Friday, June 22, 2012

Four Letters Only, Please (PWA 2.1)

Phantasy Warrior Advance: Four Letters Only, Please
I always wondered, while playing the host of old console games, why I only had a small number of letters with which to name my character. Four letters? What kind of name do you get out of four characters? Of course, in English, four letters allows you a whole host of terrible names. Although I never did it myself, I had friends who used to run the gauntlet of "four letter words" for character names.

During the 16-bit era, games started adding two extra letters to character names.  Of course, I never really noticed it at the time. I just suddenly had the opportunity to name characters things that were longer than "Alex" or "Rolf." After a while, you get surprisingly tired of every character having four letter names. Of course, even with two extra letters, occasionally you get characters who have suspicious names, such as Final Fantasy VI's "Cyan." I remember having debates as to how his name was supposed to be pronounced. If only we knew the intended name was "Cayenne."

I did not really notice nor comprehend the whole name issue until Final Fantasy VII came out for the Sony Playstation. They had made a big fuss about expanding the character count for names all the way up to nine. Nine! All so they could fit the name "Sephiroth" into the character name boxes. Nowadays, it seems that I rarely encounter games where standard names do not fit. Extremely long names may be an issue, but the run-of-the-mill names like Andrew or Daniel fit in just fine.

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