Crispy Gamer

The Worst Game Names of 2009

As our own "Great Moments in Voice Acting" host Max McGuire might ask in his beautiful, melodic voice, "What's [slight pause] in a name?" Of course, what Max means by this is, "I'm about to pontificate, and perhaps enjoy a digression or two along the way, on the subject of names." That why we love you, Max.

I'm a word guy. I like words. I enjoy the New York Times Crossword Puzzle, but only on Monday and Tuesday; by Wednesday, I'm out of my depth. Naming games is a subject with which I've always been fascinated. It must be a tricky endeavor. It's literally the exact moment where commerce and art intersect. Picture it: a stuffy board room; the developers (artists) on one side of the table; the marketing execs on the other side of the table.

What is born during this sort of meeting is a word, or series of words, that will make both sides of the table vaguely happy.

Of course, more often than not, this process goes horribly wrong, and what winds up being born is something that, in primitive cultures, would be taken out into the woods and left on a rock to die.

As a child I recall a class trip to the zoo where a gorilla, behind glass, flung his feces at me. That's exactly how I feel walking into a game store and seeing the following titles on shelves.

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Rogue Warrior

Problem: This sounds exactly like 476 other banal shooters already in existence.

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BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger

Problem: I'm not sure what the hell is going on here, but this title makes me feel like I am a vampire being shown a crucifix.

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AaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!! -- A Reckless Disregard for Gravity

Problem: Clearly the developers got their way on this one.

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Ben 10 Alien Force: Vilgax Attacks

Problem: Vilgax sounds like a medicine you might find in your wife's purse that you wish you could somehow un-find.

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Big Bang Mini

Problem: Sounds too much like a low-grade adult film.

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Black Sigil: Blade of the Exiled

Problem: One look at this game name and I can practically smell the B.O. on the sad, lonely men who would be interested in buying it.

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Elven Legacy

Problem: Ditto for this one.

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Flyable Heart

Problem: This sounds like an early, never-released Ron Howard film.

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Gangstar: West Coast Hustle

Problem: Instead of "gangster," they switched a single letter and boom, you're a gang star. Because that's what you are in the game -- not a gangster, but a gang star; you know, the star of a gang. Gameloft = clever devils.

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Geneforge 5: Overthrow

Problem: ????????????

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IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey

Problem: ????????????????????

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Invizimals

Problem: The word "invisible" and the word "animals" went under the covers together and made a baby, and the word "invizimals" was miraculously born. Looks like we have to make another trip outside the village to the rocks again...

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Madballs in Babo: Invasion

Problem: I would rather sit next to Kathy Griffin on a flight to Japan than have to ever see these words again.

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Mobile Suit Gundam: Gundam vs. Gundam Next

Problem: No explanation needed here.

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NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits

Problem: As Gus Mastrapa eloquently put it, "This game sounds like cough medicine."

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Raven Squad: Operation Hidden Dagger

Problem: Like Rogue Warrior, this title will automatically erase itself from your brain in 3 ... 2 ... 1...

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Roogoo Attack

Problem: Again, no explanation needed for this one.

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Shadow Complex

Problem: Another title so bland that it makes the word "vanilla" sound exciting.

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Trials HD

Problem: This is Excitebike re-imagined as a puzzle game. The concept is so insane that it actually works. Apparently, the developers spent all of their creative energy on the game and had absolutely nothing left over to devote to coming up with a name that connotes anything at all about the game.

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