There has been some discussion in chat about allowing "identify this game" questions if the asker can narrow the game down to being part of a specific franchise or series. This discussion is prompted by the following question:

Castlevania game title

Start of discussion in The Bridge:


The main argument in favor is that, because the request is limited to a small number of games, there is a greater chance that the user base can come to a definitive single game where the criteria apply.

The main argument against is that the author of the question may have flawed recollection of what franchise the game belongs to.

  • Useful context: gaming.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4168/… May 15, 2017 at 14:01
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    I think if you can provide any definitive information about the game it should be allowed. In the example question the asker provides a cheat code that is apparently only available in one Castlevania game. I guess it also matters that they definied the series as well.
    – BlueBarren
    May 15, 2017 at 14:06

2 Answers 2


No. All these questions have the same issues: all of the information comes from memory alone. Even the series itself is from memory, and can be wrong. These are no different than any other game identification question.

Attempting to narrow it down with a series still doesn't solve one of the main problems with these questions: they are inherently guessing games. Nobody knows the right answer except the asker. There's still no objective criteria to use for voting; just what voters think might be the right answer.

For an example on how this could work: "I remember playing a game in the Atelier series. The main character was a girl, and she used a staff. Which game am I talking about?" Hint: All the main characters match that description. Knowing the series makes no difference in trying to figure out which one it is.

Case in point:

i tried searching that too, but it doesn't look like this game at all

The asker themselves don't think its that game. Based on the criteria we've been given, however, they don't think its right. That highlights my argument perfectly.

If you think you know what series a game you're remembering came from, google has the resources to help you out, and help you find it. Its easier for the asker to just google it themselves than ask us, where they're still inherently problematic.

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    I don't see how someone answering one of these questions is guessing the game in a scenario where the asker provides a screenshot or some concrete info that's specific to that game alone.
    – BlueBarren
    May 15, 2017 at 14:11
  • Because even the series is still a guess. You're taking as a given that the asker is correct. Chances are extremely good they're not.
    – Frank
    May 15, 2017 at 14:13
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    I think there are cases where someone can definitively say what the series is. An example would be if you see Mario in a game but you don't know which Mario game it is you can say for sure it's a Mario game.
    – BlueBarren
    May 15, 2017 at 14:16
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    What makes it definitive? Why is certain criteria definitive, and others not? Knowing the series is just another piece of information. Nothing about it makes these questions any more answerable.
    – Frank
    May 15, 2017 at 14:20
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    It's definitive because Mario doesn't show up in games like Halo or Call of Duty. Obviously this isn't going to work in all cases but there are definitely cases where certain information in a game gives clear indication on what series/franchise the game belongs to. Yes it is just "another piece of information" and just knowing what series a game is from will not give you your answer but with more details on top of that I think someone would be able to give an answer to an ITG question.
    – BlueBarren
    May 15, 2017 at 14:24
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    And then we're right back to square one, where ITG was the most popular, and most problematic tag we had. No thanks. We banned ITG, and I, for one, don't want it coming back.
    – Frank
    May 15, 2017 at 14:26
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    I agree with @Frank. Wikipedia is actually pretty good for answering these questions, as there's often a page for the entire series of a game, with handy links to the individual games in the series. If you can't find your answer that way, either you're misremembering or you don't have enough detail to get an answer anyway.
    – MBraedley
    May 15, 2017 at 14:30
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    After seeing the asker's comment linked in this answer I think I agree that we really can't take information like "I know what this series is from" at face value. And without being able to accept any information definitively how can we answer a question like this? We really can't.
    – BlueBarren
    May 15, 2017 at 14:35
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    @BlueBarren WRT your upvoted comment, "I saw a game with Mario and Bowser, and they were competing against each other, and they had power-ups available to them. What game was it that I saw?" That describes games in at least three different series. Even if we narrow it down with "and they looked to be driving go carts" then you're still describing every MarioCart game out there.
    – MBraedley
    May 15, 2017 at 14:36
  • @MBraedley well my logic doesn't work for every example but it does work for some and that was the point I was trying to make.
    – BlueBarren
    May 15, 2017 at 14:49
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    @BlueBarren I think the problem is that it doesn't work for all, and therefore cannot be used as a criteria. If giving the series title consistently provided a source of definite identification; then it would be fine.
    – JMac
    May 15, 2017 at 14:51
  • just to correct you with you're Atelier example, there is at least 1 game that isn't the case and that's the first Atelier Iris who the main alchemist character was male and the main female character used fists (though doesn't change your point, just being nit picky with your hint)
    – Memor-X
    May 16, 2017 at 23:44

Identifying games based on memory alone is not reliable. Period. Even if the choice of games is narrowed down, there's still too many variables (not to mention the asker's own possibly incorrect memories) to accurately identify the game.

Here are two scenarios that I can think of off the top of my head where narrowing down the series doesn't help at all:

Scenario 1:

I can't remember which Mario Party game this is, I'm hoping someone can help me remember. I know you could play as Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, and a couple other characters. I also remember that there was one minigame where you had to try to escape from a bad guy, I think it was a Boo? Or maybe a Piranha Flower? And another minigame was where you had to knock people off a platform. Any ideas?

This describes almost every Mario Party game to date. The playable characters are always the standard Mario characters, plus or minus a few "guest stars". And the descriptions of the minigames can be interpreted in several ways - is "escaping" the bad guy literally running away, or does it include avoiding them as they shoot fireballs at you? Or maybe OP is remembering wrong and you're actually supposed to attack them? Who knows? (For the record, I was thinking of Mario Party 3 for this question, but it could also apply to several others.)

Scenario 2:

There was a Zelda game that I really wanted to play again, but I can't remember the name. In the game, you had to collect pieces of the Triforce so you could forge the Triforce of Courage together so you could beat the final boss (I think his name was Vaati). Some of the items you could collect included the Master Sword (of course), the hookshot, the Roc's cape, and the Book of Mudora (which unlocked a dungeon IIRC). I also remember there was some kind of floating rainbow ball that gave you a really powerful one-time-use attack when you broke it. Anyone have any idea?

This question doesn't describe any Zelda game... or, more accurately, it mixes multiple games into one. It's got elements from Minish Cap, Wind Waker, Link's Awakening, Link to the Past, and even Super Smash Bros Brawl. Again, the OP's faulty memory is to blame for this question - since we can't rely on perfectly accurate memory, we would have to guess which one they are actually asking about. On a site dedicated to providing accurate answers, guessing is a Bad Thing™.


Because memory cannot always be trusted to be accurate, we simply cannot answer these questions with a reliable degree of confidence. This is why questions like this are off-topic - unless we have a picture of the game itself, which is accurate evidence.

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