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US/UK Set Naming

cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
edited March 2016 in Everything else LEGO
So thanks to Huw (and Alice) work I was looking through the old catalogues of my childhood and noticed how different the names are for the different sets. Its a mixed bag, some of the US I prefere (Stardefender 200 for example) but some are really terrible (Monorail Transport System) and some UK names feel more sensible (Blacktron Strider). Particularly the Space Police and Blacktron theres much more of a theme running through the UK names, the US perhaps more descriptive/prescriptive. Anyway, I wondered what other people thought - the US names now having become so accepted - Message Intercept Base for example.

#6810    Laser Ranger --> Speed Rider
#6850    Auxiliary Patroller --> Space Pod
#6770    Lunar Transporter Patroller --> Magma Carrier
#6828    Twin-Winged Spoiler --> Sky Walker
#6830    Space Patroller --> Sky Streak
#6848    Strategic Pursuer --> Robo-rider
#6875    Hovercraft --> Star Fleet Patrol
#6885    Crater Crawler --> Crater Crawler
#6884    Aero Module --> Hyper Pod Explorer
#6893    Orion II Hyperspace --> Roboprobe Transporter
#6932    Stardefender 200 --> Plasma-Drive Starship
#6953    Cosmic Laser Launcher --> Star Base One
#6990    Monorail Transport System --> Space Trak Centre

#6831   Space Police Message Decoder --> Space Police Patrol
#6886   Space Police Galactic Peace Keeper --> Space Police Hunter
#6895   Space Police Spy-Trak --> Space Police Prowler
#6781   Space Police Striker --> Space Police Prisoner Transport
#6986   Space Police Mission Commander --> Space Police Galactic Enforcer

#6876   Blacktron Alienator --> Blacktron Strider
#6894   Blacktron Battrax --> Blacktron Prowler
#6941   Blacktron Invader --> Blacktron Cruiser
#6987   Blacktron Message-Intercept Base --> Blacktron Star Base
Bumblepantskiki180703catwranglersnowhitie

Comments

  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,861
    I spent a lot of time analyzing different countries' names for Space and Castle sets a few years back. You can see what I found right here.

    I kind of disagree in some cases about the U.S. names being more descriptive/prescriptive. For some themes that may be the case, but in some cases the US names are just technobabble. Let's take the M:Tron theme as an example. The U.S. names tell you next to nothing about what the faction's actual function was. The U.K. names and other countries' names tend to be clearer about them being a rescue/service operation.

    #6811 Pulsar Charger (US) / Micro-Bike (UK)
    #6833 Beacon Tracer (US) / Inspection Buggy (UK)
    #6877 Vector Detector (US) / Search Craft (UK)
    #6896 Celestial Forager (US) / Astro Wrecker (UK)
    #6923 Particle Ionizer (US) / Cosmicopter (UK)
    #6956 Stellar Recon Voyager (US) / Rescue Star Cruiser (UK)
    #6989 Mega Core Magnetizer (US) / Recovery Center (UK)

    On the other hand, the British U.F.O. set names were pretty style-over-substance — just "X" in front of a spacey-sounding word. "Xvader" and "Xhyper" and "Xalienator" (UK) versus "Cyber Saucer" and "V-Wing Fighter" and "Alien Avenger" (US).

    On another note, in some set names, the British versions were more likely to actually name the characters:

    #6705 Space Explorers (US) / Commander Bear and the Spyrians (UK)
    #6834 Celestial Sled (US) / Commander Bear (UK)
    #6939 Saucer Centurion (US) / Spyrian Sovek with Major Kartofsky (UK)
    cheshirecatkiki180703catwranglerLyichirsnowhitie
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,644
    An interesting discussion! I wondered if we should include UK names in the database as well as the US  ones. Now I have all the catalogues it would be relatively easy to collate them.

    When did names become universal? I guess around 2000.
    Lego_Starcatwrangler
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    I was wondering the same thing about when they became consistent. At some point during my dark ages, I didn't even realise how different they were. 

    @Aanchir I can't follow your link at the moment. Did you also translate the foreign language versions? I noticed some differences but also similarities when flicking through the catalogues but my foreign language skills are very lacking.
  • natro220natro220 USAMember Posts: 545
    I thought the differences in Castle and Pirates to be interesting as well.  Why does the UK get to have the Forestmen outright be Robin Hood's merry men for instance?
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    My gut tells me the UK names would be closer to what the Denmark designers had in mind, so long as there's some consistency with the other European languages. Which if true, makes the decision to go with US naming somewhat unfortunate.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    A twist on this is #8284 which not only has different names, the primary and secondary models are switched.
  • natro220natro220 USAMember Posts: 545
    @Huw - Now that you have a comprehensive library of catalogs, it would be interesting if you could update the set details with the years it was available in each region (similar to how each current set gets that detail based on Lego Shop at Home availability.) 
  • TechnicNickTechnicNick Berkshire, UKMember Posts: 277
    #5590 was 'Helicopter Transport' in the UK, and, um, 'Whirl and Wheel Super Truck' in the US....
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,861
    edited March 2016
    Huw said:
    An interesting discussion! I wondered if we should include UK names in the database as well as the US  ones. Now I have all the catalogues it would be relatively easy to collate them.

    When did names become universal? I guess around 2000.z
    I don't know specifically about when set names became consistent. I do know, however, that LEGO started to standardize CHARACTER names in 2000, around the time of the Adventurers Dino Island sets. Previously, marketing materials had referred to the Adventurers characters by different names depending on region. For instance, Johnny Thunder/Sam Grant/Joe Freeman, Gail Storm/Pippin Reed/Linda Lovely, and Dr. Charles Lightning/Dr. Kilroy/Professor Articus. Complicating matters further, some media in the U.S. used names from other regions. In the Dino Island sets and media they finally began to standardize these names from region to region.

    The change might have been because this was when the LEGO Group started to step up their media presence, and they didn't always have different versions of the website and computer games for different regions, only for different languages.
    I was wondering the same thing about when they became consistent. At some point during my dark ages, I didn't even realise how different they were. 

    @Aanchir I can't follow your link at the moment. Did you also translate the foreign language versions? I noticed some differences but also similarities when flicking through the catalogues but my foreign language skills are very lacking.
    I did, though I used Google Translate since I'm not fluent in any of those other languages. So some translations might seem a bit "off" to a native speaker. Also, I was only able to translate foreign names for countries I could find catalogs online for. I don't own any foreign catalogs from those days as hard copies.
  • luckyrussluckyruss UKMember Posts: 872
    Was this anything to do with the introduction of licensed sets (where greater conformity is necessary due to source material) or is it just coincidental timing?
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,939
    What about the good old' Dino 2010 (UK) vs Dino Hunters (US). That distinction (and the differences in the sets) shocked me even as a kid!
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,861
    luckyruss said:
    Was this anything to do with the introduction of licensed sets (where greater conformity is necessary due to source material) or is it just coincidental timing?
    I'd associate it more with LEGO trying to step up their own media presence in the late 90s. That was when LEGO computer games started coming out, when LEGO.com really started to grow, and shortly before LEGO launched Bionicle, which was one of their first fully-developed in-house IPs.
    What about the good old' Dino 2010 (UK) vs Dino Hunters (US). That distinction (and the differences in the sets) shocked me even as a kid!
    It was actually Dino Attack, not Dino Hunters. I remember reading a designer saying that originally, Vikings was supposed to be released in Europe but not the U.S. and Dino Attack was supposed to be released in the U.S. but not Europe, but both themes were popular enough that LEGO decided to release them globally. However, the Dino Attack theme was more aggressive than LEGO thought European audiences would be comfortable with, so they watered them down by replacing the armaments with nets and cages and changing the setting from a post-apocalyptic city to a tropical wilderness.

    As much as I love non-violent play scenarios, I think Dino Attack was the better theme design-wise. Its cannons and other weapons were pretty creative for their time, while the nets and cages for Dino 2010 felt like sort of an afterthought. The bizarre mutant dinos also make more sense as "experiments gone wrong" than as a part of a natural ecosystem. Knowing how the Dino 2010 theme came about, both those things start to make a bit more sense.


    Lyichircatwranglerplasmodiumkiki180703
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