How To Write a Tagline For A Game

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One of the great marketing challenges for indie game developers is how to write a tagline for a game. The tagline for your indie game needs to grab the attention of gamers and tell them something unique about it in only a few words. You know your game is awesome, but explaining that to other people is hard. Lucky for you, this article has all you need to know to develop a perfect tagline for your game; right from scratch.

Do These 5 Steps To Write A Good Tagline.

In the vast and crowded indie games market, you need to stand out, and you need to be memorable. Video games are visual media, so your trailer and screenshots do the work of standing out, but staying in the minds of games is supported by your tagline. To write a good tagline, there are a few steps to follow:

Step 1: Have a mission.

Begin by outlining your mission by writing them down. First, the first mission of developing a game is to entertain. However, some games go beyond entertaining to educating, such as driving games.

Then write down your goals for the game and what you think people need to know about the game. It must be something unique. You can use that to create a promise to your targeted gamers. Something to note, make sure that your promises are achievable to avoid trust issues and potential lawsuits.

Step 2: Evaluate your ideas

It is the brainstorming stage. You can start by writing down some words describing your mission and your game’s benefits for gamers.

If you’re unsure what ideas to choose, the late advertising legend David Ogilvy has some advice. He said: “Tell the truth, but make the truth fascinating”. In other words, if your game does something better than anyone else, find an interesting way to tell people.

Step 3: Write a paragraph.

With the ideas from step 2, you can now write a paragraph detailing information about your developed game. It simply combines the ideas you think the gamers should know about the game.

Step 4: Condense the paragraph.

Since a tagline should be short and clear, distil the vital words with likability and emotions in mind. Then stir up the word to create an interesting and meaningful tagline.

Step 5: Test the tagline.

Select a small group of people comprising colleagues and targeted gamers. Get their response to the tagline and consider their feedback for further improvements.

Here are some questions you can ask people to get better feedback on your tagline:

  1. What is your initial impression of the tagline?
  2. How does it make you feel?
  3. What do you think the tagline means?
  4. How easy is the tagline to understand?

If you can’t decide between tagline options, you could run an online poll or survey and ask people to choose their favourite.

What do you need to make a great tagline?

There are many about what makes a great tagline. Conventional advice includes that it should be catchy, short, timeless, and unique. That’s a tall order for only a few words!

However, in 2014 researchers from Texas Tech University found new insights into why certain taglines work while others don’t. According to the research, a good tagline should be memorable and likeable. So, in the context of video games, it should be something unique but easy to remember and that gamers can relate to.

The more people are exposed to your tagline, the more likely they will be to remember it. Unfortunately, remembering does not mean that they like it. This means that you can promote your tagline but still fail to attract people to your game.

Tagline vs Slogan, What’s the difference?

There is very little difference between a tagline and a slogan, which is why the terms are often used interchangeably. Taglines are used to represent a game or studio consistently; they don’t change. Slogans have a shorter lifespan and are used for individual marketing campaigns, e.g. when a game releases a big content update or expansion.

Examples of Great Video Game Taglines and Slogans

If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are 10 Great Video Game Taglines and Slogans to help get those creative juices flowing.

Cuphead: “Don’t deal with the devil”

Cuphead promo banner, tagline: don't deal with the devil.

Cuphead is a 2017 indie platformer with an art style inspired by classically animated cartoons. This tagline creates intrigue; it prompts the question, who would make a deal with the devil? On top of this, the mention of the dark topic of the devil contrasts with the bright colour scheme of the game’s artwork. The word deal has a second meaning, as in the game’s story, the devil runs a casino where card games are played.

Celeste: “This is it, Madeline. Just breathe. You can do this.”

Celest promotional artwork

Celeste is another indie platformer that features very frustrating, challenging gameplay. Celeste’s tagline tells us two things about the game; first, you play as a character called Madeline, and second, you’re going to get frustrated but don’t give up.

Undertale: “An RPG where no one has to die!”

Undertale promotional banner

Undertale is an 8-bit indie RPG which takes place in the nether world. The tagline challenges our preconception of what a Role Playing Game is. Most RGPs require defeating foes in combat, so our character can “level up”. So, this tagline encourages curiosity; gamers want to know what the gameplay is like.

Untitled Goose Game: “It’s a lovely day in the village, and you are a horrible goose.”

Untitled Goose Game screenshot.

Untitled Goose Game is an indie goose simulator (yes, you read that right). The Game’s title and tagline communicate the Unique Selling Point of the game – you play as a goose. An annoying one. Honk!

No Man’s Sky: “Build for an epic journey.”

No Man's Sky promotional banner

No Man’s Sky is a 2016 indie action-adventure survival game published by Hello Games. The tagline inspires us with excitement at the prospect of discovering new lands in our quest for adventure.

The launch of No Man’s Sky left many gamers disappointed after the hype failed to meet expectations. But it has since become the gold standard for how to turn a game around after a bad launch. Most recently, Cyberpunk 2077 has been credited as having pulled off a “No Man’s Sky turn around”.

Red Dead Redemption 2: “Outlaws for life.”

Red Dead Redemption 2 promotional artwork

Red Dead Redemption 2 is a blockbuster AAA game developed by Rockstar Games. It’s a rootin’-tootin’ cowboy shooting action adventure game. The Outlaws for life tagline is relevant because you play as Artur Morgan, part of the Vanrerline Gang, a rag-tag band of outlaws. The word “life” contrasts with the word “dead” in the game’s name. And the “for life” element acts as foreshadowing – you will always be an outlaw.

PacMan: “wonders around every corner.”

Pac Man promo arcade

Well, no list would be complete without me mentioning PacMan at least once. For the uninitiated PacMan was developed by Namco and released in 1980. So, it’s a relic of the Gaming Arcade era. In the game, you play a very hungry yellow circle called PacMan. The tagline “wonders around every corner” is relevant because you, as PacMan, must navigate a maze while avoiding four coloured ghosts. Each of the ghosts has its special properties, and bumping into one at the wrong time will cost one of your three lives.

In the arcade version of PacMan, your goal is the get the highest score so that you may beat the legendary but mysterious gamer known simply as AAA! Jokes aside, if you’ve never played it, it’s a lot of fun and somewhat addictive. You try a play a special version of the game for free online thanks to this google doodle.

World of Warcraft: “Choose your allegiance.”

World of warcraft screenshot Wrath of the Lich King Classic Cinematic Still

World of Warcraft is a Massively Multiplayer Online RPG released by Blizzard Entertainment in 2004. The tagline, “Choose your Allegiance”, refers to the player avatar character being part of a race or faction. The game also encourages players to complete quests together. The tagline really speaks to the human desire for belonging.

The Sims: “Be Somebody. Else.”

The Sims 4 promo artwork

The Sims is a simulation game published by EA, where gamers play as a virtual person in a world where anything is possible. The Sims tagline, “Be Somebody. Else.” taps into a human curiosity, what would it be like if my life was completely different? With The Sims, players can live out a fantasy as a rockstar, politician, or astronaut – anything is possible. The game really offers something for everyone.

The Legend of Zelda: “It’s Dangerous To Go Alone! Take This.”

The Legend of Zelda, title screen 1996

The Legend of Zelda is an action-adventure game franchise developed and published by Nintendo. In the game, your play as Link, a boy with pointy, elf-like ears and an iconic green hat. Link is given the quest to find the eight pieces of a magical sword that will save his homeland. Link starts the game with only a shield until an old man stops him and says, “It’s Dangerous To Go Alone! Take This.”, and then presents link with a sword. And so, the adventure begins.

Aron Marriott-Smith

Aron is a hobbyist indie game developer. Before building this website, Aron spent many years helping businesses market their products and services.

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