The Wednesday’s story on SecretCPH again brought up an old pet peeve: How hard can it be to come up with names for pervasive games?
I mean — Ludic Nation calls the game SecretCPH in most places, but after the game the registration site now calls it Secret Copenhagen: The Spies, while their Ning community site has the heading Secret: Copenhagen. Of course, they walk solidly in the footsteps of the ARG genre, following the nameless thing that the very creators call both The Beast and The A.I. Web Game, and fans with many more names. Remember — those guys who created I Love Bees / ilovebees? The game that for some reason has the Wikipedia URL as Haunted Apiary?
Reminds me of Alias Online Adventure, Alias Web Puzzle and Alias Web Game, and their various seasons whatever they were called before the sites went down. Funnily, the fan-produced Omnifam (or Alias: Omnifam?) is a bit more consistent with its name than the official Alias ARGs, even though those fans managed put up a credits page without putting a label to the thing they claim credit for.
I understand that often the names are created by players and fans during runtime; the designers didn’t create the Wikipedia page that remains undecided between The Art of the Heist and Art of the H3ist, but I suppose fans would know if the creators were consistent. McKinney’s excellent presentation on the game is posted as Art of The Heist, but opens up with a title The Art of The H3ist. This undecided approach might be one reason why Motor Trend News also called the game The Art Of The H3ist and The Art of the H3ist. With four moving parts, there are at some 23 ways to spell that name wrong.
I’ll forgive Stolen A3 since I believe that was a fan-created derivative of a website url. Heroes Evolutions is also forgiven, since they apparently were explicit about changing their name from Heroes 360 Experience. Seasons and iterations are complicated, I’m not even going to get started on Nokia Game — or on wondering whether Nokia 20Lives was a Nokia Game or not.
If you engage in funny spelling, make sure you know what you are doing. I don’t think the creators of vQuest can agree whether it’s actually VQuest or not. The same goes, I think, with PacManhattan, Pac-Manhattan and Pacmanhattan.
In our own IPerG project (funnily spelled as iPerG in all too many slidesets) we had skills too. Only after writing two papers and a bit more on a game called Prosopopeia, I first heard the complete name having been Prosopopeia Bardo 1: Där vi föll. Well, the game documentation website remains solid on the original name. Having learned from our experiences, we determinedly poked our book case authors for precision, as only the designer could tell that the correct name for the 212box game was Mystery on Fifth Avenue, not In These Rooms of Wood and Stone as we had thought (which is the correct name of the book that came with the mystery).
Some of this stuff has budgets upwards from one million eurodollars. Wouldn’t it also benefit the business to establish clear brand names for the stuff you’ll put into your portfolios?