How does one properly name a game?

I have what I think is a very good idea for a game – those who I have told it to agree. I’ve also managed to get significant parts of the code working. I, however, do still need a name. Every website that I can find that describes how to create a name basically says to create a long list and then continually refine using various methods until only one remains.The issue with this is that it assumes that I have an idea for any good names at all. Every name I can think of is disgusting (ie. too long, just two words appended to each other), already taken, or an incomprehensible mashing of random syllables.

What have many of you done to decide how to name your games? Whenever I name other software I just describe what it does on a short way and maybe add an extra letter or two (ie. my heightmap noise library is called JNoise). When I try this with my game, I can get a halfway decent subtitle but it lacks the kind of creativity that a game title needs (that other titles don’t) and even if it was creative enough it is too long to be a proper title.

I would greatly appreciate any help that anyone could provide regarding this.

There is nothing wrong with this. Game names are fairly arbitrary and that’s not a bad start.

What is your game about? Find some core ideas, glom syllables together or word parts from that and check google until you get 0 proper hits. Instant SEO.

…that’s precisely how I came up with the name for Mythruna. Same for my company name Simsilica (though that’s at least more clever: sim = simulated, silica = sand)

We won’t be able to help better than that unless you describe the game, though.

Usually something just pops in my head at some point or another. I didn’t put any thought whatsoever into the title of my current project, Carpe Diem, it just popped into my head. Probably makes more sense then some of my other titles though since the objective is to hoard stars so, you know, sieze the day…

Edit: Actually now that I think about it I think I heard someone say it on a TV program or something and thought it sounded great. Guess I can’t really remember, all I know is that I put very little thought into it, one minute no title, the next minute bam sweet.

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I tried doing that for a Minecraft server about a year and a half ago. I called it SuijurisMC (based on an essentially random Latin word). Everyone who saw it couldn’t spell it nor could they pronounce it. The only advantage was that the domain was available.

The basic idea is to progress from a neolithic age civilization to a civilization slightly more advanced than what is seen in Star Trek. There are numerous “mini-games” that allow this to happen although there is no formal boundary between them. Additionally, the play style changes significantly as a player is progressing through the game.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had any decent ideas come to me.


Thanks for the idea, I really appreciate it. There is also an aspect of having fun with your current technology (ie. if you are a killer from Bartle’s Taxonimy then you may want to burn someone’s settlement, if you’re an explorer you will want to get to the furthest planet you can with the fastest engine your technology can create). Also, a quick Google search shows several large companies using this name for things that have nothing to do with games. Although I doubt (IANAL) this will be a trademark issue, it will certainly make SEO very difficult. Also, there is an educational game called Emergy (as a plan on words of Emergency). Although, it is better than any name I have come up with so I may end up using it.

Also, what method did you use to come up with it as I would like to try that method myself and perhaps come up with something more unique to make SEO easier?

After reading your short description I thought that there being no formal boundary between progressions of the civilizations was interesting as most games in this genre clearly define the progression from one era to the next so I focused on that. The first word that came to mind was transition because it sounds like there’s probably a smooth fade from one technological state to another in your game, a transitional phase if you will.

Now transition isn’t much of a title so I looked up synonyms for transition. The first one that stuck out was flux, but I figured there’s probably a ton of games with that title. Next was the obvious, evolution. So I looked up synonyms for the word evolve and came up with emerge which I thought sounded nice, would work well with sequel/expansion titles like Emerge: Shadow of Blah blah blah, and describes the overall theme of the game, rising from insignificance to become the ultimate power. Or at least I assume that’s the premise.

Thanks for the elaboration. It’s really helpful. You’re absolutely right about the idea of growing from insignificance to the ultimate power. I’ll need to write a more detailed description and try the same thing. Also, most of these one word names are monsters to SEO, do you know of any methods to make that easier? For instance, my random jumblings of syllables almost always come up with exactly nothing in a Google search.

If I end up using a random jumbling as a start, what would the next steps be to refine it into an actual name?

Ya don’t say, heh, throw in some boobs and lens flare and you gotta game. :smile:

As for SEO, I know nothing about it. Happy to remain insignificant myself.

Not all games are like that. Take the entire Portal series as an example. Also, with the way it is structured, very few if any players will actually end up winning if winning is defined as becoming the ultimate power.

For SEO, uniqueness makes it significantly easier. So, to rephrase, how can I take the simple names (ie. Emerge) and make them less similar to existing words (ie. compengious)?

Well, it’s also important that it seem like a word and is easy to say and spell. Mythruna almost works here though people often mispronounce it, I guess. Simsilica is better that way.

Yeah, start teasing out words and themes related to what you have going on there. Evolution, progression, technology, etc. Maybe some other things like history, era, … I don’t know.

Look for neologism style words where you combine a couple of other word parts into a word that sounds similar to another. A bad example, instead of evolution: techvolution.

Type it, pronounce it, make sure it can easily do those… make sure it isn’t already in google.

That’s for the random word idea.

Other approaches are to pick some of the core concepts that might seem like they don’t go together and then slam them together in a game name. As another bad example, you start as like cave men and advance into high technology… so “Caveman Technologist”. Sometimes when you are doing that, other names and phrases might come to you “Seeds of the Future”… and so on. Write them all down.

If you are still stuck later then you can come back to your list later and in a different mood something different might inspire you.

Answered in an earlier paragraph. Try to turn it into a real sounding word.

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Another thing i would consider is if the name you choose is suitable for friendly acronyms and if its acronym doesn’t match another game.
Eg. if your game is named Light Of Lamps it will be called LoL = League Of Legends < not good

That gave me “Cantankerous Drug-Dealing Punishment”… I’m not sure !

Please consider your market : age/sex/country of your customers, media of distribution. This is the only important consideration if you want to sell/distribute.

Something unique, easy to prononce, easy to remember.

I know not all games are like that, a lot of them are very similar if not exactly the same. There’s nothing wrong with that and my current project isn’t really any different. Just think it’s funny.

What did you end up naming your game? Also, I already came across that website – it appears to be for generating usernames in a game rather than actual names for a game.

:sweat_smile: It was all a joke, the website itself is a joke.
I mean…

Yeah, but some of the game names sound like good ideas. I keep this site open to click on a few times every few days. A few of them I even write down.