There are a lot of video games out there, so coming up with a new title for each one is an often overlooked challenge. Some games go for simple, explanatory titles, like Tomb Raider, Battlefield, and Portal. Others take a slightly more creative approach, like Assassin’s Creed, Dead Space, and Call of Duty. Those are all fine, catchy titles that are likely to stick in players’ minds. That’s how games should be named. But sometimes, when it comes to titling a game, things go awry. Here are nine games with awful titles.
1. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
Let’s kick it off with one from a series plagued by questionable titles: Kingdom Hearts. This beloved series mixes together characters from Disney and Square Enix and sends them on fantastical adventures in classic Disney settings.
But the title of this particular entry is so hopeless that all one can do is shake their head. Even giving it some leeway with the nonsensical combination of words that is “Kingdom Hearts,” we’re left with a cryptic string of letters, numbers, and words that have no business being next to each other. Really, “Final Chapter Prologue” is what they chose? Is that the final chapter of the prologue? Is it a prologue to the final chapter? And what’s with the 2.8 thing in the middle?
This PlayStation 4 game is actually a remastered version of a Nintendo 3DS game called Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (*sigh*), plus a pair of brand new chapters that will tie into the upcoming game Kingdom Hearts 3. But you’d never know that based on the indecipherable title, would you?
2. htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary
Speaking of indecipherable titles, this one wastes no time boggling your mind, with a jumble of symbols and letters that might have come from a cat stepping across a computer keyboard.
According to the developer, that line of nonsense is a stylized way of writing “Hotaru no Nikki,” which translates into “Firefly’s Diary.” Which makes the full, translated title completely redundant. Why not just call it the much better title The Firefly Diary? Who knows!
3. Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together
The love showered on Tactics Ogre is well-earned. This turn-based strategy game basically created the genre with its chess-like gameplay that builds into something unique and fantastic. Unfortunately, the title might turn you away before you even realize you have a great game on your hands.
The one-two punch of the words “tactics” and “ogre” is bad enough, since ogres — big dumb monsters from fantasy stories — aren’t exactly known for being tactical. Then when that awful subtitle rears its ugly head, general confusion makes way for revulsion. Who wants to cling together with a giant smelly monster? Not me, not you, and probably not anyone but Mrs. Tactics Ogre. Good game. Bad title.
You wouldn’t know it from the title, but the hashtag-loving game #IDARB is a retro-style multiplayer sports game based on a made-up sport. You and other players, either in the same room or online, sprint and jump through a sizable side-scrolling level, trying to wrestle control of a ball to throw it in the opponent’s goal. It’s like soccer or basketball, but on a more dynamic field. And it has a very simple set of controls that belie the strategy and skill involved in being good at the game. Seriously, this is a great Xbox One game. Shame about that title, though.
Believe it or not, there are rules for when you should use punctuation marks. The rules for the semicolon do not, shockingly, state that you can throw it in between two random, capitalized words, with no spaces on either side. Not only is this title grammatically incorrect, but it also covers up the fact that this is a very good visual novel game for PS Vita, PlayStation 3, and PC. How the person who wrote the excellent words that appear in the game also came up with a title this bad is a question for the ages.
6. Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth2: Sisters Generation
Not only does this Japanese role-playing game exercise the same misuse of the semicolon as Stein;Gate, but it also suffers from a litany of other titling sins.
For starters, no game is important enough to warrant a sentence-long title. Keep it to three words or less, please. Second, why isn’t there a space between a word and the number 2? Putting a space there, as custom would dictate, would make it much more obvious that this is, in fact, a sequel. Third, Sisters Generation isn’t a thing, so let’s just scrap it and start over.
7. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy
I’m thumbing through a dictionary here, and I’m simply astonished to learn that “theatrhythm” is nowhere to be found. It’s not a word. Nor does it sound cool. Is it a mash-up of the words “theater” and “rhythm”? If so, why not just call it Theater Rhythm Final Fantasy? Not that that would make senes either, but at least it’s pronounceable.
Like many of the games on this list, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy and its sequel Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call are fantastic games. They’re music games that have you tap and swipe the Nintendo 3DS screen along to timeless chip tunes and orchestral arrangements from the Final Fantasy series. They’re definitely worth playing if you can get past the throat-clearing of a title.
8. Shin Megami Tensei IV
Unlike many bad titles that lose something in their translation from Japanese to English, the makers of this series of exceptional role-playing games didn’t even bother translating the title at all. So we’re left with a string of syllables that means nothing to non-Japanese speakers, and is incredibly hard to remember as a result.
If you were to translate this title, you’d get something to the effect of “True Goddess Reincarnation,” proving once and for all that even a nonsensically translated title can be better than one not translated at all.
9. Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code
Here are two genres you don’t see mashed up, well, ever. This game, whose name we shall not speak, combines a visual novel — which is to say a text-heavy story-based game — and mixes it with a fighting game. The result is supposed to be a pretty good game, even if the title seems like they used a random word generator and called it a day.