The name game
What's in a name, ey? Power? Influence? Non-stop schoolyard mockery? What about disappointment? Sadly it seems that great names can be bestowed upon both worthy and unworthy owners alike. For every Maximus Decimus Meridius eyeballing an evil emperor there's certain to be some 'Maxi Dec Me' douchebag sunning himself on the Jersey shore. Tragic. The same thing goes for video game titles. A great game with a bad name is still a great game - most folks will learn to live with it - but a crappy slab of shovelware blessed with a top title? That's simply not cricket!
They promise us a planet-sized experience, only to deliver Pluto in return. They sound so sexy, so cool, so utterly, madly vivacious and yet they play like wet dog excrement - that is to say poo-rly. Today's big ol' list of stuff throws up exactly 35 of these bloody brilliant titles before asking - what could (and should) they have been? Begin!
What is it? A glitch-filled mess of a fighting game released back in 1996. Characters were modelled after an array of mythological creatures, including the Gorgon, Minotaur and err 'Dark Faerie'.
What it ought to be: A brutal shoot-em-up title set within the confines of a working slaughterhouse. "Got Beef!?". *Throws foe into meat grinder*.
What is it? An utterly shoddy shooting title barfed out back in 2009. Players take on the role of real-life spec ops innovator Richard Marcinko, dispensing rough justice and launching into several expletive-ridden tirades (awful control scheme permitting).
What it ought to be: A much more competent tale of in-field wet work, starring someone suitably roguish. James Dean's Splinter Cell ought to do it.
What is it? A humourlessly literal interpretation of the cult movie's title. It's the same old Fight Club, except everyone here looks a bit ill, and the only real twist involves this horrid excuse for a game actually existing.
What it ought to be: A socially-integrated, masculinity-affirming underground fight forum. A bit like Drive Club, but with way more broken teeth.
The Shield: The Game
What is it? A half-arsed translation of TV's grittiest police show. Players adopt the role of bent cop superstar Vic Mackey as he attempts to restore his team's failing reputation. Cue much shooting, shouting and off-the-books police brutality.
What it ought to be: A cutesy 3D platformer starring a bumbling, if well-meaning riot shield. Bash those peaceful protestors! Hooray!
What is it? A steampunk shooting title released in 2009. Criticised for its poor gameplay, graphics and insufferable voice acting.
What it ought to be: A hydro-powered tycoon title. Build all manner of dams across the land, before eventually falling into bankruptcy, cutting corners and flooding the entire eastern seaboard.
What is it? A survival-horror stealth title starring a crack unit of vamp-battling humans. Roundly critiqued for its overly punitive difficulty setting and annoyingly linear level design.
What it ought to be: Remember Medal of Honor: Airborne? Like that, but with vampires.
Raven Squad: Operation Hidden Dagger
What is it? An ambitious RTS/ FPS hybrid that utterly failed to succeed in either genre.
What it ought to be: Come on now, this one's easy. Just recreate CoD 4 with a cast of actual ravens. Miniature P90s. Check. Capture the nest. Absolutely. The world would be a far richer place for this title becoming a reality.
Kung Fu Rider
What is it? An unfathomably strange PlayStation Move title featuring a kung fu aficionado riding around on an office chair. Anything gets too close for comfort, and you kick it to the curb. It's simple really. A bit too simple for some, with the vast majority of critics decrying the game's laundry list of issues.
What it ought to be: Ever heard of a tour rider? Those crazy, borderline obsessive lists of demands that bands make while gigging? 'All brown M&Ms'. 'Camomile-scented oxygen tents'. 'A single Danish raisin' etc. etc. Well I reckon the name 'Kung Fu Rider' really ought to apply to one of those, a demand made by - or requesting the presence of - a cadre of insane martial artists. "I want Jet Li here in the next 60 seconds or there will be no encore!".
What is it? A taxi cab racing title that tasks players with collecting more fares than the competition. Power-ups include the ability to repair your vehicle, blow away other cars, and generally impede the progress of your opposition. Reviewers were left far from impressed.
What it ought to be: An official 'Wild Thornberry's safari' title, starring Nigel 'meme-tastic' Thornberry. "Smashing!".
What is it? A wilfully ugly turn-based RPG, set inside the titular Metal Dungeon. Scolded for its simplistic gameplay, lazy story and weak customisation options.
What it ought to be: Brutal Legend 2.
What is it? A celtic twist on the God of War formula, this hack n' slash disaster is hindered by poor camera controls, dreadful difficulty and a litany of aggravating glitches.
What it ought to be: Some sort of demonic monster maker, ala Dark Spore - one that allows players to take the field surrounded by their handcrafted minions.
The Guy Game
What is it? A titillating, barely interactive quiz title.
What it ought to be: A Guy Fawkes simulator. He's the chap who tried to blow up British parliament, before getting himself caught, tried and executed. You might have seen his merry mug plastered on one of those strange smiling masks the Anonymous chaps wear. Anyway, a 17th century Hitman-cum-demolition simulator. That'll do
What is it? A clumsy cover-based shooter that allows players to jump into or 'jack' the minds of various NPCs.
What it ought to be: The first ever, fully-interactive village idiot simulator. "Don't mind jack, he's bonkers".
Sniper: Ghost Warrior
What is it? A tactical first-person shooter title, Sniper: Ghost Warrior brings all the fun of lying in a ditch for hours on end - clutching a high-powered weapon you barely get to use - all the way to your living room. Critics lambasted the game's flip-flopping AI and numerous irritating glitches.
What it ought to be: As one doctor said to the other, 'let's start by getting that colon out". The newly improved 'Sniper Ghost Warrior' would star some of history's greatest long shots, battling it out across many-a ghoul-filled battlefield.
What is it? Another lacklustre third-person shooter. NeverDead boasts an odd dismemberment mechanic that allows players to detach specific limbs in order to solve puzzles.
What it ought to be: A new version of Dark Souls in which the protagonist is rendered completely invincible. Time for a little payback
What is it? A hard boiled third-person shooter, NARC casts players as one of two tough talking cops, taking on drug crime in the big city. The title stirred up considerable controversy by allowing the player to partake of the game's illegal narcotics, rewarding users who did so with temporary skill boosts.
What it ought to be: The Departed in video game form.
What is it? A turbo-charged dirt bike racer for the Nintendo Wii.
What it ought to be: Paperboy for the NES, only this time the papers are coated in a highly unstable, ultra explosive nitro-glycerine gel. Ride steady, paperboy!
What is it? A tactical RPG set in alternate universe World War Two. Derided for its poor graphics, camera play and err well, pretty much everything really.
What it ought to be: Think night-time shooting gallery, except everyone's forgotten to bring their special goggles along. Cue much stumbling, bumping and accidental discharges. Oh my
What is it? A bafflingly inept update of the classic 1987 arcade game, Alien Syndrome (2007) is a top down shooter with little to recommend it.
What it ought to be: A fun-filled adventure game that tasks the player - a human-looking alien trapped on earth - with escaping from a mental institution. Spoiler alert - he's not really an alien at all, and remaining there probably would've been the best thing for him
What is it? An Xbox One racing game starring a sentient motorcycle named I.R.I.S. Despite that solid gold setup, the game failed to impress critics.
What it ought to be: An Xbox One racing game starring a clinically insane motorcycle named N.U.T.S. Think Stephen King's Christine, but with two wheels instead of four, and really bad fuel efficiency.
What is it? A chaotic first-person shooter title, Bodycount offers a unique degree of environmental destruction and very little else.
What it ought to be: An extremely morbid memory game set on an active crime scene.
What is it? A dreamcast-exclusive RPG released in 1999. Time Stalkers suffers from a number of questionable design choices, and received largely mixed reviews.
What it ought to be: You play as a filthy old pervert trying his damnedest to climb Big Ben, and no that's not a euphemism. I mean the clock tower. THE CLOCK TOWER.
What is it? A cartoonish boxing title that features a surprisingly high level of difficulty. Where some found the game to be enjoyable (following ample practice), many more lamented the title's supremely cheap AI.
What it ought to be: An interactive version of Mortal Kombat's skeleton-smashing X-rays. A cross between Super Mario 64's title screen and Blast Corp, with hammers instead of a friendly, gloved hand.
Destroy All Humans: Big Willy Unleashed
What is it? A disappointing sequel to Destroy All Humans 2, this quasi-sandbox shooter featured outdated graphics at the time, and a largely uninspired multiplayer addition.
What it ought to be: An entirely more phallic version of Rampage World Tour.
What is it? A gridiron fantasy title based on the popular board game brand. Blood Bowl's PC version proved to be largely successful, whereas the game's DS, PSP & Xbox 360 translations all floundered.
What it ought to be: Some sort of cannibal sim? Maybe a bowling game set within the player's veins. Nail that 7-10 split or you're waking up with chlamydia.
What is it? A budget FPS title for the original Xbox and PC. Criticised for being too similar to its competitors, with few fresh ideas of its own.
What it ought to be: How about this? You play as an overworked, underappreciated PR boss, who discovers that no-one's actually done any work this month. Now you're on The Warpath. Can you scream at every last one of them in time to save the companysomehow?
What is it? Another uninspired space-set FPS, Alien Rage disappointed players with its tedious rehashing of well-worn genre tropes. Adding to the player's woes are a number of recurring technical issues, including dramatic drops in frame rate and unexplained crashes.
What it ought to be: File this with the 'cool sounding, if largely generic' crop of titles. You could basically make it into anything. Still, I'll bet a good developer could turn the likes of an 'Alien Rage' into a household name. In fact you could say they could make it all the ra... *gunshot*
What is it? A 2008 FPS that was once touted as a potential 'Halo-Killer'. Haze ultimately fell well short of those expectations, hitting the market with numerous nagging issues and glitches.
What it ought to be: A fraternity/sorority hazing game. Players are issued with a series of absurd challenges, during which they are brutally mocked. Features branching storylines and dialogue options, including the seldom used 'Forget this, I'm out' response, which confers a +20 dignity boon on that character.
What is it? The Hunger Games meets extreme sports in this nightmarish BMXer. Riders are drawn from the present to battle it out in the future, landing tricks, kicking flips and avoiding copious death traps, all for the amusement of the viewers watching at home.
What it ought to be: A World of Warcraft expansion/death metal band name.
What is it? A physics-based gridiron sim.
What it ought to be: A Bane vs. Batman fighting game.
What is it? A 2.5D platform title revolving around the adventures of the titular 'Blade Kitten', a half-human, half feline bounty hunter named Kit Ballard. The majority of critics baulked at the game's low difficulty, uninspired level design and clumsy control scheme.
What it ought to be: Goat Simulator with cats - really unkempt cats with massive, pointy claws. Let the internet swooning session begin!
Cake Mania (DS)
What is it? A cake shop tycoon title. Despite enjoying plenty of success elsewhere, the game's DS translation felt comparatively undercooked.
What it ought to be: An asylum-based food fight action game.
What is it? A third-person stealth title recounting the exploits of a WW2-era female British spy.
What it ought to be: Hitman, set in Kirby's lovable yarn world.
What is it? A dog fighting flight-sim with dragons. Like Lair, but released in 2002. The game was at one time endorsed by heavy metal icon Ozzy Osbourne.
What it ought to be: Top Gun with dragons.
What is it? A third-person shooter released in 2011. Imagine a broken version of Gears of War, coupled with an innovative, if poorly implemented 'moving cover' gimmick.
What it ought to be: A 2D fighting title starring some of the scientific community's greatest ever minds. Einstein vs. Newton. Curie vs. deGrasse Tyson. Tesla vs. Darwin. Edison as evil final boss. Game on.
Well shucks, that sure was something, wasn't it? A real rip-roaring adventure through the festering underoos of the video game landscape. If you have any great name/terrible game suggestions, then feel free to shout them out, directly into your monitor. Technology will do the rest, probably
Like this? Then you might not hate 20 gross misuses of the word 'extreme' in video game titles or Game names that sound sexual if you have a dirty mind either.