X180: Driv3r? F3AR? Thi4f? STOP THIS MADNESS, YOU BAS2ARDS
Here at X360 magazine, we like to think of ourselves as level-headed individuals, navigating the choppy seas of games journalism via a mixture of experience, sure-footedness, rugged good looks and a keen eye for meandering, self-indulgent openings to X180 columns.
But there is one thing that boils our blood, leaving us a deliriously twisted mess of babbling incoherence. It’s not DLC. It’s not DRM. It’s not even D: Ream. It’s publishers replacing letters in their game titles with numbers.
Not only is this either A) unspeakably trite, B) achingly pretentious, or C) all of the above, it’s faintly insulting. To list all of these affronts to normal human decency would probably make us sick out of our own eyes, so let’s just have a little look at the worst offenders.
First up is Driv3r, a title so stupid that it makes the positively atrocious ‘game’ it’s attached to seem someway acceptable (and, it should be said, that this is the ‘game’ that starred a badly-animated potato masquerading as a police officer).
We get it. It’s the third game. But do you have to shoehorn the ‘3’ into it? What does the title even mean? How would you say it? ‘Driv-THREE-er’? Try saying that to yourself, right now. Go on. Can’t do it? Congratulations, you’re not a moron.
This one is just like the Driv3r debacle, except that it also combines with another of our pet hates, changing the ‘s’ to a ‘z’ in words, even when said word IS AN ACRONYM (such as ‘lazer’: what does the ‘z’ stand for, huh? Ztimulation? Right…) to create a world of linguistic pain that would offend Helen Keller.
FEAR stands for ‘First Encounter Assault Recon’, a terrible name to begin with, and one compounded by now being First THREE-ncounter Assault Recon. Invoking the wisdom of the internet is not usually a wise decision, but for once in our life the meme ‘What is this, I don’t even’ springs distressingly to mind.
And then there’s this, a creation so shocking that Swiss euthanasia clinics are considering adopting its use as a cheaper alternative to the lethal injection (Note: may not be true). WHAT DOES IT EVEN MEAN? ‘Thi-FOUR-f’? Do you mean Thief 4? At least the other numbers resembled the words they were replacing, as opposed to this abomination, which one could only imagine was the result of a lost bet and a lot of drinking. When future aliens discover what was left of our charred civilisation, they’ll sift through the rubble, see Thi4f’s crime against language and mutter “figures” under their breath.