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The Lame Name Game

Or "What were they thinking when they named it THAT!"

Video game naming is much more than an arbitrary pick of words. It comes down to a marketing science, where each letter is carefully chosen and placed. Whole teams devote weeks to fnding the best names for a game... and yet still some games are named just awfully. Let's take a look at the history of Mario game names.

Mario's first title role was the arcade hit Mario Bros. Short, simple, and to the point, a fine name. The name also brings out the 2-player aspect and the introduction of the "bro", Luigi. After that, Super Mario Bros. on the NES, used the established name, and adding a "super" to show improvement. Fine so far. SMB2-3, can be forgiven, sequels usually just tack on a number. Super Mario Land/World cause a good dichotomy of names between the superior "World" of the SNES and the lesser "Land" of the Game Boy. The extended names after the colon are also well done. SML2: Six Golden Coins, SML3: Wario Land, and SMW2: Yoshi's Island identify the games with their established series, while giving a more descriptive name for the game. These are all fine names

However there are worse names, ranged from mediocre to awful to confusing. What pops into my mind first is the atrocious name Super Mario 64. When the game was first shown at the Shoshinkai expo., SM64 was presented as a tentative title. I was pretty confident they'd come up with a good name by the systems release (They delayed it enough!) but they obviously didn't have time. This set the precedent for other lame "64's" to be added to MANY other N64 games, and no one seemed to care.My logical choice for a new SM64 name... "Super Mario Universe". This goes along the same World/Land naming scheme for previous Mario games. Even if they didn't use this, they could have thought of any number of better names than Super Mario 64!

Similarly vexing is Super Mario RPG. I challenge you to find any other decent RPG that actually SAYS it's an RPG in the title. Final Fantasy RPG? Dragon Warrior RPG? Nope... they all decided to leave the genre name out of the title! Even other RPG's based on established series (Like Panzer Dragoon Saga) didn't just tack an "RPG" onto the name. This name is not horrid, however, because it does have the descriptive "Legend of the Seven Stars" add-on, but I still say having RPG in the title is, if nothing else, annoying.

Other badly named Mario-related games: So while there are some good and some bad Mario names, most are just functional in telling you a little something about the game. Dr. Mario, Mario Paint, Yoshi's Safari, and Wario's Woods are all examples of this simple, functional naming. But, to paraphrase Shakespeare, "A Mario game by any other name would play just as well"....

But if they name their next game "Super Mario 64 2", I'm gonna scream!

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