Friday, January 31, 2014

Nomen est omen: the naming of games

One of the main recurring criticisms of MobyGames - despite all its serious flaws in other parts of their data model - is the naming of the game entries. As MobyGames is, and always has been, a US project, every game is only accepted into the database using its US release title as the "main title". Missing that, a release title of other English-speaking countries is accepted, and only if there's no English title available, the original title of release is allowed, regardless of origin. When a main title is found for the game, every other title is only accepted into the database as an "alternative title".

There's one big problem with this approach. It may well be that the rest of the world doesn't care one bit about the US release title of a game. Imagine a Japanese player browsing MobyGames, only to find the fourth entry of the Final Fantasy series listed as "Final Fantasy II", just because it was the second FF game released in the US. There must be a better way to do this, so, let's conduct some research about how other game sites are approaching this issue, and allow me to introduce you to the planned Oregami solution. For reference, I will always link Final Fantasy IV as an example game.