William Shakespeare had a famous quote about roses and names: “Would you stick your nose in a rose if they called it ‘stabby-thorn bee-attractor?’ I don’t think so.”
I’m pretty sure Shakespeare said that. The guy was a marketing genius, and he had a point: no matter how cool you game is – or sweet your flower smells – it has to have a killer name, or no one’s going to check it out. So how did Steel Dragons get its killer name? Trial and error, my friend. So many trials. So many errors.
Once we’d picked a setting for the game, the ideas started flying fast and furious. “Sword of the Samurai?” It’s been done. “Steam Talisman?” Too likely to get us sued. “Explore the Board to Solve Quests and Fight Enemies?” Too – you’re not even trying, are you?
One name we kept coming back to was “Iron Lotus.” The term “lotus” suggested an Asian theme, while “iron” added a martial feel to it. It sounded cool, while being vague enough to not set any specific expectations. Vague can work (“Firefly” isn’t obviously the title of space cowboy TV show), but it can also confuse potential customers. “Iron Lotus” could be the name of an Asian cooking app, or a database manager, or a casual mash-up of match-three and Mahjong. (Hmm… that might be fun.)
How about “Steel Lotus” then? “Steel” makes it feel a little more high-tech, a little sci-fi. And it works with the “smart steel” of the setting. It was better, but no less vague.
Steel… Dragons? Everyone loves dragons, and it hints at fantasy or sci-fi product that is definitely not a spreadsheet app.
“I don’t know,” I said. “Feels a little…. short. How about ‘Rise of the Steel Dragons’ – it’s got a little more heft to it. Makes it seem epic!”
Tim said it felt a bit long. So did everyone else we talked to about it. “You should shorten the title,” said my wife. “Just ‘Steel Dragons’ – it’s punchy!”
I eventually realized this trial had been an error. Punchy is good. Dragons are good. And Steel Dragons… is a name Shakespeare would approve of.