As Shakespeare once so wryly said in Romeo And Juliet , “A rose by another name would still smell as sweet.”
And indeed, what is in a name? By now many of you may have heard of the whole debacle surrounding King.com trademarking the word “Candy” across not only apps and games, but clothing and entertainment. Much has been made of the tyranny of the US Patent Office’s head-scratching decision to allow this dangerous precedent. Candy Crush Saga (and if that’s a saga, then you might as well call Justin Bieber a classical virtuoso ) was a massive success thanks to a generic, much trodden Match-3 genre based game, a vast marketing campaign and some insidious time-locking mechanics that prey on the end user’s impatience. And hey – it worked, much to the detriment of our industry.
However, nobody in their right mind would attribute the game’s wild success to the “Candy” name – and even if it was, does that allow them to trade such a ubiquitous word? It’s one thing to (quite reasonably) trademark “Candy Crush Saga” , or even the combination of “Candy Crush” … but this is another matter altogether. It reeks of when Cadbury slapped a trademark on a shade of purple – except it’s worse as it spans different industry sectors – how will, for example, SkullCandy, makers of headphones, react? As this excellent Rock Paper Shotgun article states,
“They didn’t trademark “candy” because they passionately believe it’s their identity, they did it simply because someone told them they can. A team of lawyers will have told them it’s possible, and so they did it. ”
And that, in a nutshell, is the bastardry at the top of our industry. Threatening letters to small developers, told to remove the word “Candy” from their game name ( even if the game has been around longer than King.com’s insidious product ) . This would only happen in the games industry. The movie business has a wealth of movies with the same title, and hundreds of songs have the same title – to nobody’s detriment.
Anyway, apologies for such a rant – it just feels symptomatic of an industry fast being overwhelmed by greedy fatcats and shovelware clones. Thank goodness for the indie game scene, which I am proud to be a member of.
So, on that note, it’s time to unveil the name of my until-now untitled fish-based physics puzzler. Without further ado …
“Fishmonger: Arctic Adventures!”
I brainstormed for quite a while and came up with a shortlist of titles, and even settled upon “You Rocked The Boat!” in an earlier draft of this post, but that ultimately this won out after discussion with some friends. You want your game to have a bit of a hook – sometimes puns can be great but a little obtuse ( I considered calling it The Cod Delusion in deference to Richard Dawkins ) . Fishmonger is a funny word and certainly stands out. You’re competing for shelf space with literally hundreds of thousands of other titles. All you have is a title and an icon to work with. I’m hoping the exclamation point in the title might convey a sense of fun. As Adrian Galassi, my composer, pointed out – you can expand upon it with “Pacific Pursuit”etc
For laughs, here’s a list of the game titles that didn’t make the list:
- The Cod Delusion
- Captain Fishblock (After the game’s hero)
- You Rocked The Boat ( I originally settled on this but changed it again today)
- Don’t Rock The Boat ( good title, but there’s already a boardgame with the same name)
- Shiver Me Timbers ( a bit too ‘piratey’ )
Anyway, the game progresses along nicely. We have physics ‘bumpers’ in the game that act the same way as pinball bumpers and cause havoc for the player. We have sound effects, ice clinks and the boat creaks, the sound of rain on water and so on. We have a whale that knocks the boat over when time’s up. A few more days of actual ‘game dev’ and then it’s onto behind the scenes stuff like leaderboards, credits, and actually getting it ready for the App Store.