What game names really mean

Ikaruga (GC, DC)
It's a bird, a Japanese Grosbeak. The game revolves around black and white bullets, the bird is black and white. Pretty straightforward. Ikaruga is also a town in Japan.

Einhander (PSOne)
More or less German for "one handed," referring to the game's star ship that uses a giant claw to steal enemy weapons.

Raiden (SNES, PSOne, PC, Jaguar among many others)
This long-running franchise is Japanese for "thunder and lightning." The name comes up a lot. You might know it better from Mortal Kombat or Metal Gear. Or maybe even Fatal Fury.

Gradius (NES, SNES, PSOne, PS2, PSP, PC, many others)
This well-known series, as far as we're concerned, is a mistranslation of gladius, which is Latin for "sword." Makes perfect Engrish-y sense to us, as the Vic Viper would appear to be a sword cutting through wave after wave of enemy ships. Or maybe we're really reaching.

Salamander (NES, PSOne, Saturn)
Another reach, but this Gradius spin-off is probably playing off the whole salamander/fire relationship so common in the world. Remember Salamando, the mana spirit from Secret of Mana? There you go. Concrete proof. Mystery solved.

Darius (PS2, PSOne, PC, Saturn, SNES, Genesis, TG-16)
A rather common name, perhaps most notably the names of three kings of the Achaemenid Empire. One of them had a son, Xerxes. He ran into some rather trying times with 300 Spartans in 408 BC. In the game, Darius is a planet under siege by a swarm of fish-shaped spaceships. You can see the similarities.

Sol-Feace (Sega CD)
Sol is Latin for "sun," and feace, according to the Urban Dictionary, is slang for poop. Strangely enough, other versions of Sol-Feace were called Sol-Deace, which also has an Urban Dictionary entry, as a combination of deuces and peace. There's no way in hell that's what developer Wolf Team was going for, but it was weird enough to point out.

Phalanx (SNES)
Misguided box art aside, this SNES shooter came and went with little commotion. Well, its meaning isn't all that exciting either, and you probably already know it - a packed, closed formation of troops, ships or whatever it is that's doing the killing.

Next page - Japanese titles that meant more than "crazy word you don't understand."


  • archnite - June 19, 2012 7:38 p.m.

    Revengers of Vengeance oh my god why would someone name their game something so stupid. get that dumd"of" out ah their Revengeancers is where it is at!
  • The4X - February 11, 2010 6:40 a.m.

    Substract heroin & amphetamine from Speedball, add some weed & i'm buying!
  • hamsterdoom360 - January 21, 2010 1:43 a.m.

    I just thought someone should know that HALO is a military maneuver (aka High altitude, low opening) which is used to deploy supplies and/or personnel into an area. Similar to how ODSTs are dropped into a warzone in the Halo series.
  • ulmxn - October 10, 2009 4:06 a.m.

    i skipped through most of the names that i dont recognize but, u can doo eet!
  • LordUberDowzen - October 9, 2009 10:28 p.m.

    Um, not sure if this is a joke or not, but Mass Effect refers to the technology that humans find on mars which allows them to use FTL drives and stuff.
  • HypherionWing - September 3, 2008 8:59 p.m.

    Who said it was supposed to be funny? I found it informative 8) ^^ 8)
  • norcemastero - September 1, 2008 8:51 p.m.

    haha not all too funny
  • swbf69 - September 8, 2009 7:17 p.m.

    I thougt it was a good article and good work with your history knowledge Hinro. Your very accurate.
  • Hinro - September 5, 2009 7:37 p.m.

    A good article but I just want to clear something up about the 300 movie. It is true that 300 spartans went to hold of the Persians while the rest of the Greek armies prepared a battle else where. What is not true is that it was just those 300 spartans that faught. Each Spartan had 3 servants (who were not considered to be Spartan citizens but live in Sparta) with them at the battle of Thermopoli (I know I spelt that wrong sorry to any english majors who happen to read this but this message is about history) meaning that there was actually around 1200 people who were battaling the Persian. I know my response is a little late and it's unlikely that anyone will read it but anyone who does will know the truth of the story behind 300.
  • ZeRo - April 4, 2009 9:01 a.m.

    Revengers of Vengeance????? WTF?
  • linkmaster21 - April 2, 2009 11:42 a.m.

    funnny and imformative but what exactly is a galaga i want to know
  • Resident - April 1, 2009 5:41 a.m.

    Exaaactly , i found it informative too , and we too like to learn some things ;) Let the other features for fun // I love Katamari, it's a nice word and means something
  • Hinro - September 18, 2009 1:14 a.m.

    Thanks Swbf69. I try my best. And good catch on the meaning of Deus Ex Machina sovtek37
  • sovtek37 - September 16, 2009 6:06 p.m.

    Deus Ex Machina does not mean "act of God", it means "God from the machine". It is a storytelling device which originated in Greek theater. With regard to the video Game Deus Ex, the title of the game was a take on the true theater meaning (an inexplicable event is central to the resolution of the plot), and also a take on the literal translation (that technology is enhancing the state of humanity). Wikipedia: Dues Ex Machina
  • sovtek37 - September 16, 2009 5:57 p.m.

    Actually wrong about "Deus Ex Machina". It is NOT an "act of god", it is actually "god from the machine". A completely different meaning and usage that originated in Greek theater.
  • Styrophoamicus - April 2, 2009 3:20 p.m.

    Sol-Feace ftw. Sun poop.
  • musashi1596 - January 30, 2009 8:42 p.m.

    I too found it informative. Keep up the good work!

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