A lot of the time, video game names sound like they were generated by a machine. So, I decided to see if I could teach a neural network to name a game.
Sometimes it’s hard not to groan at some video game names. There was a period of time when I kept confusing Absolver for Observer because they sounded similar. When game names aren’t similar, they can be nonsensical. How are you supposed to pronounce JYDGE?
It occurred to me that maybe us humans are just out of ideas, so, with the help of Deadspin’s Tim Burke, I fed 1200 game names to a neural network in order to make up a few new game names. Burke told me that usually you train a neural network on a much larger dataset, but when he tried he came up with mostly weird Tom Clancy names like Tom Clancy’s Tomb Roids or Tom Clancy’s Legends: The Hag. I wanted to generate some names that sounded like you could grab them off the shelf right now, so I used a dataset consisting of all of the English language releases for the XBox One, Playstation 4 and Wii U from the consoles’ releases to around June 2017. Some of the results sounded like they were real games; others not so much.
Most interestingly, there were a lot of sequels in the generated results.
The Dead Charter 2
Glomepers: The Fantare 2
Songers of Stare 2
The Ganing 2
Call of the Marder 2
The Game Park 2
The Dead Charter 2 sounds like it could be one of the many pirate-y games that are coming out this year. I am also very curious about what happened in the first Call of the Marder.
“War” also showed up a lot in these names, as well as “Heroes” and “Battles.”
The Tank Wars
Elite of Wars
The Bommerns of War Shorker
The Battle Evil Heroes
Tank Wars is an actual game, but it was not in the dataset that was fed to the neural network. Deep learning invented Tank Wars on its own.
These were the scant few that really felt like the names of real games. They feel fantasy flavoured, probably because they use a lot of made up words. In particular, Toton of the Legenders is definitely a weird, sprawling JRPG that Jason probably loves.
The Tome Core
The Gold of Deor
Toton of the Legenders: Starner Carsing
The Tock of the Seningang
The Tale of the Gare 2
These ones were just funny. Why did this neural net think games are so dank?
Samer 2: Dank Gane Edition
Wraloy Legend: Dank
Dank Super Date: Sparo Edition
The World Cant
Even with a limited dataset, I feel like these game names strayed pretty close to reality. Legends, battles, heroes and apparently dankness are recurring themes in the names of games. A lot of games concern themselves with sweeping, epic quests and combat, so it makes sense. Still, I’m disappointed that these were the things that rose to the top. Even if they’re fewer and further between, video games are about more than just legends and war. Overall, I think my favourite name of the group is The World Cant. Girl, same.