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GoNintendo Video - Does the term "Metroidvania" suck?

If we say the term Metroidvania to you, you most likely know what it means instantly. Say it to a non-gamer, and it means absolutely nothing. Was the creation of the Metroidvania term a wonderful addition to the gaming lexicon, or does it do nothing but further confuse those who are already befuddled by gaming terminology to begin with?

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There are many reasons why I hate the term, least of all that it makes people refer to Metroid as 'Metroidvania,' despite, you know, it being the originator. Metroidvania is a sub-genre title given to it as a combination of Metroid and Castlevania 2 style Vania games. I've tried to use the term 'Metroid-like' for games that are closer to Metroid recently as well.

But overall, it doesn't describe what the game is, or what you do. That alone probably limits the reach of those games, despite there being a lot of them. The game that creates the proper term for it will be a Breadwinner. I hate that Nintendo can't do it themselves, also, considering they made it. It speaks volumes to their lack of creativity regarding the series that they can't even define it other than 'Metroidvania,' which lowers the status of the series as well.

Wed Jul 03 19 04:28am
(Updated 2 times)

I do think Metroid-like or Metroid-style would have been more fitting given how Metroid started the whole sub-genre but I don’t have a problem with Metroidvania as a genre.

There’s a myriad of Metroidvania games you could just call action games. You could call Hollow Knight an action game or action adventure and it’d fit the bill. But calling it a Metroidvania explains off the bat (to those who are familiar with those games) that it isn’t a linear game and that you’re going to be backtracking, upgrading yourself etc. over an expansive map. Ultimately if you’re going to describe Hollow Knight etc. to someone you’re going to make a comparison to Metroid or Castlevania and so having a term to explain it right away is an easy way of doing so.

Look at Yoku’s Island Express. Calling it a “Metroidvania pinball game” explains a lot about a game that would otherwise be a weird concept to explain.

Obviously the name requires some prior knowledge to understand what it means but the same can be said about a lot of other genres. Platformer? RPG? MMO? Those would need explaining to for people unfamiliar.

You explained so neatly! There's also a bunch of other genres and subgenres that do a good job of explaining what one game is about to the initiated: JRPG, SRPG, roguelike, MOBA, the list goes on and on...
We could draw a parallel with the music industry. Nu metal, Trap, Trance, Acid Jazz, etc, might not mean much to most people, but they convey a lot to someone already familiar with the subject. Limiting the lexicon will not improve visibility to it.

jumpmanfr
Wed Jul 03 19 05:31am
(Updated 1 time)

I like it when video game genres are named after classic game titles.
It gives cultural references to things. It helps us remember who came up with that genre in the beginning. It helps newcomers to know what the most classic video games are.

lazysprite
Wed Jul 03 19 10:05am
(Updated 2 times)

I never was a fan of the term though it successfully describes what to expect of a game.
But it also is a limited description.
Then again isnt it the problem with all genre classifications ?

But what do I know ?

I know I dont like the term Shmup.

I like the term "Metroidvania". It rolls off the tongue and it is immediately apparent what it's referring to. I don't get what there is to be so hung up about. Is it because it uses an official IP name in the wording? Is that why? There's so many other genre codifiers to be getting hung up about. What about a "schmup"? Do you think the average Joe is going to know what the hell a "schmup" is supposed to be? They'll think you"re referring to some kind of exotic drink. At least "Metroidvania" tips you off to a game you can use as a starting reference point to figure out the meaning. The Castlevania part always reminds me of Symphony of the Night, so unless I am forgetting something I don't know what the issue for that portion would be either.

"Hey dude, pour me a schmup over here. What? It's a drink! You never had some schmup before?".

fylo
Wed Jul 03 19 11:22am
(Updated 1 time)

I mean at this point it is in fact a term, people are familiar and understand. Whatever else they could call it will take some time to catch on. I think that's how language works, words are just the names with put to the things we know and it later becomes an habit because of repetition, hence why people hate when anything changes either logo or name.

With that said, the genre seems like at one point was a dungeon crawler in 2D. You explore a labyrinth-like environment with few open areas. Power ups are another form of keys to progress and it's mainly about familiarizing with the route to become more efficient as you get more powerful.

EDIT: Maybe dungeon sidescroller could be a good name for it? (Has that been taken?)

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