sell a ton more copies.
Arc's solution? Guilty Gear Xrd, which is fittingly pronounced like "absurd," only with an "x." Oh, also the "Rev" stands for "Revelator," which actually is a word, but probably isn't being used right. Also, Guilty Gear is a stupid name to begin with.
Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late[st]
Whenever I do one of these lists, I'm invariably criticized for making fun of Japanese games – but come ON! What is this nonsensical string of horse crap? Under Night In-Birth Exe:Late made 2015's list of dumbest game titles, but French Bread topped it with the addition of the bracketed "st." Oh, French Bread is the name of the developer – they're not only the creators of bad titles, they're also a client! I don't have anything else to say that I didn't include in the 2015 entry, other than that having an "in-birth" still sounds like a horrific proposition.
Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash
When I first saw this title, I had no idea what "Peach Beach Splash" was supposed to mean. Then I saw a screenshot of the game, and it all made sense – it's code for perverts! A company can't just come out and call their game Ogle Bait For Horndogs, but Peach Beach Splash is the next best thing. And while I wouldn't normally criticize a title just for being in Japanese (though the entire point of translation is to actually translate words into the target language!), the producer has reported admitted that he just made Senran Kagura up because it sounds cool. I don't know about you, but I expected more from a series about ripping clothes off of schoolgirls.
Look, I already devoted an entire column to 1-2-Switch, and crammed as many jokes into my review of the game as I possibly could. I probably spent more mental energy on the game than 1-2-Switch's entire development team, which I assume was one Treehouse intern and maybe a monkey. I don't want to think about it anymore – sometimes I still wake up in terror from nightmares of that idiot eating fake sandwiches. But yeah, 1-2-Switch is also a terrible name for a video game – appropriately terrible, in this case, but still terrible nonetheless.
Kirby's Blowout Blast
The title of the new Kirby game just makes it sound like Kirby has diarrhea...which is a Kirby game I would totally play! Come on, Nintendo: We've watched Kirby swallow up and spit out enemies for decades – let's see what happens when they come out the other end!
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