Another Take On The Orange Box

h2. What came before

* “My (longer) piece on ‘The Orange Box'”:http://nielsthooft.com/valve-vista-wii-and-orange-box, where I described it as a niche package and wondered just what an “Orange Box” is.
* “A small update”:http://nielsthooft.com/orange-box-sales, noting the game sold a little more than 200,000 copies.
* “A link to Russell Carroll’s opinion”:http://nielsthooft.com/orange-box-no-strong-identity, which echoed much of what I said.

h2. What happened next

Then, “Duane Browne posted a response”::http://www.gamesetwatch.com/2007/11/counteropinion_why_the_orange.php, saying he actually likes the title.

Here’s a little soundbite:

bq. “[…] you aren’t just getting one game, but 5 games including Portal, which I’ve been looking forward to from day one.”

The part about ‘looking forward to’ reveals the author’s perspective – I think he misunderstood that this is really not a discussion about personal (hardcore gamer) preferences. Instead, it’s about marketing. It’s about what the title communicates to the general consumer and whether it compels him or her to buy the product.

Browne goes on to link to a list of bad game titles. Tellingly, it’s not a list of games that failed to reach their potential audiences – it’s a list of titles that hardcore gamers feel are bad, in an aesthetical way.

Sure, I like “The Orange Box” too, personally. It has a nice, unique ring to it. I also like the association I have with it, of Valve as a likeable, independent developer that does whatever it feels is the right thing to do.

Still, as Russell Carroll suggested, The Orange Box should’ve been called ‘Half-Life 2 Something’, because that would’ve spoken to a far larger audience.