I love naming things. Sometimes that love is unhealthy. I obsess over it.

The internet isn’t helping. The scarcity of good, meaningful domain names turns people like me into compulsive collectors. I have a lovely little collection of registered domain names I’ll never use. I keep them in a nice display case up on a high shelf. Occasionally I take them down, look them over and imagine all the wonderful sites and apps I could build around them. Their renewal fees come due sporadically through the year. It’s rare I’m able to muster the strength to let any of them go.

Social networks compound the issue. It probably isn’t a great idea to register a domain if the corresponding name is taken on Twitter, especially if the owner uses the account to dispense their personal brand of venom and bile into the world. This makes a truly great name that much more rare, which further antagonizes my inner collector.

A casual search for a name that starts out as a fun exercise in clever wordplay can quickly escalate into a bizarre and demoralizing quest to extract meaning out of nonsense (“Say, what do you think of when you see ‘phloom.com?’ Oh, never mind, it’s already taken.”).

So you can understand my consternation when, a few weeks ago, my compulsions informed me in no uncertain terms that I needed to find a name for my foray into game development.

Why? Well, it’s vitally important to me that I share my progress and join in the gamedev community. I’ve tried to do too much on my own. Always the loner. If I could live a thousand lifetimes, that might work on rare occasions, but it’d be a waste. It’s taken me a long time to grok that.

I already have another web site where I occasionally write about games, but I didn’t want to use a personal account for this. I wanted something separate, something I could grow beyond myself.

I set out on my perilous quest (well, my ill-advised, time-consuming quest, anyway). Eventually, after chasing innumerable synonym trails and scouring the etymological catacombs, I came upon this beauty:

Exploit Agency.

The more I thought about it, the more I liked it. It can be read at least two different, complimentary ways:

The “Exploit Agency” is a firm you can enlist to arrange opportunities for adventure and daring feats. We make games.

“Exploit Agency” is also the prime gaming imperative. That is, in playing any game, you must take advantage of (exploit) the game’s capacity for expressing one’s will (agency).

Okay, so the latter part is a little heady. Hopefully people will just think it sounds cool. Or maybe it’s enough that the name doesn’t make people think of anything icky or embarrassing.

Time will tell.

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