The Origins of 7 Popular Game Names

Published: April 3, 2014 9:00 AM /



Have you ever thought about what a game's name meant  or where it came from? Is the game name significant to the game at all? I think that happens to us all at some point, but mostly we ignore it and get to the game itself. For example, what does Mass Effect mean? It just sounds like two words thrown together to sound somewhat cool. But, that's not the case as you'll find out below.

Some game names are self-explanatory, like Hitman, some are vague, like Half-Life or Deus Ex, but then there are those that derive from their own lore. Not all do, of course, some have other interesting stories. Look below for the interesting stories of these game names.

Mass Effect

The series name comes from what the games call a “mass effect field.” Those are created through something they call “element zero,” which when manipulated by “dark energy,” create the fields. A mass effect field can manipulate the mass of an object, increasing its mass or decreasing it. Low-mass fields allow for travelling faster than the speed of light. The fields have other uses too, like shields for starships or the shields you use in battle. A mass effect field is also responsible for biotic powers, like you throwing an enemy in the air.

Dragon Age

Another Bioware game, with another fairly interesting story to its name. In the world of Dragon Age, every 100 years is called an "Age" and they all have specific names. For example, the Age preceding the Dragon Age was the Blessed Age. Around the time period the game begins, the next Age was about to begin and be called the Sun Age, to honor the Orlesian empire. The blight appeared and with it came the Archdemon in the form of a high dragon. All thought dragons had been long gone, so the Age was then called the Dragon Age due to the dragons seeming reappearance.

The contents of an Elder Scroll.

The Elder Scrolls

Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim. Why do they all have “The Elder Scrolls” before it? Well, within The Elder Scrolls lore, the “Elder Scrolls” are scrolls of which nobody knows where they are, who made them, or where they come from. In their contents is information that is about both the past and future events. They can be read to prophesize the future. They always play some kind of significance within the games as well. For example, in Skyrim you look for Elder Scrolls because only a few years before the game begins, all known and collected Elder Scrolls vanished.

Final Fantasy

I wouldn’t be surprised if most already know the origin of this series, as it has been circled around for quite some time now, but those that don’t, here you go. Way back when Square made the original Final Fantasy they were going bankrupt and thought that they were making their final game, hence Final Fantasy. That’s really it. There is no deeper meaning than that.

Fire Emblem

If you pay attention to the story the Fire Emblem usually comes up. But, let’s be honest, most people probably don’t pay too much attention to any of the Fire Emblem’s stories. Usually the Fire Emblem pops up as some kind of artifact within the game with immense power to either summon long dead dragons or seal away gods/goddesses. Other times it serves simply as the coat of arms for the main antagonist within the game. In any case, the Fire Emblem serves major plot significance regardless of which game in the series you play.

A metal gear.

Metal Gear

Those of you familiar with the series probably know what a “metal gear” is. Metal gears are the bipedal tanks featured in the games. But why are even they called a “metal gear.” Aleksandr Leonovitch Granin (Granin) invented the technology and described a “metal gear” as the missing link between infantry and artillery.

Infantry could move around the terrain, but lacked firepower. Artillery could do a lot of damage, but lacked mobility. Metal gears then served as the happy medium – something that could inflict a lot of damage and get around. All of those work together, so a “metal gear” is something that fit between the machines of infantry and artillery, helping to “turn” both sides to greater effect. That’s a little bit of a stretch, but I would still think of a “metal gear” as another way of saying “missing link.”

Metal Gear Solid

So why add the “Solid” part? Well, many of you will say it is obviously because of Solid Snake. That is partly true. According to the Metal Gear Solid: Official Missions Handbook (strategy guide) Hideo Kojima felt with Metal Gear 3, later to be called Metal Gear Solid, that he could finally build a “solid” world because of developments in technology that would allow him to build a 3D world. I’d just stick with the Solid Snake inspiration.

Have suggestions for other games/series that we can look into? Please leave those in the comments below!


Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? Leave a Comment or e-mail us at

Andrew Otton
| Editor in Chief

Andrew is the Editor in Chief at TechRaptor. Conned into a love of gaming by Nintendo at a young age, Andrew has been chasing the dragon spawned by Super… More about Andrew