How to Name Your Game

Finding a proper name for your game be tricky. Here’s the process we went through in naming the game.

#1 – Brainstorm: First step in finding a proper name is to get all possible ideas on paper
When we started looking for the name for Secret projet – Edoiki – I used couple of japanese books (as the game’s theme is japanese/chinese) and tried to look for phrases and names that could be useful. I got some names on paper. None of them were used in the end, but still that doesn’t mean that books couldn’t be a good source for finding the name for your game.

The next step was to find some kanji symbols and japanese names Japan Guide proved to be quite useful resource. I managed to get some hints from there for later usage. About.com’s 50 popular kanji symbols were also good help.

Next I asked some suggestions from our artist, who (amazingly) happened to have friend in Japan who he can “pester” with some questions.

#2 – Mixing ideas
Next we started mixing different ideas… like ‘ai’, ‘iki’, ‘edo’, ‘senshi’, ‘do’ that were suggested.

#3 – Availability: Check whether the domain name for your game is available.
After we found a name, we had to try whether it was available to register. Register.com offers an easy way to check out domain names. My initial suggestion ‘Senshido’ – senshido.com was taken, but senshido.net was available. I’d prefer to have .com domain name, but decided to proceed.

#4 – Are there other games with that name?
Use google to compare whether there are games with that name. Senshido game did receive some sites, but fast checking didn’t reveal other games named as Senshido.

#5 – Ask others and either go back or decide the name
I started asking people how they felt about the name. Senshido (which I liked) got poor or average results from the people I asked. Also the problem with pronounciation (which might hurt word-of-mouth) and bit difficult name to remember (when you need to google for the game) were also bit problematic.

Even though I liked the name, others didn’t like it that much and as there were small problems: word-of-mouth, difficult to remember and the fact that senshido.com was taken all resulted in declining this name.

We stepped back to phase #2 and started mixing ideas, checking google (“Edoiki game” in google resulted in no matches), asking others (who rated the name as “good”, better than Senshido anyway) and finally decided to get that name.

I spent several hours in getting the name and I must say that without the help of others, it would have been even longer process. Now secret game project has a name: Edoiki (and a website: Edoiki.com).

6 thoughts on “How to Name Your Game

  1. Scott Miller wrote a some things about naming your game and charecters:

    http://dukenukem.typepad.com/game_matters/2004/02/the_name_of_the.html
    http://dukenukem.typepad.com/game_matters/2004/04/dumb_name_no_di.html\
    (some more that I can’t find)

  2. It has a twinge of a Katamary Damacay vibe to it, which I like.

  3. @Dan: I also liked that one… but as said, there’s problems with that name:
    - difficult to remember (word-of-mouth, search via google)
    - senshido.com taken

    I also liked that game, but the ones I’ve asked rated Edoiki higher. Edoiki is bit easier to remember (shorter, and no ‘s’ or ‘h’ letters to make it hard to pronounce), there’s no google matches with “edoiki game”.

  4. Hate to say it, but I much prefer Senshido…!

    d

  5. Mixing syllables is always a good way to find good game names. You find names you like and mix their syllables.

    anyway, nice choice of a name & good luck!