The Name Game

Despite what people believe, there are a lot of benefits to playing video games. It’s mentality stimulating and often requires attention with the benefit of sharpening perception, memory and decision making. To a gamer, the obvious benefit is entertainment and the challenge; however this post will not be following the amazing life of a gamer, but about video game writing, and more particular for this first of many articles, on video game titles and their origins. 

Currently, I am on the verge of finishing up Resident Evil 2 Revelations, which I recommend.  It’s a nice challenging game where you play two different characters (actually you play four in total but two at a time, each character holding their own skills…or a crazy amount of weapons) and I got to thinking about the title, which spiraled into deep thought about other game names. 

Of course, the original name of the RE series in Japanese is different (BioHazard) but in the U.S. its called Resident Evil. Why? Because Biohazard was already a registered game in the mid-90’s when the game came to the U.S. This explains why the name had to be changed, but of all things, why RE? 

Developer Chris Kamer from Capcom answered this question in the link below, stating that out of a list of entries, it was chosen but HOW THE HECK DID IT BECOME AN OPTION????

I’ve decided to use my writing mind to decode this, and offer alternatives if RE was also not an option (and I would love to hear from the readers on their titles). If you remember the original version, the setting is in and around Raccoon City with a small team (S.T.A.R.S Alpha team) investigating strange deaths (….zombies….) and getting trapped in a mansion. A mansion is a residence…and inside there is evil. BOOM, secret revealed. 

But how did a title so simple catch on to be one of the top played games? Its simplicity is the reason for its success. It’s a straightforward title yet is intriguing enough to look into. If the game remained as Biohazard, it may have not done so well—perhaps because the RE title is intimate; saying that among you is an evil force, which at the time was a much better sell than a zombie biohazard event threatening the city – remember, these games came out long before zombies were popular in mainstream media.

With a title of RE, the threat is the characters and gamer itself.

If Biohazard and Resident Evil were not trademark options in the U.S.:

  • Death Rise
  • Strain 0
  • Infected

I realize by this point, my title ideas are terrible. I did try but the fact is Resident Evil works. It’s a strange title and if you dissect it, it may sound a little cheesy, yet the horror game title lives on (despite not everyone in the game doing so).

If you had the chance to rename RE, I am absolutely curious of what it would be?

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