The U.S.’s National Science Foundation has reconvened a think tank to decipher the title of the latest game in the Kingdom Hearts series according to a press release by the department.
The National Analysis of Nomenclature Institute, or NANI, was reactivated after a lull of several years to decipher the meaning behind the game titled Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. The organization was temporarily suspended in early March 2013 after Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance caused stress-related injuries to 27% of staff and one coma.
The reactivation came to light after the release of a trailer for the upcoming Kingdom Hearts title:
NANI Director Dr. Franz Hinkleberger was keen to talk to TechRaptor about NANI’s efforts. “The name itself has some sensible portions,” he conceded. “Obviously, the ‘Kingdom Hearts’ branding makes sense as does the ‘HD’ aspect of the title. But how could a game have ‘2.8’ in the title? Is it four-fifths of a sequel? Is it 280% of a game? How would that even work?”
The biggest issue, however, was related to the final three words ominously titled the Alpha Omega Paradox. Dr. Hinkleberger continued, “‘Final Chapter’ makes sense. ‘Prologue’ makes sense. But how can something be both a Final Chapter and a Prologue? It defies reason. We’ve already had three institute employees quit and one attempted suicide.”
Dr. Hinkleberger proceeded to explain the complex mathematical equations and linguistic study that goes into NANI’s work. “It’s easier at CERN [the European Organization for Nuclear Research],” he began. “You get objective, observable results that can be measured by complex instrumentation. But here? There’s the human factor. The emotional element.” He took his glasses off for a moment and cleaned them with a pondering look on his face. “Sure, the eggheads at CERN might accidentally spawn a black hole or create a tear in the space-time continuum. That’s a risk. That’s a challenge. But I would wager that it’s much more difficult, say, trying to decipher a clearly nonsensical name that yet somehow also has meaning. It’s a paradox. We’re not even sure this problem can be solved.”
NANI is not an independent organization. It’s one of the newest divisions under the purview of the Department of Assessing the Functional Understanding of Culture, or DAFUC. DAFUC was created after a 1959 postmodern art exhibit greatly upset then-President Richard Nixon. DAFUC is perhaps best known for spending $27 billion over five years in an attempt to understand the plot of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of the Patriots—an effort in which it ultimately failed.
Aside from its research, NANI is also keen on making policy recommendations. 87% of the Institute’s work is based on the titles for Japanese games, and they had considered implementing an import ban for a time. Ultimately, such a ban was deemed impractical in the age of the Internet.
The organizaton has also had a strong recent focus on localization in the West. “The Japanese games are bad enough on their own,” stated NANI researcher Dr. Lucille Bjornvim. “But then these dummies get their hands on it and make it worse. Whole parts of the plot are removed, political statements are inserted. I don’t even know what the hell a ‘xim’ is. We’ve got three interns on Tumblr 60 hours a week and they still haven’t wrapped their heads around it.”
NANI was originally created in 2009 after the release of Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days. The title was stated to mean “Three Five Eight Days Over Two,” which puzzled the institute’s scientists for six months. The “Is this a fraction or what?” theory was nearing a completed mathematical proof before that particular research project was abandoned. Three scientists were subsequently committed to state mental facilities.
What do you think of NANI’s mission for cultural understanding? Do you think it’s possible for them to decipher the strangeness that is Kingdom Hearts? Let us know in the comments below!