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The 10 most pointless videogame subtitles ever

To clarify, this isn’t about dialog captions, which are also referred to as “subtitles.” This is about the wastes of ink which game publishers love printing after game names. Take “Halo 3: ODST,” for example. “ODST.” What is that? It’s some letters that provide no information other than, “Hey, this isn’t the original Halo 3, it’s actually something a bit different.” And that’s all most of them are.

To fully understand the effect of crappy subtitles on games, consider how easily a few well-named games can be ruined: “Mirror’s Edge: A Runner’s Tale,” “Fallout 3: Capitol Punishment,”  “Left 4 Dead: The Will 2 Survive,” “Killzone 2: Back in the Zone,” and so on. And these aren’t particularly exaggerated.

They aren’t always bad - take “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time,” for example. It’s a Zelda game, and it involves a magic ocarina. There’s information, it makes sense, it has a damn reason to exist. But usually they’re completely superfluous or bafflingly stupid, like the ones below.



I don’t know German. It’s not that I don’t like the language, I just don’t know it. So what the hell happened here? Did they do this just because German looks cooler than English? Were they translating the game for the German release when some suit walked up and said, “Shit, look those guttural sounds! Leave the title like that for ALL the releases!” Well guess what, I don’t know German, I don’t know what the hell your game is about, and I’m not going to look it up on Wikipedia. Well… okay, I am, but only for this article.

It means “The Will to Power,” a Nietzsche reference. That’s great and all, but I still don’t know German. What’s worse is that the subtitle for the Japanese release is written in… Japanese. Because PEOPLE IN JAPAN SPEAK JAPANESE. This isn’t rocket surgery.



What exactly does the U.S. Army mean by “true soldier?” Are they suggesting that only American soldiers are real soldiers, or are they just unsure of the meaning of “true?” When “true” is placed before a noun, the goal is generally to emphasize the genuine meaning of that noun (especially when its meaning has been diluted through overuse). Here are some examples: “true hero,” “true genius,” and “true friend.” I’m fairly sure that the word “soldier” still means what it always has. There’s no need to enhance it with truthiness. Oh, and by the way, using videogames as recruiting tools is weird and creepy. Just so you know.



What?



What league? The fake league that you made up after you lost your NFL license? So, with this subtitle, you’re emphasizing that your game is about a fake football league. That’s some really important information that I definitely needed to know. Good stuff. I’m going to go play Midnight Club: The Loosely Organized Racing Association now.



The world is at war, you say? Why, isn’t that just a different way of saying “World War?” Like maybe “World War II?”

…What’s that? Really? Congratulations, World at War! You’ve just been the 1000th game to get blasted by one of GamesRadar’s signature “triple question” quips! Pick up your prize at the concession stand at the end of the article!

71 comments

  • DreamWeaverPL - October 30, 2010 3:12 p.m.

    This article is mostly the truth and should be read at schools and whatnot, BUT the author doesn't know where the boundaries are and becomes a douchebag. I mean, what's wrong in 'absence of justice', why would one word 'injustice' look and sound better? Would you like to live in a reality in which EVERYTHING is written ONLY in SIMPLE ENGLISH? Is contemporary English too much? Would you like to see it reduced to 500 words? And what's wrong with "Resistance: Fall of Man"? It's a good title. It's stupid because "resistance" contrasts with "fall"? *HONK* BULLSHIT!!! It's a good subtitle that actually FITS WELL WITHIN THE PLOT.
  • bugmenot - October 14, 2010 3:58 a.m.

    Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest I think they were a little too clever on this one, because you know people wrote "Diddy Kong's Quest" half the time (if they could be bothered to write all that out).
  • soren7550 - April 24, 2010 1:09 a.m.

    I luzed at several of the pics.
  • TheSugarRay - April 21, 2010 8:36 a.m.

    So, is this another list where GTA is the exemption? Now its time for "Proof your not a sexybot by looking at a pickture of two words 34:The Game"
  • jmcgrotty - April 20, 2010 7:24 a.m.

    A subtitle didn't ruin Mirrors Edge. It was the piece of shit gameplay.
  • thejadefalcon - February 14, 2009 11:18 a.m.

    Not as impressed with this article. For a start, ODST DOES mean something. Orbital Drop Shock Trooper. If you have read the books, then you'll know this. If you haven't read the books, you'll probably know it upon reading the back of the box. And ODST is far easier to say in conversation than Orbital Drop Shock Trooper. The "True" Soldiers thing made me laugh though. American soldiers versus the SAS. SAS wins. Anyway, in Tomb Raider: Underworld, the underworld is quite a bit more literal than usual. Underworld refers to the realm of the dead, not a tomb. To my knowledge, the closest she got previously was Atlantis. As to The Hardy Boys: The Hidden Theft, there is a long-drawn out explanation as to why that could potentially make sense, but I don't know the game's plot (nor do I care) so the explanation probably wouldn't fit.
  • Stuffgamer1 - February 13, 2009 4:19 p.m.

    Hilarious article. I agree with those who have said that some of the subtitles make sense, but the sarcasm is GREAT! I defy you to think of a better subtitle for Tomb Raider: Underworld, though. :P
  • Onefish - February 12, 2009 3:51 a.m.

    Dragonball Z Budokai Tenkaiichi 2 Shin Another Road Never Ending Title: The game.
  • Cra-Z-Jake - February 10, 2009 1:55 a.m.

    My only explanation as to why they used "World At War" is.... Since it's not just Europe, they decided to say "world"? If that's the case, I'm wondering why they didn't put "Call of Duty 3: Europe At War". Is it not self explanatory?
  • barrage7667 - February 9, 2009 8:31 p.m.

    how about the game achievement unlocked...tht sounds like something u would get on the 360 or PS3 for trophies and points
  • GamesRadarJoeMcNeilly - February 9, 2009 3:40 p.m.

    I always thought that "A Link to the Past" was a horribly awful pun, luckily the game delivered the goods
  • TreyTable - February 9, 2009 2:17 a.m.

    I have to say that ODST sounds good as well. Better than F.E.A.R., I think, but I do think that the title should just drop off the number 3. Halo: ODST sounds better than Halo 3: ODST.
  • TreyTable - February 9, 2009 2:06 a.m.

    So Tyler, "Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht" is stupid because you are? You didn't get a good education, so therefore things that you do not understand must be stupid? You don't know German, neither do I. But you don't know Nietzsche? As for the Japanese release of Xenosaga Episode I, they didn't have it in German because their alphabets are radically different from that of German and English. So why German, right? That's just too easy. Namco probably didn't want to dumb it down, thinking that English speaking audiences would be in an uproar that Namco was ripping off Nietzsche.
  • Moschetto - February 8, 2009 11:04 p.m.

    Which has more impact: “Resistance” or “Resistance: Some Useless Text?” Resistance: Some Useless Text, actually. It balances the title and makes it a bit more memorable, you see. Thank God you guys weren't marketing the game.
  • flk - February 8, 2009 10:22 p.m.

    lol
  • TradanBattlan - February 8, 2009 4:44 p.m.

    (INSERT GAME TITLE): The Game The Game The Game We all just lost the game.
  • sourpunch - February 8, 2009 6:46 a.m.

    Great article one of my favorites on GR. Good job Tyler. Also Defender: Saving the Human Race is pretty bad lol
  • Bov11 - February 8, 2009 1:09 a.m.

    Classy.
  • 9-B - February 7, 2009 6:16 p.m.

    S.L.A.I: Phantom Crash Because Steel Lancer Arena International needs a longer title, or a sequel
  • Yellowhat17 - February 7, 2009 3:09 a.m.

    You should have covered Ogre Tactics: Let Us Cling together! As if the 1st person narrative isn't strange and awkward, I mean... the title is, one more time: Ogre Tactics: Let us Cling together Also, ROFL at the AC: For Answer one :D

Showing 1-20 of 71 comments

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