|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.|
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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)
When did names become universal? I guess around 2000.
@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.
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 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.
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.