What’s in a name?


I know that Shakespeare said a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but there is still a lot in a name. It is our identity, our first impression when someone “meets” us in print.

There’s a reason that no one names their baby “Doofus”.

Our big problem these days is coming up with a name for our latest game.

Like Fish Lake, which came out this month, our game under development has a lot of ideas suggested by our beta testers, this time not just from students from Spirit Lake and Turtle Mountain (yes, for our urban readers, those are real places, reservations in North Dakota where our games were first piloted).

field covered with snow

Somewhere between Turtle Mountain and Spirit Lake

Both on the reservations and as far away as Los Angeles and overseas, suggestions came in to add more modern elements to the game. We read hundreds of ideas (yes, we do read everything in every contact form submitted and in every email we receive). This game design was also influenced by people at our meet-ups who suggested that we include more on other tribes

How do you keep accurate Native American history and culture in a game and still allow the player to fly a plane or race tractors? (Yes, the tractor race was a real suggestion and I actually think we will include it.)

So, here is our latest game design …

After learning how their Ojibwe ancestors walked half-way across the continent, Angie and Sam decide it would be an adventure to follow in their footsteps. No one believes a couple of ordinary teenagers can make it a thousand miles. At each level, there is a new game – canoeing down river to meet an uncle who can help them, scavenging in the woods and avoiding the rabid skunks, making it through a maze set up by yet another crazy relative who has a map.

We fit in the cultural part through flashbacks. If they come across an artifact in the woods, say, a half-buried tomahawk, then a video will play telling the story of a famous chief who owned this tomahawk and what his life was like when he dropped it there.

Now that you know the story ….

The first title I had was “Angie’s Journey” which Maria hated and besides, it’s not very accurate since there are two travelers and you can choose either a male or female avatar.

Just “Journey” is pretty vague plus there is already a game named that.

We thought of Something Trail, like Buffalo Trail, since everyone always compares our games to Oregon Trail – if they remember Oregon Trail. There are a large enough people who never heard of Oregon Trail that it probably would not be confusing. They don’t really get to the buffalo until near the end, but that might be okay.

I thought of something like Footprints or Footsteps, since they are following in their ancestors’ footsteps but that doesn’t have enough “game” sound to it.

Footprints in the Woods?

Skunks in the woods

Survival Trail?

Zombie Skunks?

Okay, scratch that last one. If you have any suggestions, please, please post in the comments below. Obviously, I am sucking at this naming thing.

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