Tom Clancy's Bonestorm 2014, and why video game titles need to grow up

Samantha Allen, writing for Polygon:

But one overlooked aspect of games hasn’t changed nearly enough: their titles. Even though games now have better writing and art than ever before, they still tend to be given titles that are boorish at worst and bland at best. Bulletstorm, after all, is not a far cry from Bonestorm. And while Spec Ops: The Line does something a little deeper than Contra, you wouldn’t know it from its title.

It's hard to disagree with her when you compare a list of, say, the highest-rated movies of all time with a list of the highest-rated video games of all time.

I was going to call her out for not bringing up one of the most successful and revolutionary game franchises, Halo, because I feel that title is exactly what she describes as games needing to mature as a medium...

...And then I remembered that the title was actually Halo: Combat Evolved.

I think the most telling thing about her piece is that when I initially read the first part of the title, Tom Clancy's Bonestorm 2014,  I thought it was actually the title of a new release being announced.

There's a part of me that struggles with the idea of naming conventions in video games. One half feels like I want something that very much describes the sort of experience I could expect to have while playing a game. Video games, after all, are an interactive medium, and different types of gameplay suit different types of people. The other half, however, remembers how much I enjoyed games like Mirror's Edge (one of the games Allen rightly points out as having a great name), Brothers - A Tale of Two Sons, or Braid.

I think experiences can and do stand out on their own, regardless of what they're called. But as stories and experiences in games mature, it cheapens the artistic vision when you look at a title solely as a marketing tool.