Artifact Title

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A series title that made perfect sense when it began, but after a number of changes to the premise, no longer makes sense to people who don't go back to the beginning. Sometimes a new element is put in to justify the title.

This usually happens when a movie named after a specific MacGuffin suddenly gets a sequel, and changing the title to something else might throw people off that this is a sequel. One of the ways to avert this is through a title Retcon, downgrading the original MacGuffin Title to a subtitle with the main title being something more consistent. They very well couldn't have called the Indiana Jones sequel Raiders of the Lost Ark 2, could they?

See also The Artifact. Often a direct result of Nothing Is the Same Anymore. Happens often in poorly devised Alternate Universe Fan Fiction. Eventually this could turn a title into a Non-Indicative Name.

Examples of Artifact Title include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha—The "Lyrical" part was part of an incantation Nanoha used to activate her spells. By around the third episode of the first season, only one of her spells requires the incantation at all. It sticks around a little longer as "On the Next Episode of..." Catchphrase, though even then it wasn't applied to the darker episodes. She then drops the practice altogether around the start of the second season.
    • About the time of Nanoha StrikerS, the series dropped any pretense of being a Magical Girl show, but that part of the title wasn't replaced until Nanoha Force.
    • And Nanoha is only a secondary character in both ViVid and the above-mentioned Force, but her name is still on the title.
  • In Dragon Ball, while the title Plot Coupons are the driving force of the first series, as time goes on, the show becomes less about the aforementioned Dragon Balls and more about watching long-winded bouts between various aliens and super-powered beings. Eventually, the balls are relegated to little more than a plot device the protagonists customarily fall back on when too many of their own die. Ironically, this comes full circle in Dragon Ball GT, which most fans consider Fanon Discontinuity.
  • A version appears in Fist of the North Star, although it's not the title of the series. Kenshiro's signature attack is the "Hundred Crack Fist of the North Star". But why "Hundred Crack?" Because in its first published appearance in a non-canonical prequel pilot, the move's entire purpose was to crack an enemy's hardened armor in a hundred places. Thus, it is literally the "hundred crack" fist. However, it was never used for this purpose in the main series, instead just making enemies explode like everybody else.
  • In the first chapter of Record of a Yokohama Shopping Trip Alpha does indeed taking a shopping trip to Yokohama—which has no actual relevance to the rest of the series until the very last chapter, when she goes shopping again.
  • Only the first few chapters of Highschool of the Dead are set in a High School. This is, however, mostly the result of a translation issue. A more accurate translation of the title is "Academy Apocalypse", which makes slightly more sense.
  • When Meine Liebe (German for "My love") went from Dating Sim to anime they removed the female lead which leads to people mistaking it for a Boys Love series.
  • Index, the title character of To Aru Majutsu no Index, gets Demoted to Extra within the first ten episodes. Albeit the occasional arc gives her more focus, but she never regains her importance of the first arc. She is, however, one of the most important characters of the series and she gets a large role in The Movie, so it's not as bad as other examples.
  • The anime Candy Boy was originally released as an extra for a single of the same name. This is rather confusing to new viewers, as all of the characters are female.
  • Elfen Lied is named after a German song of the same name, which was featured throughout the manga. The anime, however, dropped the song and left the name.
    • Elfen Lied specifically translates as "Elven Song".
  • The Hentai anime Lesbian Ward, which was originally a series of live-action girl-on-girl-only adult videos, features a lot of male involvement and semen play. Only two characters in the anime can be considered exclusively lesbian. Apparently, its makers thought "lesbians" engage in sex with other women for the amusement of men... which probably describes 90% of all "lesbian" porn out there.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's was about five Signer Dragons... until Crow's Black-Winged Dragon came along.
    • The "Yu-Gi-Oh!" itself is an artifact; it means King of Games, and is the title because its main character (or rather, the main character's alter-ego) is invincible in any game. After Duel Monsters became the only game anyone played (from volume 8 of the manga on), the title started to make less sense.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia is beginning to lean this way, with very little of the new material focusing on WWII or even on Italy. This may be part of the reason the anime was renamed to Hetalia: World Series.
  • Saint Seiya got that title because Seiya was The Protagonist but new sagas don't even have him as a character, as they revolve around different Athena's saints, sometimes a century apart.
  • Guru Guru Pon Chan. The "Guru Guru" in the title refers to spinning, and only in volume 1 did Ponta spin to transform.
  • The anime adaption of the Haruhi Suzumiya light novels, gets its title from the first novel, The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya, however, the show adapts from 5 different books, each one with a different title. Currently it has adapted the first three books plus some short stories of the fifth and sixth novels.
    • Averted by The Movie based on the fourth novel, since it's named after the book.
  • Marmalade Boy got this twice: The original title referred to The Protagonist as that would be a guy before the author decided to do a Gender Flip and got a female protagonist instead, though the manga subverts this by having said protagonist nickname her Love Interest after marmalade in a Title Drop. Furthermore, in Spain the anime was renamed "La Familia Crece", which means "The Family Grows" and refers to the first episode setting up the two families living together, though this isn't given a lot of attention during most of the show. There's even barely any Flirty Stepsiblings angst or the like.
  • Medaka Box: The titular box plays less and less of a role as the series goes on. Initially, its role made sense as the series revolved around helping others with their day-to-day problems. Now, it's only occasionally used as a plot device.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The very term "comic book". Unless, of course, you think Batman is hilarious. Which he is, but still....
  • The 'DC' in DC Comics originally stood for Detective Comics. Very few of their comics today feature actual detectives, and officially the acronym no longer has any meaning.[1] Similarly, while the actual Detective Comics publication does feature Batman, "the world's greatest detective", many of the stories therein feature little or no actual detective work.
  • While Cable & Deadpool always had the tendency to focus more on the latter than the former, the title became obsolete once Cable (temporarily) died. They lampshaded this by crossing out the word "Cable" on the covers and replacing it with the name of the guest stars.
  • From #3 onwards of the comic series Nextwave, its official title was "Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E" (due to trademark issues). This was despite the fact they stopped being agents of H.A.T.E by the end of #1, giving it an Artifact Title from the beginning. This was lampshaded in every comics recap after it became irrelevant.
  • The "Stories" in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories were originally passages of text with minimal illustrations (and thus, "stories" about Disney characters) rather than actual comic strips. As those faded out of use in favour for comics, the official title of the series remained Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, but the title logo simply reads Walt Disney's Comics.
  • When Donald Duck's superhero alter-ego from the Italian comics, originally known as Paperinik, made its way into American comics in Disney Adventures, the characters was given the English name of the Duck Avenger, the obvious reason for the change being so that he'd have the same initials as the magazine. Nine years later, the Duck Avenger is still the character's official English name, even though Disney Adventures is no longer published.
  • In Vol. 4 of Mirage's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, the turtles are now in their thirties, having aged in real time since the original series.
  • 2000 AD's title was chosen in 1977 because it sounded futuristic. Publishers IPC Media didn't really think about this trope when they okayed it. They launched new titles on a regular basis, and the predicted lifespan of a children's title (as it was originally) was 18 months. In the 1990s there were a few attempts to change the name to something less "dated", all of which were roundly rejected by the fans. It's still called 2000 AD today. It's now more of a Badass Boast since the stance in Prog 2000 (the last issue released in 1999)[2] said "We were here first. The year can change its name."
  • Watchmen character the Comedian is an In-Universe example. The "jester" motif of his original costume fit his name. But by the Vietnam era, he wore leather armor with a red-white-and-blue motif. In his later years, he's about as funny as a hammer to the face. The name still makes sense metaphorically, though: the Comedian is the only one who "gets the joke" about the messed-up, senseless Crapsack World the story takes place in.
    • It's implied in the movie at least that he chose the name BECAUSE he was a nihilistic Deadpan Snarker Complete Monster sociopath. Totally devoid of empathy, and able to laugh at what everyone else endures in the Crapsack World. We're certainly never shown a cheerful Comedian, even in the flashbacks.
  • None of the main characters in Knights of the Old Republic are the titular (Jedi) Knights: Zayne is a Padawan who missed his first opportunity due to a combination of circumstances and later refused the offer of knighthood after clearing his name, and his companions never had any formal Jedi training. The comic inherited that title from the video game, which in turn got it from an even earlier arc of the Tales of the Jedi limited comic series.
  • When Jack Kirby and Joe Simon created the Newsboy Legion in The Golden Age of Comic Books, they were so-called because they were orphans who sold newspapers to earn a living. This had become an anachronism in later years, which was addressed in several different ways:
    • When Kirby introduced their identical sons in the Bronze Age, they were also known as the Newsboy Legion, even though they'd never sold a paper in their lives.
    • The current incarnation of the Legion are clones of the originals (the sons don't exist Post-Crisis), and they still don't sell papers.
    • Walt Simonson tried to bring them up-to-date in Orion as the Newsgroup Legion, a term more recently used by Jimmy Olsen (although it remains to be seen if he's talking about the same kids).
    • In Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers, the Newsboy Legion is the Manhattan Guardian's army of amateur reporters.
  • The home titles of DC Comics' Enemy Ace feature were Our Army At War and Star-Spangled War Stories. For the mostly-American readership, the tales of German World War I ace Hans von Hammer were neither "star-spangled" nor about "our" army.
  • Stephanie Brown, the current Batgirl, originally operated under the superhero identity of 'the Spoiler.' Her name and modus operandi came from her relationship with her father, the Cluemaster, who was a B-grade Riddler knockoff. Stephanie grew to despise her father and his criminal ways, so she would go out and leave clues to help Batman and Robin catch him, literally spoiling his crimes. However, Stephanie quickly branched out into crimefighting beyond her father and she no longer did any "spoiling", she would directly intervene and fight crime herself. She retained the name for years, not counting her brief tenure as the fourth Robin, and there became such a disconnect between her current activities and her original actions that even a lot of her fans did not know where her identity came from. In 2009, following the death of Batman, she inherited the Batgirl title from Cassandra Cain and the Spoiler identity was laid to rest.
  • DC Comics' World's Finest title has traditionally been a Superman-Batman teamup book. It evolved out of a 1940s World's Fair special comic.
  • The Marvel Comics line 2099 showcased the future of the Marvel Universe, including future versions of classic heroes. Initially, the comics took place in the year 2099. Instead of straining the confines of Comic Book Time, Marvel allowed the titles to mention months and even years going by, thus the titles eventually took place in the year 2100 and beyond.
  • The title of the graphic novel series 30 Days of Night refers to the period during the winter in Barrow, Alaska during which the sun doesn't rise for 30 days straight. In the series, a legion of vampires takes advantage of this to go on a 30 day feeding frenzy without worrying about the sun. The series went on to take place in locations other than Alaska, but retained the title. The events in Barrow set most of the rest of the series in continuous motion by making vampires in danger of being exposed because of the huge massacre in Barrow. So its partially justified in that the events in the first installment remain important as the series goes on.

Fan Fiction[edit | hide]

  • Fanfiction gets this a lot, as many works are named after an element of the premise that isn't necessarily required for there to be a story set in that universe, or in a different universe with similar characters.
  • Digimon fanfiction tends to have this problem (i.e lots of the human characters, no Digimon and even if you get the Digimon, there's a decent chance there won't be any villains to battle). This is because Digimon has a LOT of fanfiction, and fanfiction is primarily a medium for the writers' romantic fantasies. Of course, those selfsame fans complained when Frontier didn't have any Digimon partners and instead focused entirely on the human team dynamics.
  • On a similar note, a lot of Pokémon fanfics either don't include Pokemon or barely mention them.
  • A lot of Harry Potter fanfiction features no appearance by the title character at all. In fact, there is a whole genre of fics dedicated to the era when Harry's parents attended Hogwarts.
  • Likewise, a large percentage of Fullmetal Alchemist fanfiction does not actually include Edward Elric, the titular Fullmetal Alchemist.
    • And by definition, any fanfiction taking place after the manga's ending doesn't include the Fullmetal Alchemist, because Ed is no longer an alchemist.
      • For that matter, the same logic also applies to the Fullmetal Alchemist movie Conqueror of Shamballa.
  • The Land Before Time features many fanfics involving time travel to the future... so... not set in the land before time then...
  • Most popular Rave Master fanfiction contains no reference to the rave stones at all. The biggest ones, in fact, are the ones where the characters are set in a normal universe with no magic or swordfighting of any sort.

Film[edit | hide]

  • Only about half the Friday the 13 th films are actually set on Friday the 13th.
  • The titular diamond in The Pink Panther is only referred to in a few films of the series, leading many people to think that "the Pink Panther" is Inspector Clouseau's nickname. Averted by the second film in the series, however, A Shot in the Dark, named such because it includes Clouseau but not the diamond.
  • The first Free Willy movie ends with Willy being set free, hence the title. There isn't a whole lot of freeing in the sequels. Unless the "free" there is supposed to be an adjective describing Willy.
    • This was originally supposed to be averted, as the second film was going to be titled Willy 2: The Adventure Home (early trailers carry this title). It seems as if Warner Bros. got cold feet and became afraid that people wouldn't make the connection to Free Willy.
  • Home Alone. The first film fits this title perfectly. In the second film, Kevin isn't even at home, but he is alone. In the third film, Alex is at home, but isn't alone all that much as his mother is often at home as well. In the fourth film, Kevin is neither at home nor alone; he's at his future stepmother's house, which is always also occupied by the butler.
    • The second film is sort of justified, considering the full title is Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. It acknowledges the changed premise while being a sequel to the first. And Alex is left alone all the times the burglars are operating.
  • The Thin Man. The original film's title referred to the murder victim in the story. However, the sequels continued to use 'Thin Man' in the title, leading people to assume that 'The Thin Man' was the lead detective Nick Charles. By the time of the fifth film in the series, The Thin Man Goes Home, in which Nick and Nora go back to Nick's hometown, this was true.
  • Jurassic Park. The titular park only merits a mention or two outside the first film. Of note is that the Jurassic Park was pushed to the back of the title for The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
  • When Neil Diamond did his remake of The Jazz Singer, he retained the original title, although he sings no jazz in the movie.
  • Final Destination, sort of. While the title also refers to the character's fated deaths, for the first movie it was a play on the fact that the characters' escaping a plane crash set off the events. Later movies have nothing to do with planes and the double meaning is lost.
  • More an Artifact Naming Convention, the Carry On series began with Carry On Sergeant, a command familiar to all ex-servicemen or national servicemen at the time. It was commonly used by British officers, indicating that the sergeant addressed should proceed with orders iven, or resume what they were doing before they were interrupted. Only a few of the subsequent titles came close to following that context.
  • Major League: Back to the Minors.
  • An interesting cross-language translation example happened with the Steven Seagal movie Under Siege. In Israel, the copywriters decided to translate the title as "Naval Siege", which sounded cooler in Hebrew. It also fit the movie well, because it takes place on a ship. However, when the sequel Under Siege 2 came out, they had a problem: the movie doesn't have a single ship in it. The result? The first movie is called "Naval Siege", while the second movie is called "Under Siege". Let the confusion commence!
  • The Madagascar sequel goes the subtitle route by adding Escape 2 Africa. The third film has them going to Europe.
  • The reason the book is titled The Neverending Story is left out of the film version. In the book, many vague allusions are made to the further adventures of secondary characters, always accompanied by the phrase, "But that is another story, and will be told another time." In the end, Bastian is told he can't leave until every storyline he started up is finished. However, several story hooks get created for every plot he wrapped up. Atreyu saves him by taking on the task on his behalf. In other words, the book has a very good reason why the story is neverending: because the act of writing a story creates a world where further adventures could happen, and telling those stories only creates openings for new ones. The human imagination has a limitless capacity for new stories. Of course, you couldn't actually film that, anyway.
  • Troll 2 is about goblins. Although that's not exactly what it's famous for...
  • The Karate Kid's 2010 remake does not feature any karate, and when the primary character's mother talks about him learning Karate he explicitly states that it is Kung Fu, not Karate. Press releases have explained that the other characters gave him the derogatory nickname 'karate kid' because he claimed to know a little bit of karate early in the film, but he was never addressed as such in the movie itself. The film was released as The Kung-Fu Kid in several countries. In South Korea, it was called The Best Kid.
  • The remake of The Manchurian Candidate doesn't have anything to do with Manchuria. The writers justify the name by involving a corporation called "Manchurian Global" in the plot.
  • First Blood refers to how John Rambo justified maiming several American policemen: "They drew first blood, not me." In the second movie, Rambo: First Blood Part 2, the cops are completely out of the picture, and there's no mention by anyone of who struck the first blow. Further movies dropped "First Blood" from the title (Rambo III and Rambo).
  • Die Hard in Poland and Italy has this. The title there is Glass Trap (Szklana Pułapka and Trappola di cristallo, respectively), which makes sense, since the first one takes place in a skyscraper. Not so much in the sequels. The same happens in Spain. The title there is Crystal Jungle (Jungla de Cristal). Latin-America was relieved of the problem, as the movie there was called Duro de matar (Hard to kill).
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street eventually left Elm Street.
  • Zig-zagged by the Police Academy movies. The first took place at the titular academy. The second only had a brief scene there. The third and fourth took place there. The fifth and all subsequent films had brief scenes at the academy at best.
  • The movie Hearts in Atlantis is based on a Stephen King novella called Low Men in Yellow Coats. Hearts in Atlantis was the name of the short story anthology that the story first appeared in. The title actually referred to another story in the anthology, which was about a group of college kids who become addicted to playing hearts (the card game). The movie had nothing to do with this, and was about an elderly man with psychic powers fleeing from government agents.
  • The Mummy Tomb of the Dragon Emperor did not feature the title character Imhotep ("the" Mummy). The villain was a mummy, but the movie might have been better titled "The Adventures of Rick O'Connell".
  • Pitch Black was so named because of the eclipse causing total darkness on the planet that most of the film is set on. Of course, the sequels were GOING to be about Riddick and not that particular story (see Vin Diesel if the reasoning behind this decision is unclear), and every other story released in any medium has been prefaced by the title "The Chronicles of Riddick", including retconning this into Pitch Black's title in subsequent releases.
  • Unnecessarily averted with U.S. Marshals, the sequel to The Fugitive. Both films were about fugitives.
  • Rush Hour. There's only one scene in the first movie where the title makes sense. As for the sequels, what does "rush hour" have to do with the crimes around the world?
  • Back to The Future has some in-universe examples of this. In 1955, Lou's Café is literally a café owned by Lou Caruthers. By 1985, it has become Lou's Aerobic Fitness Center and, given his age in 1955, Lou is probably no longer the actual owner of the building (or if he is, he's just collecting rent money). Twin Pines Mall (or Lone Pine Mall, depending on which timeline you're in) was named after the tree farm which used to exist on the land. Twin Pines Ranch being changed to Lone Pine Ranch after Marty ran over one of the display trees is an example of averting this trope, resulting in the irony that the name later becomes the artifact anyway when the mall is built.
  • Practically everyone knows Soylent Green is people, at least in the film. But in the original novel, Soylent Green was soy and lentils, hence the title.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Timothy Zahn's The Thrawn Trilogy was originally just called The Star Wars Trilogy, as it was the first Expanded Universe series that actually tried to advance the plot from where the movies left off. Later, it was retroactively titled The Thrawn Trilogy to differentiate it from the hundreds of other novels taking place after Return of the Jedi.
  • In the Demon Headmaster novels, the titular Diabolical Mastermind is only a school headmaster in the first book, though he's referred to as the Headmaster throughout because that's the context the heroes first encountered him in.
  • After book one, The Boxcar Children spend more time solving mysteries than encountering boxcars. They got the name because they lived in a boxcar for a while, but it sticks after they don't live there anymore.
    • Although their grandfather did move the Boxcar to his backyard when they came to live with him.
  • Several English translations of The Phantom of the Opera translate the French "fantôme" as "ghost" within the text but, understandably, don't change the widely-known title; thus, the eponymous character is never actually called "phantom of the Opera" but "the Opera ghost."
  • "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy." Lampshaded with Mostly Harmless bearing the description, "The fifth book in the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhiker's Trilogy." Some later editions of the other novels include similar blurbs.
  • The Ranger's Apprentice series, after Will graduated from being an apprentice to being a full ranger.
  • The Foundation Trilogy has an in-universe example. At first, "The Encyclopedia Foundation" was a NGO focusing on the publishing of a compendium of all human knowledge. While they did eventually do that (sort of), the Foundation focused more on Seldon's plan, and became an empire.
  • The title of Tom Clancy's novel Rainbow Six refers to the call-sign of the titular team's leader, John Clark. However, past the prologue, the viewpoint focuses on Ding Chavez and his fire-team at least as often as it does on Clark.
  • The Inheritance Trilogy, published in four books.
  • Francine Rivers' The Mark of the Lion trilogy, in which actual marking by lions doesn't feature until the very end of the first book, and doesn't feature at all in the third. (Though it could easily be inferred to be an important metaphor, what with Jesus being referred to as the Lion of Judah.)


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • 48 Hours (not the movie) began life as a series of documentaries examining certain topics over the course of 48 hours. Eventually it was retooled into a true crime documentary series under the titles 48 Hours Investigates and later 48 Hours Mystery. The original idea of examining a subject over a time span of 48 hours was abandoned as the show followed various true crime murder stories, but for no particular reason "48 Hours" remains in the title.
  • Blake's 7 no longer had Roj Blake in it after series 2 (except for the final episode). Also, they only had seven members if you include the sentient/talking ship and separate but also sentient/talking computer.
  • Taggart no longer has a Taggart in it, since the actor playing him (Mark McManus) died. In fact it lasted far longer without its title character than it did with him.
  • The titular ship in Red Dwarf was completely absent in the sixth and almost all of the seventh series of the show and had little importance in series 5 and the Back to Earth special.
  • Scrubs refers to both the clothing worn in a hospital and the newbies the main cast once were, but that part lost its meaning after the third season. The German version is even worse, being subtitled "Die Anfänger" - The Beginners.
    • With the 9th season, subtitled Med School, a new generation of newbies have been introduced.
  • Space: 1999 begins in September 1999, but by the end of the series they must be well into the 2000s.
  • Prison Break for the second season, at least. The Hebrew name, Escapees/Escaping suits the second season even more than the original title.
    • In Australia, the second season was titled Prison Break: On The Run.
    • Gets even worse in the fourth season, where none of the characters are imprisoned or fugitives until the final telemovie.
    • As if the writers/producers realized the problem too late and got desperate, they implemented two Replacement Artifact devices: in season 3, Michael ends up in another prison, from which he is compelled to escape, and in season 4, Sara is put in prison, and they plot to break her out.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: as the seasons go by, Buffy fights things that are clearly not vampires with so much more frequency that "Demon Slayer" would be more appropriate. In the show, she's formally just the Slayer.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. featured two men in the title role after the first couple of episodes...
  • Many know of the successful show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, but few remember original Extreme Makeover which Home Edition was a Spin Off of, which languished for two seasons before quietly fading to oblivion.
  • McLeod's Daughters began its 8 season run with Claire and Tess McLeod being left the family farm by their father Jack. Claire died in Season 3 and Tess left in Season 6, leaving the farm to be run by McLeod's nieces.
    • Jodi was revealed to be Jack's illegitimate daughter later on, but she left in Season 7.
  • When this hits like it did in Laverne and Shirley, which saw the titular Shirley leaving the cast in the final season, it's a pretty sure sign that the show has Jumped the Shark, and it's time to pull the plug.
  • Similar example: the awful final season of Welcome Back, Kotter, which was largely Kotter-free.
    • Although Mrs. Kotter remained a regular, so maybe it was the "Welcome Back" part that was the Artifact Title. Then again, that probably qualified from the second season onward, since he wasn't constantly leaving and coming back.
  • Family Affairs was a British soap with the gimmick that, instead of focusing on a particular area, like Eastenders or Coronation Street, it focused on a specific family; the Harts and their in-laws the Gates. In its first Retool (of many), the entire Hart/Gates family was written out.
  • Most of the main characters on Desperate Housewives are no longer housewives - Bree and Lynette are career businesswomen (Edie too for that matter), Susan is teaching, and Susan, Bree, and Gabrielle have all spent time unmarried on the show. Only Gabrielle can still really be described as a housewife.
  • Smallville was set in Smallville, Kansas for the first eight seasons. Now the action largely takes place in Metropolis. The title could be interpreted as referring to Lois' nickname for Clark, alluding to the main character rather than the former main locale.
  • The title of The Avengers relates to the plot of the first two episodes. As the page mentions, this was pretty much the last time in the series any actual avenging took place. (What's more, those episodes are now lost except for the first 20 minutes of the first one).
  • On the first season of Survivor, the contestants were referred to as "castaways" since the show was set on a desert island and began with them being "shipwrecked." They've continued to be called "castaways" ever since, even in seasons that take place in locales where the term doesn't fit — such as the African savanna, the Australian Outback, the Amazonian jungle, etc. The whole focus of "surviving" in the wilderness was quickly dropped when it became clear that viewers were more interested in the contestants scheming than doing basic survival tasks.
  • Inverted in the Czech Sitcom called Comeback. The main character, a forgotten 80s pop star and a music shop owner, goes on his comeback tour in the second season.
  • Siete Vidas was named for its premise of "Main character comes back from a 18-year-old coma and has to get used to the current world. Hilarity Ensues." Not only the premise was dropped halfway into the first season, but said main character was eventually Put on a Bus. Word of God later claimed it referred to the seven main characters (Siete=Seven), since there were 7 mains at the time... but afterwards there were seasons with 6/8 mains.
    • To clarify, in Spanish the stock phrase is that a cat has seven lives, rather than nine as in English. The main character's "resurrection" was compared to what you would expect of a cat. Also, the series opening title included a black cat during the whole 10 seasons it lasted.
    • The writers must love this trope, because it also happened on Siete Vidas's Spin-Off Aida, since the eponymous character was jailed (Her actress had to leave) and thus the reason the show has that name is gone. They attempted to paliate this adding Aida's granddaughter, also called Aida, but naturally she has a lot less screetime than her namesake did.
  • Brazilian Soap Opera /Teen Drama Malhação. The title means "working out", which fits the gym which was the initial setting. Then, four years later, it changed to a high school (and it continues to be set on schools, only not the same one).
  • Hey Hey It's Saturday, an Australian variety series that originally aired on Saturdays from 1971 to 1999 and was revived in 2010, now airs on Wednesdays.
  • The title of the soap opera Guiding Light originally referred to a lamp in the study of one of its earliest main characters - the Rev. John Ruthledge, local pastor to the town - which served as a sign to the townsfolk that they could come for help when needed. Later on, succeeding preachers carried on Rev. Ruthledge's work, becoming the keepers of the "guiding light." Over time the show left its original locale - a fictional suburb of Chicago known as Five Points - and other families took over the spotlight. By the time the show moved to television in the 1950s, the meaning of the title had largely been forgotten.
    • Once the show lost its initial light, it replaced it with a lighthouse, indicating the light which guides one's path in life.
  • Auf Wiedersehen, Pet was so-named because it was about British workers in Germany. Or at least, Season 1 was about British workers in Germany.
  • Later... with Jools Holland, the popular BBC 2 music programme, was so named because it was originally given a slot following The Late Show, an arts magazine programme. Later... has an irregular schedule, but is still going strong. The Late Show stopped broadcasting in 1995.
  • The Spanish version of Saturday Night Live was this from the beginning, since it aired on Thursdays. No wonder it got canned so fast.
    • Even the real SNL will, from time to time, air clips show specials on Thursdays, but still call them "Saturday Night Live primetime specials," lest they be mistaken for clips shows of SNL Financial or something. In 2008 and 2009, the original specials "Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday" became a double artifact title, as it aired neither on Saturday nor on the weekend.
  • Cougar Town Lampshaded this by giving Season 2's title cards extra phrases on them, such as "still Cougar Town", "badly titled Cougar Town." The title was originally a Double Entendre as the town's high school football team was called the Cougars; this never appeared again after the pilot, until season 3 when Travis tried to kidnap the cougar statue on the college grounds and questions what cougars have to do with the town anyway.
    • For the second season, ABC and the producers seriously considered a name change; both proposed renames were rejected for similarities to other shows and movies at the time. Another name change, possibly Friends With Beverages, was being considered for the third season.
  • Primeval became 'Nick Cutter et les portes du temps' in France. While the "doors of time" are still here, it turns out Anyone Can Die.
    • It got shortened as 'Les portes du temps' for season 4.
  • The Vampire Diaries went through a phase of this, after it (thankfully) dropped the device of Elena and Stefan reading from their diaries as a narrative lodestone. It then brought the historical journals of the town founders into play, which had the advantage of being able to introduce new plot elements while keeping the title relevant.
    • Though the title of the show was named for the book series it was based on and has largely eclipsed/stepped away from. All kinds of problems with naming the series it seems.
  • When Amos N Andy switched from a drama serial to sitcom format—and, later, when it became a TV series—Amos was a peripheral character, and most of the plots revolved around Andy and Kingfish (the latter of whom was voiced on radio by the same actor who played Amos).
  • On Happy Days, there was no Arnold at "Arnold's Drive-In" for the majority of the series' run; it was owned by Al Delvecchio. Previously, it was owned by a man named Matsuo Takahashi, who was nicknamed Arnold because he had purchased Arnold's Drive-In from a man who was named Arnold. Lampshaded on one episode in which the gang learn that Arnold was not his name and Arnold points out how expensive the sign change would be letter by letter.
  • In Treme, Ladonna owns a bar named Gigi's and notes in the pilot that no one knows who Gigi may have been, or if the bar was even named after a person. Truth in Television for many New Orleans locales.
  • Series 7 onwards of the UK version of "The Apprentice" has nothing to do with an apprentice, as the contestants are now competing for £250,000 and Lord Sugar as a buisness partner.
  • As of the beginning of Season 5 of Burn Notice, while Michael Westen may not officially have his job back yet, he's definitely working directly for his old employers, and is by no means blacklisted anymore. (Of course, that could still change).
  • Extras series one was about Ricky Gervais and Ashley Jensen both working as extras in film/TV, but by series 2, Gervais's character had got a job as writer-star of a sitcom and no longer worked as an extra.
  • The "del Ocho (8)" part of El Chavo del Ocho was there merely to promote the fact that the show aired on Canal 8 (Channel 8). At some point, the show moved to Canal 2 and the series title was shortened to "El Chavo", but the character was still mentioned with his "last name" in the show and an In-Universe reason was given that it meant he actually lived in the (never seen) Apartment 8, rather than the barrel he uses as hideout. In syndication, the title is always "El Chavo", yet the show is still most commonly known by the full name.
  • Recent seasons of the Ice Road Truckers franchise have been set in mountainous tropical regions overseas. Current programs use the "IRT" abbreviation to downplay the fact that the trucks haven't been driving on ice for some time.
  • Croatian soap-opera Zabranjena ljubav (translated, Forbidden love) focused on two twins separated at birth who unfortunately fell in love with each other...and at one point one of the twins dies. The show goes on focusing on the other twin and other characters, until that twin gets pretty much left out...and the show still went on.
  • Narrowly averted with Married... with Children. The show's working title was Not The Cosbys, a Take That to The Cosby Show. Given that Married... with Children began three years after The Cosby Show and continued long after Cosby ended, Not The Cosbys would quickly have become irrelevant.
  • When Sesame Street was dubbed into German (renamed Sesamstrasse) there were complaints that the "street" scenes didn't appeal to German children so they were taken out and replaced with the antics of a boy named Bumfidel and his mother. Since these stories did not take place on a street, the show's title was temporarily rendered incomprehensible. In 1978, a street set and new characters that would be more relevant to German children were introduced.
  • The half on Two and A Half Men originally referred to Jake, who was just a boy when the series began. Eventually the character (and the actor playing him as well) grew up and could no longer count as half a man. Fan speculation now suggests that the half now refers to the maturity of either of the two other men, particularly the emasculated Alan.
  • The new NBC sitcom Up All Night will have to deal with this in future seasons, assuming it's renewed. The show is about a couple with a newborn, so the title currently makes sense. In two or three years, when the baby is a toddler, it won't, unless the child has sleeping problems and/or the couple has another child.
  • An in-universe version on 30 Rock: The TV show Liz writes for was originally called "The Girlie Show", a sketch comedy show for women, until Jack added Tracy to the cast and renamed it "TGS with Tracy Jordan." Liz and Jenna both keep original "Girlie Show" memorabilia in their offices.
    • Another artifact: the "Girlie Show" musical theme from the pilot became Liz's leitmotif.
    • Hilariously, the original Girlie Show sign hanging in Liz's office is progressively become more and more unkempt, with many of the letters now hanging out of place and visible dirty areas.
  • As of 2012, there is relatively little programming on the Disney Channel that can be easily connected with or related to Disney product, history or characters, aside from the Disney company producing the programs. It is mainly filled with KidComs in the tradition of Hannah Montana and Lizzie McGuire, aside from some of its Playhouse Disney block and the occasional identifiably Disney movie showing at night.
  • A common joke among Star Trek fans is that the characters of Deep Space Nine don't do much trekking.


Magazines[edit | hide]

  • The magazine Protoculture Addicts, the name indicating its origins as a Robotech fanzine.
  • Billboard magazine, the major trade publication of the music industry, was originally a trade paper for the billboard advertising industry. At least, that's what it was when it started. But the publication had shifted its focus to the entertainment industry (which, at the time, was a major user of billboard advertising) before the 19th century ended.
  • The Japanese video game magazine Weekly Famitsu (and its various spin-offs) got its current name from an abbreviation of its original name, Famicom Tsūshin (officially translated as the Famicom Journal). When the magazine began, the Family Computer or Famicom (the Japanese version of the Nintendo Entertainment System) was the dominant game console in Japan and its name was used synonymously with video games in general, much in the same way the name "Nintendo" was used with video games in America during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Weekly Famitsu has since become a multiplatform magazine with a spin-off publication that covers Nintendo platforms exclusively.
    • Enterbrain actually attempted to avoid using the "Famitsu" name when they began a PlayStation-exclusive spin-off magazine named PlayStation Tsūshin. However, the name was later changed into Famitsu PS and they have since began an Xbox-centric spin-off titled Famitsu Xbox.
  • GQ is short for "Gentleman's Quarterly". It's been issued monthly for quite some time.
  • Starting in 1999, Country Weekly was distributed fortnightly (once every two weeks). It finally reverted to a weekly in February 2009.
  • Although the Radio Times still offers comprehensive radio listings (near the back of the magazine), chances are that most readers are there for the TV listings, the interviews, or the previews of coming shows. There may not be quite as many national radio stations as there are national TV stations, but there are now 10 pages of TV listings for every 2 pages of radio listings.
  • Similarly, in late 2008 and early 2009, TV Guide made a series of changes in its format, drastically reducing the amount of space given to actual TV listings (Cutting all but the grid-format listings first, then dropping several channels from the grids) and focusing more on celebrity-style reporting.
  • The Economist:
    • The magazine frequently posts disclaimers in its ads that it is not solely about economics or the economy, but a general news magazine. When founded in 1843, the title made a fair amount of sense, as it was indeed largely devoted to economic matters, and particular advocacy for the repeal of Britain's Corn Laws. By 1845, it has already broadened its scope considerably, and gained this full title: The Economist, Weekly Commercial Times, Bankers' Gazette, and Railway Monitor. A Political, Literary and General Newspaper. That title was eventually reduced to its more sensible but misleading original version.
    • In addition, the editors invariably refer to the magazine itself as a "newspaper", even though it hasn't been published in a broadsheet format since at least the early 20th century.
  • Australian Women's Weekly began as a weekly magazine in 1933. In 1982, it converted to a monthly frequency. The title stayed the same, both for reasons of familiarity and because the title Women's Monthly was deemed 'unseemly'.
  • The now-defunct British publication Marxism Today was originally the theoretical journal of the British Communist Party, and read the way you'd expect. During its last years when Martin Jacques was the editor, however, it devoted itself to a more generally leftist critique of Thatcherism and gained a wider audience. The joke from both sides of the political spectrum was that the only Marxism in it was the title.
  • Nintendo Power is half and example of this, due to Magazine Decay. Back in its heyday, the second half of the title referred to the "power" it gave to Nintendo game players to beat the games they were playing. Now it's but a shadow of its former self, though even if all the maps and tips were still there, anyone could just as easily look up a walkthrough or watch gameplay videos on Youtube.


Music[edit | hide]

  • Alternative Rock used to be a less known alternative for the more mainstream sounds at the time of their origin. Nowadays it doesn't make as much sense due to popularity.
  • New Wave: Thirty-five years and counting.
  • Pop: These days if a ballad is released without any rock overtones it's pop music, regardless of whether it is Popular or not.
  • Indie: Even when the band is on a major label, their genre is still short for 'independent'.
  • Emo. Originally used to refer to a less violent and confrontational, more personal type of hardcore punk that was emerging in Washington, D.C. in the 80s, the term is derived from "emocore", which itself was short for "emotional hardcore". Today, "emo" is used to describe a type of music that is barely distinguishable from pop-punk, not to mention the fashion style and the association with any mental state other than "constantly happy". It is notable that some modern-day fans who don't know the history of the genre mistakenly believe it's short for simply "emotional".
  • Some Chilean bands had one more member than the title suggest, because the last member joined shortly after the original inception and the others weren't too keen to change the name:
    • 'Los Tres' (The three ones) were 4 members.
    • 'Los cuatro cuartos' (The four quarters) are 5 members.
    • 'Banana 5' are 6 members
  • An interesting example comes in the form of punk band Dillinger Four. Their name was originally The Young Dillingers after a name they saw in a record sleeve under the Thank You list. When it turned out to be the name of a local gang they changed it Dillinger Four. At the time of naming, they only had three members so it was just a silly joke. Then they added a second guitarist and the joke just sort of became a normal name.
  • "Unchained Melody" was named after the movie it originally appeared in, Unchained. The movie is largely forgotten, but thanks to covers and use in other movies (most notably Ghost), the melody is still popular.
  • The band Sleepytime Trio started out as a trio, but added a fourth member not too long after formation, and were a four-piece for almost their entire existence, yet they kept the name anyway.
  • Underworld's famous "Born Slippy.NUXX" is a completely different tune from the obscure original song "Born Slippy". It only got named so because it was on the same EP. Thus, many people mistake it to be the original, especially remixers of the song who only credit is as "Born Slippy".
  • This might be the best way to explain the stage name of singer P!nk. When she first started, she actually had pink hair. However, as time has gone by, she has changed it to blonde. Although, she says her stage name came from Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs, so it's possible that the hair was only dyed pink to explain the name, instead of the name coming from her hair.
  • Heavy Metal changed drastically after Van Halen and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Early 70's bands such as Uriah Heep, Mountain, and Alice Cooper were considered to be Heavy Metal bands, but the term has changed to mean something different than what these bands sounded like.
    • For that matter, the same thing happened to Power Metal (the original name for speed metal, now the name for fantasy metal) and Thrash Metal (which used to mean progressive speed metal with clean vocals whereas the modern equivalent is closer to 80s death metal).
  • Occasionally, a musician from a band that has broken up will join a new band, and that band will use the old band's name to take advantage of the name recognition and/or record contract. Happened notably with Scorpions in the early 1970s; and Jimmy Page tried to do this with The Yardbirds, until somebody gave him a name that he didn't have to steal.
  • Pop insert genre here ends up sounding more pop than that genre. Fast.
  • Much mainstream "Country Music" is pretty much contemporary pop or rock with a steel guitar and a singer with a twang. There's still a few successful artists that adhere to a more traditional sound, though.
  • OMGG, a bluegrass band particularly notable for the fact that its bandmembers have all been playing since they were quite young - the name stands for "Obviously Minor Guys and a Girl". The oldest already isn't particularly "obviously" minor, and soon enough none of them will be.
  • Few music "albums" have actually been a book of discs in sleeves ever since the LP format made it convenient to put ~50 minutes of music on just one. And that was several decades ago.
  • Country music duo Baillie & the Boys had only one "boy" in it for several years following the departure of Alan LeBoeuf in 1988, leaving it as a husband-and-wife duo of Kathie Baillie and Michael Bonagura. They later signed on Roger McVay as an unofficial third member, but LeBoeuf returned in 1998.
  • Averted by the British group the Small Faces. The original lineup was made up of four short guys. When they reformed with the taller Rod Stewart and Ron Wood, they went by just the Faces.
  • Subverted by the Thompson Twins. A trio at the height of their popularity (they had anywhere from four to six members in their early years), they became a duo after bassist Joe Leeway left.


New Media[edit | hide]

  • TV Tropes, which now covers video games, movies, comic books, literature and more.
    • And with features such as Useful Notes, and subject pages that completely lack tropes, it's become more akin to Everything2 than anything its title would suggest. There have been efforts to curtail it
    • The trope Awesome Moment of Crowning was a pun on "Crowning Moment of Awesome", a trope which was renamed to simply Moment of Awesome. Thus Awesome Moment of Crowning, while literally making sense and describing the trope, is now something of an artifact. It still sort of works, though, as the old Crowning Moment of Awesome name remains in common troper usage, even if it's not the actual title (its inverse, Dethroning Moment of Suck, is policed to avoid such Trope Decay, so that it remains about the worst moment for a person, not just any sucky moment).
    • "Trope Repair Shop" which can be used to repair any page now.
    • "Complaining about shows you don't like" policy page and the "List of shows that need summary" administrivia applies to any work, not just TV shows.
    • The "You know that thing where" page is titled around the idea that the person posting the trope idea needs help gathering a title or examples for the trope ("You know that thing where this happens? What should we call that?"), but it's currently used as a general vetting procedure for all new trope ideas, even ones where the person posting the idea already has a good title in mind and a number of examples.
  • dennogumi.org was once a fansite about Cyber Team in Akihabara (Akihabara Denno Gumi). The webmaster then converted the domain into his general personal blog that has nothing to do with said series.
  • When Fiveminute.net was first created, it was called Five-Minute Voyager because the only fivers were of episodes of Star Trek: Voyager. As the years went on and the scope increased, there were occasional efforts to rename. Even after the site moved to a new domain under its current title you'll still find more people calling it 5MV than 5M.net.
  • Deviant ART: The Media Watchdogs are hitting the site so hard, so it's no longer "deviant". Also features a Group system where groups might not be art related.
    • And this has led several people to switch over to Fur Affinity, despite the fact that they don't even draw furry art.
  • Anime Feet is a blog, about, well Anime Feet (Of girls, that is). It soon drifted to more of "Animated Feet" as it included Avatar: The Last Airbender or Justice League Unlimited, though that was still somewhat close to the original idea (Especially since the former is Animesque), moreso compared to.... COSPLAYER FEET, which aren't even animated at all! And while some did cosplay as anime characters, there was stuff such as Lara Croft or even an Original Character. Note the cosplaying wasn't an one-off thing, it was basically the only thing posted for one month (During which the page had the subtitle "Cosplayers rule!", almost Lampshading its decay). They even had another month dedicated to the actresses of the Harry Potter movies, which couldn't get further from anime if they tried. One wonders why they just don't change their name to "Female Feet", as outside the top banner there's been barely any anime feet whatsoever in a long time. To be exact, for the eight first months of 2011 they only had TWO updates featuring actual anime feet, and none by the site owner himself. In fact, the owner doesn't seem to care much about the artifact-ness, as in an update he said cheerfully he now posted a large variety of female feet from various mediums and while he listed stuff like film or comic books, he didn't list anime. (Well, it was included as part of "various animated feet", but the fact he couldn't even mention it standalone despite being the blog's name is kinda sad).


Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • Judge Parker fell under this trope during the 60s when the strip shifted focus to attorney Sam Driver and even now still does as most of the plots revolve around the exploits of Sam or his rich wife Abbey and her adopted daughters Neddy and Sophie. In the late 2000s, the original Judge Parker started appearing more often, and even became part of a few big plot lines, though largely as a supporting character. His son Randy Parker is a supporting character and, as of 2009, also a Judge now, thus making another Judge Parker part of the cast.
  • Funky Winkerbean: the titular character isn't even seen that often; the strip now focuses much more on Les.
  • Robotman avoided this, changing the name to Monty after the title character left.
  • Barney Google and Snuffy Smith has been all-Snuffy, no-Barney for decades.
  • The comic strip Luann for a while seemed to almost exclusively focus on the titular character's brother, Brad, and specifically his pursuit of fellow firefighter Toni.
  • Alison Bechdel's Dykes to Watch Out For comic strip. In its earliest incarnation, she labeled a drawing "Marianne, dissatisfied with her morning brew: Dykes to Watch Out For, plate no. 27", "as if it were just one in a series of illustrations of mildly demonic lesbians" She drew more and more "plates", and kept the title when it shifted to a strip format about various aspects of lesbian culture, and also when it shifted to the serialized format with recurring characters. As the cast grew to include people of other genders and sexual identities, she lampshaded the title by titling a recent collection of her strips "Dykes and Sundry Other Carbon-based Life-forms to Watch Out For"
    • She saw this coming a long time ago, way back in 1992, in fact (The Plot Thickens, #145...one of those "noncanon" ones). Jezanna mentioned the prospects of a transgender character joning the strip, to which Toni replied, "Would we have to change the name of the strip? You know, to 'Dykes And Transgender Persons to Watch Out For?'"
  • The comic strip Fritzi Ritz became so dominated by Fritzi's niece that it was eventually renamed as Nancy. Yeah, that "Nancy".
  • Blondie, although still present, hasn't been the central or the funniest character in Blondie since the 1930s, when the strip got a revamp from being a silly strip about a flapper to a domestic comedy about Dagwood. Film versions, and the public at large, refer to the comic as "Blondie and Dagwood", for obvious reasons.
  • Kudzu came to spend far more time on Rev. Will B. Dunn than on the young man named Kudzu.
  • Steve Bell's If... has been published every weekday since 1982. The first two strips were titled If Dinosaurs Walked on Fleet Street..., the next two were titled If Turkeys Could Vote... and that was the last time he played with the title, which swiftly rendered it meaningless.
  • Terry and the Pirates had an opening storyline at its outset which involved pirates, but Terry soon escaped from them, and the pirate reference in the title was meaningless for the succeeding decades of the strip's run.
  • Baby Blues still has a baby, but she doesn't get the spotlight half as often as her first- and third-grade siblings.
    • "Baby" referred to Zoe. That she wouldn't stay that way forever was something the creators readily acknowledged (and in fact made the subject of numerous strips).
    • According the creators' website FAQ: "The way we see it is that your children are always your babies, no matter how big or old they get. Once a parent, always a parent. And right now we have no plans for having the MacPherson clan expand. Besides, with the amount of room given comic strips these days, we couldn't fit any more characters in the panels."
  • To accomodate the three-panel strip in a more legible fashion, Garfield cartoonist Jim Davis developed a short, wide book format that came to be known as the "Garfield format". While many other strips began publishing in this format, Garfield itself switched to a more conventional square book starting in 2001, and the original "Garfield format" compilations have been republished in the square format.


Sports[edit | hide]

Baseball[edit | hide]

  • The MLB's Los Angeles Dodgers bear an artifact title, but it was somewhat obscure to begin with so no one really notices. (The club was originally called the "trolley dodgers", after a popular turn of the century nickname for Brooklynites.)
  • Except for occasional "Turn Back the Clock" games, the Chicago White Sox haven't worn white socks since 1976.
  • Venezuelan Baseball: the Navegantes Del Magallanes originally played in Caracas' then satellite town Los Magallanes de Catia, itself named after the famous marine. When the league made a "only one team for city" rule, the Magallanes team moved to the nearby city of Valencia, where there is no seashore, but they maintained the full name because it was too emblematic.

NASCAR[edit | hide]

  • NASCAR: The middle two initials stand for "Stock Car"; the cars haven't been stock since The Sixties, and the formula now includes such race-car-only features as tube chassis and a slightly more centered driver's position, and carburetors.
    • Also carburetors, which very few cars still on the road have. In a NASCAR commercial running in Feb. 2010, a driver points out that even the "headlights" are actually a decal. (But they don't need real headlights, because the track is always lit.)

Hockey[edit | hide]

  • The Anaheim Ducks get more and more out of place every year considering the last The Mighty Ducks movie was released in 1996. Considering they no longer play in The Arrowhead Pond, but The Honda Center instead, the name is getting even further displaced.
    • Somewhat averted when "Mighty" was dropped from the team name after Disney sold the team. Of course, the connection is still pretty unavoidable considering how Anaheim is home to Disneyland.
  • The name of the Pittsburgh Penguins was inspired by the nickname of their home arena, "The Igloo", meaning they'll fall right into this once they move into the Consol Energy Center and the Igloo is demolished.
  • Subversions:
    • The Atlanta Flames were named after the massive fire that nearly razed Atlanta during the American Civil War. Then they moved to Calgary, a city which was nearly razed by a massive fire in 1886.
    • Many people assume that the Winnipeg Jets were named for Bobby Hull, the "Golden Jet", who played for the Jets for eight years, but the team was actually named for a previous minor-league team that existed before Hull joined the NHL. The name may instead refer to one of Winnipeg's main industries, the manufacture of jet aircraft parts. (Or it could simply be a cool name.)
  • The Montreal Canadiens are an oft-unrecognized form of this trope. Their name doesn't refer to what are now called "Canadians" in the common sense. Rather, it refers quite specifically to French speakers in colonial times, as until surprisingly late in Canadian history the term specifically meant "French-speaker in the New World", as these were thought of as the "indigenous" of the non-aboriginal population (the English-speaking arrivals saw themselves as British for the most part). The team name comes from the original, amateur Club de Hockey Canadien—the term "Canadien" here distinguishing the francophone Québécois from the cross-town, English-speaking Montreal Maroons. Today, of course, the word's connotations have changed 180 degrees, and "Canadien" is the last word that Quebec nationalists want to be called, so this trope is played straight. However, Québécois do know what the word actually means, and if Quebec were to separate from Canada, the team name would undoubtedly stay the same and not be thought of as contradictory.
  • Five out of fourteen teams in Finnish major ice hockey league have word "ball" in their name. They were founded when football, bandy and Finnish baseball were the most popular sports, but nowadays only TPS ("Turku Ball Club") has any activity outside ice hockey.

Basketball[edit | hide]

  • Basketball no longer requires players to throw a ball into an empty peach basket.
    • The term "field goal" stemmed from the sport's origins as a wintertime alternative to football. Originally, every "field goal" was worth the same number of points (one) regardless of distance, just like in football. The term made less sense after free throws, which had no football equivalent, were added to the game, and was rendered completely obsolete by the 3-point arc.
  • The Big Ten Conference, in recent years, has never actually had 10 teams. Penn State joined in the early 90's, literally taking it up to 11 (the logo was then updated to include an "11" in negative space to represent this). It got even better when Nebraska joined in 2011, their departure from the Big Twelve Conference (along with Colorado to the Pac-10, which will have 12 members with the addition of Colorado and Utah) results in the Big Twelve having ten members and the Big Ten having twelve. The Big Ten, with its eponymous network and 100 years of history, will not be relinquishing its name to the fifteen year-old Big Twelve, which may just raid the Mountain West Conference anyway.
    • From the time the University of Chicago left the conference in 1946 to the time Michigan State joined four years later, they had only 9 teams.
    • However, they are outdone by the Atlantic 10 Conference, which has 14 full members.
    • Both are topped by the Northeast-10 Conference of Division II, which has 16 members.
    • The Pac-10 averted this with a 2011 expansion, it at least re-named itself the Pac-12 with the addition of Colorado and Utah. However, the "Pac" part (short for "Pacific") is quickly becoming an artifact title with four of the conference's twelve schools in states that don't border the Pacific Ocean.
  • The Toronto Raptors. While references to velociraptors existed before Jurassic Park, that movie put "raptors" into the general public's consciousness for the first time and inspired the team name.
  • The Los Angeles Lakers get their name from their earlier location of Minnesota, "Land of 10,000 Lakes". LA has five.
  • Subverted by the San Diego Rockets, so-called because the city built rockets, missiles and jets, moved to Houston, where NASA's Mission Control is located.
  • The Utah Jazz, originally from New Orleans. They moved to Salt Lake City in 1979 but didn't change the name, allegedly because because the team's then-owner thought it would be a temporary stop and they'd move again soon. They didn't.
  • The Memphis Grizzlies are named after a bear species that doesn't live anywhere near Tennessee, but does live in British Columbia, as the team was originally based in Vancouver.
  • The New Orleans Hornets draw their name from the nickname of Charlotte ("Hornet's Nest", as General Cornwallis described the city as "a hornet's nest of rebellion" during the American Revolution).

Football[edit | hide]

  • College football's Liberty Bowl game was so named because it was originally played in Philadelphia, but it moved after just five games there (1959–63), first for a one-year stay in Atlantic City, then to its permanent home in Memphis.
  • American Football and its Canadian cousin (called, collectively "gridiron football") are also both, as a whole, examples of this. The name is a legacy of the time when the various types of "football" in the English-speaking world had barely begun to be played on an organized basis, much less broadly distinguish themselves from each other, and players were much more likely to use their feet to transfer the ball between each other (as opposed to today's game, where use of the feet to move the ball is limited to special plays that account for about five percent of the game at most). Put it this way—the contest between Princeton and Rutgers in the 1870s that is considered to be the first football game is also considered to be the first soccer game in the U.S. And, for further fun, the FIFA-sanctioned governing body for the latter sport in the U.S. stuck with "U.S. Football Association" until after World War II, then became the "U.S. Soccer Football Association". After another 20 years, they yielded to the long-decided usage and became the U.S. Soccer Federation, as they are known today.
  • The American Football positions "Halfback" and "Fullback." Judging by the names, one would think that the fullback would line up further behind the halfback, but in many modern offensive formations the fullback lines up ahead of the halfback or at the same distance (so as to block for the halfback).
    • Soccer is the same. Fullbacks play as the "wings" of a back 4, yet are not very full in most cases, and not very back as well. The name comes from the ancient 2-3-5 formation, wherein the two back players, or "fullbacks", got pushed out to the side to accompany first the "halfback", now the sometimes called central defender or center back, who dropped in from the middle of the 3. Next was another central back, which finally altered it so the "fullbacks" play on the wing with attacking intent while the "halfbacks" stay back and defend 90% of the time.
  • Division names in the NFL suffer from this, especially before the 2002 realignment. New teams occasionally joined the league, and divisions ranged from four to six teams. By 1995 most of the NFC Western division's teams were east of the Mississippi River. Reluctance to break up traditional rivalries kept these divisions in place until the league finally reached 32 teams in 2002, allowing a realignment into eight equal-sized divisions. It didn't happen without a fight, and there are still oddball things like Dallas in the East and St. Louis in the West.
    • St. Louis does sort of make sense, in that St. Louis has a nickname of "the gateway to the west."'
  • Two stadiums used primarily by the NFL had, for a time, naming rights held by corporations that were otherwise no longer in existence: Psi Net.com Stadium in Baltimore (now M&T Bank Stadium), which kept that name for a couple of seasons after PS Inet.com went under in the dot-com crash, and Enron Field in Houston, home to the Astros as well as the Texans.
  • As this Onion article points out, the Steelers' name refers to an industry that is no longer very prominent in Pittsburgh, though one could argue that the name is nowadays an homage to the city's heritage.

Soccer[edit | hide]

  • Donegal Celtic football (soccer) club are actually based in Belfast, over 100 km from County Donegal. It was founded by men from parts of the city that have Donegal-derived names (Lenadoon, Gweedore, Glenveagh, etc.) and has no connection to the actual place.
  • Many soccer teams in the former Soviet Union have the same issue as the Steelers, mentioned above—Metalist Kharkiv, Otelul Galati (Otelul being Romanian for 'steel'), Rotor Volgograd, Lokomotiv Moskow.
  • The name "CSKA" is very common in eastern European soccer teams; in several Slavic languages, it abbreviates "Central Sport Club of the Army", even though none of the clubs are army clubs any more.
  • Many English soccer teams:
    • Crystal Palace F.C. were founded by workers at London's Crystal Palace, which burned down in 1936.
    • Arsenal F.C. was founded by workers at Woolwich Arsenal, in south-east London. Since 1913 they have been based in Highbury, north London.
    • Sheffield Wednesday is derived from the Wednesday Cricket Club (est 1820), which played all its matches on Wednesdays. They set up a football team in 1867 which eventually became far more successful, and, needless to say, plays games on all days of the week.
    • Similarly, Hotspur Cricket Club (possibly named after Harry Hotspur from Henry VI Part I) spun off into Hotspur Football Club, which became Tottenham Hotspur.
    • Milton Keynes Dons get their name from their predecessor club, Wimbledon F.C.
    • Millwall F.C. are another London example, leaving Millwall for South London in 1910. Their current home ground is in Bermondsey.
    • Preston North End originally played in the north end of the town, but since 1875 have been based in Deepdale, in the centre of Preston.
    • Leyton Orient seem to have got their name because one of their players worked for the Orient Shipping Company.
    • Accrington Stanley take their name from a team named Stanley Villa, based at the Stanley Arms on Stanley Street. They now play at a ground on Livingstone Road.
    • Port Vale are actually located in Stoke, which has neither port nor valley. The name taken from the pub where the club was founded.
    • Grimsby Town F.C. moved to Cleethorpes in 1898—admittedly only three miles away, but still a separate town.
  • The Brazilian "Club of 13" biggest soccer teams has 20 members.

Other[edit | hide]

  • Rugby union club London Irish was founded in London for Irish immigrants—they now play in Reading (40 miles from London) and as of January 2011 had only two Irish players.
  • In Formula One, during sessions and races when drivers' positions are listed on the side of the screen, they are identified by the first three letters of their last name...except Michael Schumacher, who is identified as 'MSC'. This trope is why: it's from when his brother Ralf Schumacher was also a F1 driver, they were identified as 'MSC' and 'RSC' to differentiate between the two Schumachers.
  • An Artifact Nickname: Brazilian swimmer Fernando Scherer is known in his country as "Xuxa", a nickname he earned in his youth for having golden locks similar to an eponymous TV host from that country. Ever since he became a professional swimmer, he is bald (in that sport, it's either that or a swim cap).
  • The Dakar Rally hasn't been held in Africa since 2007. A terrorist attack that killed four French tourists resulted in the cancellation of the 2008 race, and the event has been held in South America since 2009.
  • The UK's premier tennis venue, home of Wimbledon Championships, is formally named the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. This is a deliberate adoption of this trope: though croquet was dropped, and the name changed to reflect this in 1882, the current name was instated in 1889, for sentimental reasons.[3]
  • Ultimate Fighting Championship is a fascinating case study:
    • The men behind the first UFC, in particular Rorion Gracie, meant "Ultimate" literally; i.e. the only time it would ever be held. Furthermore, Gracie made it quite clear that this was largely a vanity project to promote Brazilian jiu-jitsu. (That's why no one ever considered the long-term consequences of the unrestrained violence and inevitable political backlash; there weren't supposed to be any.) Only after it became a huge hit on pay-per-view did SEG decide to turn it into a franchise.
    • The catchall "Fighting" was used due to the multitude of fighting styles (which the early marketing hyped up very heavily). However, public outcry made no-holds-barred combat almost impossible to sell, and after numerous flops like Art Jimmerson, Steve Nelmark, and Emmanuel Yarborough, it became clear that having a whole bunch of styles produced mostly boring curbstomps. As the sport evolved, fighters who knew only standup, or only ground fighting, or only submissions, etc., began losing out to the new breed who learned multiple skills. The term for this was "mixed martial arts", which was continually honed and refined to the point where it became a discipline in its own right. Now undisciplined brawlers and single-stylists aren't even allowed to try out.
    • Finally, the "Championship", up until the second Ultimate Ultimate, was an 8-man single elimination tournament (16 men for 2) with no weight classes. (The only break was 9 due to unlucky circumstances.) The "champion" was the winner of the tournament, like in tennis. The system showed its flaws as early as 3...two words: Steve Jennum. Lack of weight classes proved to be a problem in 10 when Marc Coleman beat Don Frye without ever being threatened because he was bigger and stronger. But the death knell was 11, which Coleman won because he had no opponent for the final. UFC split into "Heavyweight" and "Lightweight" divisions in 1997 and reduced the tournaments to 4 men each, held at irregular intervals. SEG did away with regular tournaments after 17, and the last one ever held was 23.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Warhammer 40,000 has been poised just on the brink of year 41000 for twenty years. In fact, the timeline of the universe given in the latest rule book ends with the date "995.999.M41" - that is, around 20:30 o'clock on the 30th of December, year 40999. Just how many more events they can squeeze into the remaining approximately 27 hours, 29 minutes, 59 seconds, 999 milliseconds etc. is an open question. Maybe they'll call in Jack Bauer.
    • Although the Horus Heresy novels, set in the same universe 10000 years before, still retain the "40000" part of the title.
    • They've actually included items from the 42nd millennium - Jenit Sulla's memoirs were published in around 101.M42.
    • Also, the "40000" part was there originally to mean that this was the future of Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Now that the two games have been set in completely different universes, that connection is completely lost.
  • The Dungeons & Dragons Spelljammer setting didn't really have a whole lot of dungeons, being, y'know, a magical Age of Sail in SPACE. It did use the D&D core rules, just with added sailing ships.
    • Likewise, as of 3E, the Ravenloft setting is officially home to just one dragon, making the plural inappropriate. Her mate is only a Dread Possibility.
  • The Dungeons & Dragons Dark Sun setting could be more accurately describe as Deserts and Dragon (just the one, thanks.).
  • Magic: The Gathering. "The Gathering" was intended to be the name of the first game, and later expansions would add a corresponding subtitle, such as Magic: Ice Age. However, the creators eventually realized it would be bad for gameplay if cards from different sets had different logos on the backs, and once they were stuck printing "the Gathering" on every card, putting too much effort into subtitles that people would rarely see seemed like a waste.
    • The same thing happened with the Deckmaster logo still printed on the bottom part of every card's back when the Deckmaster series of card games haven't been involved with the product in years.
    • The spin-off variant known as "Elder Dragon Highlander" required you to include one of the five legendary "Elder Dragon" cards in your deck. This requirement was eventually lifted and the name was shortened to "EDH," which made no sense whatsoever to people who were unfamiliar with the original. (Ultimately Wizards of the Coast officially renamed the format "Commander.")
  • As tabletop wargames evolved into fantasy role-playing, the particular world created by the DM nevertheless continued to be known as a "campaign".


Toys[edit | hide]

  • Polly Pocket dolls were originally called that because the doll was less than an inch high and the whole play-set closed in on itself and fit easily into your pocket. This has not been referenced in years, as Polly has grown to be much taller and her play-sets expansive.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Broken Sword is named after the legendary Broken Sword of Baphomet from the first game and to be honest whilst it is an important plot element to the story it doesn't get a lot of screen time and is mentioned maybe about 5 times at most. Later games don't have anything to do with the sword.
  • Mega Man Star Force suffers this in the English versions of the games since it uses the first game's Super Mode as part of the title, which then struck but the second game - which had the added subtitle of "tribe" - had absolutely nothing to do with the star force. The Japanese title is the more sensible Shooting Star Rockman; this is fixed in the third game, where the heroes form a team they intentionally named after the ability the Satellite Admins gave Mega Man in the first game.
  • The first Ace Attorney game, Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney, was released in America after the third game in the series (Gyakuten Saiban 3) was already out in Japan. When it became obvious that the protagonist in the fourth game was not going to be Phoenix Wright, but a new character, Capcom's localization team did the best they could to promote the "Ace Attorney" part of the title as the name of the main franchise, while keeping the "Phoenix Wright" portion for the first two sequels.
  • In Earth 2160, the plot no longer takes place on Earth as the planet is destroyed at the end of Earth 2150.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy Tactics A2 - the A stands for "Advance", as in the Game Boy Advance, which is the platform the first title was on. This was retained to try and distinguish the two portable-only entries as a sub-series distinct from the first title, Final Fantasy Tactics.
  • The Soul Series begins with Soul Edge, which is then sequeled by Soul Calibur. All the games afterward are named Soul Calibur with a number. Technically this isn't an Artifact Title, because the weapon actually called Soul Calibur is still in the series, but so much focus is put on Soul Edge that it just doesn't matter. Can you name Soul Calibur's wielders over the course of the series without a plot FAQ? Hell, in Soul Calibur II, EVERYONE gets a form of Soul Edge as one of their weapons, while you can count Soul Calibur wielders on the fingers of a single hand! This includes the silly guest fighters Link, Spawn and Heihachi (who fights bare handed).
  • There is no "Fire Emblem" in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of Holy War and Thracia 776. A small piece of dialogue in the former mentions a "Crest of Flames" (in Japanese, unlike the title's Gratuitous English), but that's as close as it gets. The rest of the series avert this, by calling the MacGuffin of each game "(The) Fire Emblem"
    • In Sacred Stones, was well as the Tellius saga, the Fire Emblem is merely an alternate title of the MacGuffin, while most people refer to it by other names (the Sacred Stone of Grado and Lehran's Medaillon, respectively)
  • The Advance Wars series was no longer on the Game Boy Advance when the series moved on to the Nintendo DS with its third and fourth installments, Advance Wars: Dual Strike and Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. Of course, the title can still be justified, since "Advance" by itself is still a real word. On the other hand, the Japanese version of the series reverted to the even more antiquated Famicom Wars name for its GameCube (Battalion Wars), Wii (Battalion Wars II) and DS installments.
  • In the early games of the Metal Gear series, a major part of each game's plot involve destroying the brand new Metal Gear tank in the hands of the enemy. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots emphasizes the Patriots conspiracy in which the main characters are involved with, while reducing the role the mecha has in the plot. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, a prequel to the previous games, has no mecha with the Metal Gear name, but a tank that fills its role, as well as a single scene involving the original creator of the Metal Gear itself showing his plans to Naked Snake.
    • The NES port of Metal Gear left out the Metal Gear itself (the tank is still mentioned, but the player has to destroy a Super Computer that controls its activities instead of Metal Gear itself).
    • The "Solid" in Metal Gear Solid was added to emphasize that it was both, the third canonical installment in the series and the first one in 3D (since the previous games for the MSX2 were in 2D). Metal Gear Solid would branch off to become its own series with its own set of numbered entries (Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, 3 and 4) and the original significance of "Solid" has since been lost since almost every major game nowadays is in 3D.
  • Marathon refers to the titular starship of the first game, which has been conquered and dismantled for at least 17 years in the last two games. At least Durandal, and sometimes even Tycho, still identify themselves by the Marathon emblem. So they're kinda trying.
  • Nethack is an odd variant of this trope. It was named back in the 80s, originating as Hack, as in Hack and Slash. The Net part was added when the original author turned development over to the DevTeam, who work together over the Usenet. Both elements of the title still hold true, but in today's day and age most people looking at the title would assume it was a game about being a Playful Hacker, rather than a high fantasy dungeon-fest.
  • Galaxy Angel is a strange inversion, a straight example and the logical extreme all at the same time. The main characters are only called the Galaxy Angels in the third game, where before they are called the Moon Angels. Come Galaxy Angel II, though, they're back to Moon Angels and their replacement main characters are the Rune Angels, so there are no Galaxy Angels. And in the anime and its sequel, they're just Angels, and the name "Galaxy" isn't mentioned at all...except in the English version.
  • Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn had nothing to do with the city of Baldur's Gate, though at least it did take place in and around Amn.
  • Similarly, only the original campaign of Neverwinter Nights has anything to do with the city of Neverwinter. Shadow of Undrentide starts in Hilltop and never visits the city, and Hordes of the Underdark starts in Waterdeep and traverses the Underdark and the infernal planes, again never visiting Neverwinter. Neverwinter Nights 2 finally returns to the titular city.
    • ...Then Mask of the Betrayer promptly leaves it again.
  • The House of the Dead was named as such because it took place in a mansion. Naturally, none of the sequels feature said mansion - though the first stage in Overkill takes place in a mansion.
  • The two Time Crisis games with Richard Miller (the original and the obscure PSX-only Project Titan) have a timer that starts at 60 seconds, and every section cleared adds a certain amount of time. The game ends if it runs out. That's where the title comes from, the constant race against time. Every game since (including the companion games Crisis Zone and Razing Storm) has a timer which resets after a section is cleared, and also resets if you take a hit. Furthermore, if it runs out, you only lose one life box (and this also resets the timer). Speed is vastly less important now; it's all about recognizing enemy patterns and accuracy, and almost nobody has had time run out on them.
    • Completely done away with by the FPS levels of 4's Complete Mission, which have no time limits whatsoever.
  • Lufia qualifies in America, as the character for which the series is named only appeared in the first game. Notably, the series is titled Estopolis in Japan. Some versions of Lufia 2 (mainly, in countries where the first Lufia was not released) renamed the Dual Blade to the Lufiasword in order for the title to make an ounce of sense.
  • Shin Megami Tensei. The first two games in the series weren't Shin Megami Tensei at all, but rather Digital Devil Story: Megami Tensei, based on a late-80s sci-fi novel. "Megami Tensei" means "Reincarnation of the Goddess", which is only a plot point in the very first title (where one of the characters is the reincarnation of the Japanese goddess Izanami). Furthermore, the "Shin" in the title is actually a pun: "Shin" meaning "new" was often appended to the titles of franchises that made the jump to the SNES in much the same way as "Super", but the "Shin" in "Shin Megami Tensei" means "true". Interestingly enough, Shin Megami Tensei is more of an Artifact Title in the U.S. than it is in Japan, where most MegaTen games aren't actually prefixed with the Shin Megami Tensei name: by contrast, every Shin Megami Tensei game released in the U.S. (save for Jack Bros, Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, and DemiKids ) have been released in the U.S. under either the Shin Megami Tensei banner, or in the case of Atlus' earlier attempts (Persona and Last Bible/The Demon Slayer), the "Revelations" name.
  • The Quake series. Quake was a codename for the villain of the first game (who turns out to be Shub Niggurath in the end). For whatever reason, they kept the name (which was also the name of the game engine). Quake II was supposed to have a different title on release; id discovered too late that it was trademarked, so they went with a name that they already had the rights to. It just kinda snowballed from there.
    • Quake's Artifact Title goes deeper than that - Quake was the name of the game's original protagonist from the game's planning stages, when the game was being developed as a side-scrolling Action RPG under the title Quake: The Fight for Justice starring an unstoppable barbarian god.
  • The Puzzle League series was originally called that because of Pokémon Puzzle League, in which the main story mode had Ash battling through the Puzzle League, a puzzle-game version of the regular Pokémon League, but now they don't use Pokémon for it anymore, instead opting for generic motifs. Nintendo just needed a new title after Henk Rogers of The Tetris Company realized how much Tetris Attack had diluted his brand.
  • Guitar Hero isn't purely guitar from World Tour onwards.
  • And Rock Band isn't purely Rock, now that Harmonix have been offering Downloadable Content from genres like pop, country and funk. Some people take issue with this, but Harmonix themselves insist that the Rock Band moniker doesn't refer to the kind of music played, but the ensemble itself.
  • Mortal Kombat series. Though the games are still about mortal combat in principle, the title tournament hasn't actually been contested since the second game in the series.
  • The Elder Scrolls. The eponymous scrolls are really only important in the first and fifth games; otherwise, they appear only in one Irrelevant Sidequest. In fact, the title was only chosen because it sounded cool: someone at Bethesda Softworks came up with the term, and then the developers decided what the scrolls actually were for.
    • Arena, the title of the first game in the series, also is an example. The original concept for the was a team based, gladiator game where the player took his team from arena to arena fighting in tournaments. None of this stuff was even coded into the game, but the advertising material had already been produced, so they kept the title despite arenas and gladiator combat not actually being in the game in any form. They got around this by adding a Title Drop to the intro that mentions Arena as a nickname for Tamriel.
  • The First Encounter Assault Recon group is not present in F.E.A.R. 2, nor are the subjects of Project Origin, which was only picked as the (sub)title because Monolith didn't have the rights to the FEAR name at the time.
  • Far Cry 2 has nothing to do with the first game or its expansions, though some say otherwise.
  • The Street Fighter games have plenty of fighting, but most of the stages aren't actually set in streets at all. The movie, on the other hand, doesn't have much fighting at all.
    • In fact, very few of the martial artists in the series are truly "street fighters" by the very definition. The only real examples are Cody and Birdie. You could arguably include some or most of the transplants from the Final Fight series, honestly - even Sodom's skills are self-taught and he works as an enforcer for a crime racket.
      • At least in the first game, the title more or less fit the premise, a rootless warrior seeking battles with worthy opponents around the world strictly for the sake of the fight. Ryu hasn't changed much since then, but over the years his simple story has been overshadowed by the great secret evil organization and soul transferences and memory loss and human cloning and DNA scarring and sinister agents with artifical body parts and dark hado and competing wrestling leagues and that other great secret evil organization etc. etc.
    • The original Final Fight got its title since the game's plot involved Haggar, a retired pro wrestler who sets off to take justice into his own hands and challenge the Mad Gear gang for his "final fight". However, quite a few Final Fight sequels (2, 3, Revenge, and Streetwise) were released afterward, all involving Haggar being brought back out of retirement again to face newer enemies.
  • The Silent Hill games have generally avoided this trope by having all of their protagonists visit Silent Hill at some point within the game - the only exception being Silent Hill 4, which takes place in South Ashfield ("a few hours' drive away"). While it's revealed that the protagonist has gone to Silent Hill in the past, he never visits it in the game, only coming as close as the woodlands surrounding the town. There are several references to the town regarding several character backstories, but none really justify the title.
  • This almost occurred in the NES version of Double Dragon, but the developers managed to work around it. The original arcade version allowed up to two players simultaneously, taking control of twin martial artists named Billy and Jimmy Lee (hence the game's title). When working on the NES version, the programmers were unable to adapt the arcade's 2-players co-op mode. Since the title wouldn't have made much sense with just one of the Lee brothers, the other one now appears as the final boss after Machine Gun Willy (the final boss from the arcade version) is defeated.
    • Note that siblings battle also occur in the arcade version when two players defeat Willy together. Whereas in the arcade version the Lee brothers fought each other over Marian's affections, in the NES version it is revealed that Jimmy Lee was the true leader of the Black Warriors.
    • The later Game Boy version played this straight, as it lacked both, the 2-player co-op mode and the final battle with Jimmy. However, this version does feature a one-on-one versus Mini Game via link cable where the second player controls Jimmy (which itself was a carry-over from the NES game).
    • The arcade version of Double Dragon 3 allowed up to three players simultaneously depending on the game's settings. The third player controls a previously-unseen/unmentioned Lee brother named Sonny, meaning that the titular duo became a trio. "Triple Dragon" apparently didn't have the same ring to it.
  • Despite being based on the core gameplay elements of Painkiller, the fan-developed Mission Pack Sequel Painkiller Overdose removes the titular Painkiller weapon (a weed whacker) and replaces it with the RazorCube (a cube that breaks into sharp pieces and spins around really fast).
  • the 2008 reboot of Alone in the Dark: you're not alone, and it's not dark (because everything is on fire).
    • Made especially ironic because the fire physics are the best part of the game. Subverted slightly (but no less ironically) when an upgraded version was given the subtitle 'Inferno'.
  • In Europe, the early Contra games for home consoles were released under the title of Probotector. This was because the European versions of the games replaced the original human commandos with robotic counterparts called "Probotectors", which comes from a portmanteau of "robot" and "protector". When the Game Boy installment of the series, Operation C, was re-released in Europe as part of the Konami GB Collection, it restored the original human main character, but still kept the Probotector title.
  • Dynasty Warriors: Gundam doesn't involve any dynasties, Chinese or otherwise, it simply got the title for being a Gundam-themed spinoff of the Dynasty Warriors series. The Japanese title is Gundam Musou (a play on Sangoku Musou, the Japanese title of the Dynasty Warriors series).
  • In the original Backyard Baseball, there were only three fields that did not take place in a backyard: Sandy Flats, Tin Can Alley, and Cement Gardens. In Backyard Baseball 2010, only one field does take place in a backyard: the Webber Estate. See how much that has changed.
  • Interesting case: The producers of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 initially wanted to drop the "Call of Duty" supertitle, but re-appended it to the game's standard packaging and press releases after they took a few surveys and realized removing it decreased brand awareness. On the other hand, ingame menus and the console/PC refer to the game without the supertitle, and the developers officially call it just Modern Warfare 2 to indicate its status as a new IP. So while Call of Duty is still an Artifact Title, that only applies to the game's publicity campaigns.
    • Not that Call of Duty could ever really become an artifact anyway (unless they changed the game to being about surviving being stranded on an alien planet or something weird). The role of the player character is always to answer the "call of duty", whatever it may be.
  • Any modern game involving Mario that includes the prefix "Super" is somewhat anachronistic since, outside of the New Super Mario Bros. series, turning from small Mario to "Super Mario" has ceased to be part of the play mechanics.
    • The original Super Mario Bros. itself lacked the 2-player co-op mode from the original Mario Bros., which is the reason why the preceding game was titled Mario Bros. in the first place. While Super has a 2-Player mode, it is of the alternating type, which reduces Luigi's role in the game to a mere afterthought (since there's no point of having a separate Player 2 character if both players have to take turn). The Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2 would try to justify Luigi's inclusion in the game by removing the 2-Player mode and making Luigi an alternate character with his own characteristics, while the 2-Player mode in Super Mario Bros 3 allows both players to split the stages among themselves rather than having separate playthroughs for each one.
  • Metroid seems to be desperately trying to avoid this; by Metroid Fusion the titular Metroids have been completely exterminated by the protagonist, and every game since then has been a prequel.
    • On the subject of the prequels, the latter two thirds of the Metroid Prime trilogy just avoids falling into this. Dark Samus, the main antagonist of 2 and 3, is in fact the eponymous Metroid Prime, bonded with the Phazon Suit after the battle at the end of the first game. It's very easy to miss this, however, as it's never explicitly mentioned anywhere, and the only real hint (seeing Dark Samus' hand emerge from the puddle of Phazon) is only shown if you finish Prime with 100% Completion.
      • Of course, Hunters is indeed entirely devoid of Metroids.
    • There's also the fact that Samus stumbles upon the Federation's secret Metroid breeding program during Metroid Fusion.
    • Another attempted handwave claimed that the titular creatures were named after the Chozo word for a great warrior, meaning the term can be applied to Samus as well.
      • Samus has Metroid DNA now, so the series is about her, the last Metroid.
  • The NES version of Section Z, a Capcom Shoot'Em Up originally released for the arcades, features numbered sections instead of the alphabetized ones like the original, thus the final area in the NES version is actually Section 59, rather than Section Z like in the arcade version.
  • The Master System version of Quartet, a four-player shoot-'em-up originally released for the arcades, only has two of the four main characters: Mary and Edgar were kept, but Joe and Lee were removed. The Japanese Mark III version was retitled Double Target to reflect this change, but the overseas release kept the arcade game's original title.
  • At no point in Tales of Monkey Island do any of the characters set foot on Monkey Island, although it is referenced several times. The island also was not featured in Monkey Island 2 Le Chucks Revenge, although The Curse of Monkey Island later retconned this.
    • Only to be expected when the first game "The Secret of Monkey Island", neither mentioned nor revealed the titular secret. A fact repeatedly lampshaded throughout the series.
  • Only one of the Ys games involves the titular Floating Continent.
  • Theme Park gets this trope in two directions:
    • The original game was Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The title of the sequel, Theme Hospital, made less sense.
    • The Theme Park title itself is an Artifact Title. Traditionally, a "theme park" is a distinct style of amusement park, with landscaping, buildings, and attractions that are based on one or more specific or central themes. Over the years the term become interchangeable with the more generic "amusement park." The game uses this definition, as parks in Theme Park are essentially just a generic agglomeration of rides and attractions.
  • The Spirit Engine 2 is an In Name Only sequel to the original. It has a completely different setting—the only things connecting it to the original are the battle system and the "choose-your-own-characters" feature, making it a Spiritual Successor.
  • Diablo III may go this way. Since the titular demon was supposedly Killed Off for Real is the second game.
    • Nope. He's back.
  • The first game in the Dragon Quest series was originally about some warrior on a quest to go slay the Dragonlord, hence the title "Dragon Quest". Future titles in the series would still have you take on quests, but the importance of dragons would further diminish to the point where they have little-to-no importance, only serving to be the typical mook you see around the end of the game.
  • Since the second game, the Etrian Odyssey series has had an artifact title. The first game takes place in Etria and the nearby labyrinth. However, the second and third games take place in Lagaard and Armoroad respectively, the second having passing references to the first only if you used a special code.
  • Portal 2 was almost this, as the creators originally wanted to focus on a different puzzle aspect as opposed to more Portals, but they eventually kept the Portal puzzles in.
  • Interesting case with Beatmania and Pop 'n Music. In the beginning, Beatmania's turntable produced scratches (usually), while the keys corresponded to the notes, sound effects, samples, beeps, spoken words, etc. to be placed into the background music. It was actually fairly similar to how a disc jockey would use "beats" to create a mix. Likewise, Pop 'n Music started out with almost exclusively several variants of pop music, and was intended as a casual, fun, light gaming experience for multiple players. Two types of player, specifically: 1) a boyfriend and girlfriend on a date, and 2) kids. After both franchises took off and became popular, however, branching out into different genres became a necessity, as was making more challenging notecharts (with the bar going higher and higher as players just kept getting better and better). Beatmania has long since done away with hip-hop and R&B, once the backbones of the franchise, while Pop 'n Music has covered everything to Country to Percussive to Opera to Thrash Metal to Eurobeat, not to mention just about every ancient traditional Japanese music style ever.
  • Castlevania Circle of the Moon and also Dawn of Sorrow are set in castles alright - just not Dracula's castle (which is referred to sometimes as Castlevania). COTM is set in Camilla's castle, and Celia Fortner makes a castle "base". The Dawn of Sorrow castle is apparently an "exact replica", but this attempt to smooth out what is otherwise a minor piece of triva creates serious confusion as the castle is the Trope Namer for Chaos Architecture, making any "replica" impossible.
    • For a series called Devil Castle Dracula, Drac hasn't been showing up much lately.
    • It still revolves around the attempts to either defeat or stop Drac from coming back though. Drac has extreme power and will, even beyond the grave.
  • Subverted with God of War. While the titular Ares does die in the first game, one must remember that Kratos has taken up his position afterwards, so the games are still about the God of War.
    • This is somewhat debatable since Kratos loses his godly powers in the beginning of God of War II and doesn't regain them in neither that game or the sequel. God of War: Chains Of Olympus, is set before the first game and doesn't even feature Ares. The only game featuring Kratos as the God Of War from start to finish is God of War: Ghost of Sparta.
  • Save for a very brief glimpse in the ending cutscene, the Halo: Reach campaign doesn't a contain a Ringworld Planet, the titular "Halos" which the plot of the first three games revolve around. One does, however, show up prodominantly in some multiplayer maps (purely as Fan Service according to Word of God).
    • Halo 3: ODST also does not feature the titular ring. The number is somewhat misleading as well, as the game takes place during the events of Halo 2. It is, however, running on Halo 3's engine.
    • Halo Wars also does not feature the aforementioned ring.
    • Of course, the title for the series is a twofer, meaning-wise. It also refers to High Altitude Low Open drops, often performed by the troopers.
    • It is somewhat of an artifact title outside the first game. There are other ring installations, but only the first game regularly refers to it as a "Halo." The others are more commonly referred to as an installation or ring.
  • The Il-2 Sturmovik series was so named because it began as a detailed simulation of that one plane. As of the latest revision, the IL-2 is still present, but so are 228 other planes, not counting those added by modders.
    • The sequel takes place during the Battle of Britain but still references the original with its title Cliffs of Dover: Il-2 Sturmovik, despite the fact that the titular plane hadn't even had its first flight at that time. This was caused by Executive Meddling wanting to emphasise the connection between the original game and Cliffs of Dover.
  • The Super Smash Bros. trilogy now features at least four female characters in the main cast.
    • Samus was a main character in the original, and a girl, so the name wasn't 100% accurate to begin with.
  • An in-game example: Several of the Ghost characters in Tekken 6 that use Armor King have customised him to not wear armor.
  • Nintendo's Miis got their name as a pun on "Me" and "Wii", the console on which they made their debut. Half of that pun now makes little sense if you use them on the 3DS.
  • Most unofficial fan sequels to the popular NES game Duck Hunt actually do not involve shooting any ducks at all, since there aren't any there - you now instead shoot dogs! Probably for the better.
  • Mega Man Zero features a protagonist named Zero, not Mega Man.
  • Beatmania IIDX was originally meant to be titled simply "beatmania II", with a bigger and better "deluxe" version of the arcade cabinet available as "beatmania II DX". The latter proved to be much, MUCH more popular and quickly became the norm, so Konami stopped production of the non-deluxe cabinets. Since the logo had the "II" and "DX" close together, the game became known as "beatmania IIDX" and Konami decided "Sure Why Not".
  • The first mission of Tom Clancy's HAWX is the retirement flight of the titular squadron; for the rest of the first half of the game, you're a part of the PMC Artemis' "Reaper Flight". Zig-zagged later on: after Artemis betrays the United States and the player squadron defects, they return to active service as HAWX flight.
  • In the second Luigis Mansion game, Luigi is busting ghosts in several different mansions...none of which are his, as far as we know.
  • Super Sentai Battle Dice O originally represented the strength of your characters' attacks by rolling dice. After it was updated to Dice-O Deluxe to go along with Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, this was changed to a spinning wheel, yet the title was kept. There is, in fact, *one* rolling die that remains in the game (one of the special move cards replicates the default ground finishing move from the original Dice-O, in which your team fired a giant die at the opponents) but it isn't central to the gameplay anymore.
  • While the sequel Riven and odd-game-out Uru: Ages Beyond Myst avoided this, the titular island of Myst was not seen in Myst III: Exile or Myst IV: Revelation.
  • The Saints Row game have fallen to this - although the titular Row was there in the 2nd game it was the only territory you couldn't retake. The third game doesn't even take place in the same city as the first two.
  • The Dark Forces Saga features something of a subversion: the Dark Forces title is a reference to the first game's Dark Trooper project. Said project plays no part in the sequel, Jedi Knight, which would render it this trope... if not for the connotations that the term "Dark Force" carries in the Star Wars universe.
  • The title of Guild Wars actually refers to a series of wars which took place before the events of the original game. By the time the player character comes along, they have ended. They make sense in the context of the game since players can form guilds and engage in matched combat against other guilds, but the title is a hangover from the early days of its development when this aspect of the game was the most important. It is even more an example of this when you consider the upcoming sequel, Guild Wars 2 is set 250 years after the original game, and guild versus guild combat is not a feature that will be included, at least when the game launches.
  • The first Alundra game is centered around the titular character, but he doesn't appear or gets mentioned in the sequel.
  • The Legend of Zelda series can sometimes dabble into this trope, as there are a games where Zelda has little to no role in the story. However, she is still very much a central character to the series overall.
  • U.S. Gold originally started out as a British publisher of American-developed games, but eventually they branched out to original products.
  • Legendary Axe II doesn't feature an axe.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X became this via Dub-Induced Plot Hole. The BLADE organization had the "Beyond the logos" (i.e., "outside the natural laws of reality") removed from its meaning. In otherwords: BLADE is no longer Xeno.

Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Played with in El Goonish Shive: Outside of being written by Dan Shive, the title is meaningless. However, long after it started, there was a gag strip with a single panel featuring a goon - and this was said to completely justify the title, even though he was never going to appear again.
  • Dominic Deegan: Oracle For Hire ...until the end of the first year. And then again. And then stopped again.
  • Chainmail Bikini—Sapphire was the only character in the entire comic to ever wear a Chainmail Bikini, and she got killed off halfway through.
  • Bob and George Averted this when the originally planned comic failed and the Mega Man sprite comic, originally used simply for filler, proved more popular by merging portions of the Bob and George plot, including characters, with the Mega Man sprite comic. The two titular characters were even given Plot Armor as long as they were in the title, which lead to a joke of a character "dying" thus leading to his name being removed from the title.
    • Bob and George is a very interesting example. The Mega Man sprite comic originally had no mention of the title characters at all; according to the author's notes for the first few hundred comics, he hadn't planned on making Bob and George characters at all once the strips became 100% Mega Man sprite comics. But he realized that he already had a developing fanbase and it was too late to change the comic title, and he didn't want to keep a title that was irrelevant to the story, so he added Bob and George, completely changing the story. So he tried so hard to avert this trope that he ended up drastically changing his comic and adding in two characters that ended up being way more important than Mega Man.
  • Eight Bit Theater was originally going to feature several video game parodies, an idea abandoned by Clevinger when the Final Fantasy comic became popular; hence the title which seems to suggest more 8-bit stories that were never made (and never will be).
    • This was slightly averted by the brief side comic Field of Battle (included in the 8-Bit archives here), which features the sprite comic style but is otherwise unconnected to 8-Bit Theater.
  • MS Paint Adventures. Only the first panel of the first adventure is done in MS Paint. The rest are done in Photoshop and Flash.

Andrew Hussie: I am so good, I can emulate pressure sensitivity with MS Paint.

    • And Homestuck stopped making sense once the Lands of X and Y got introduced. The title is currently relevant again due to a Reset Button, but that will only last until Roxy and Dirk get back out
      • Although the title is also a reference to Earthbound.
  • The Sluggy part of Sluggy Freelance never meant anything, but the Freelance used to refer to Torg's job as a freelance web guy. Now he works for an advertising firm. What the title actually meant is a bit of a Running Gag during Fourth Wall Breaking fillers strips.
  • The Whiteboard. Although the comic started as doodles on a whiteboard, it stopped after only five "strips", and there was one later on to celebrate a holiday, for a grand total of six—less than one half of one percent of the now 1200+ strip Archive Panic.
  • Polk Out, where polking out (Named after James K. Polk) is a phrase the Polkster coined to refer to pulling out when the job is done. This was to refer to the rotating comics which have long since stopped doing any rotating. It just might apply again in the near future.
  • Hey guys, remember when Lilformers was actually about Transformers?
  • What exactly is all over the house in All Over the House?
  • Christian Weston Chandler's Sonichu comic is named for a Sonic/Pikachu hybrid that the creator made. Said character was Demoted to Extra in the third issue.
  • Jix is named for a character, but several story arcs have nothing to do with her. Often times, her human friend Lauren takes over the story. This trope is sometimes lampshaded by the characters knowing Jix's change to her any of her other personalities isn't permanent because of the name of the comic, thus breaking the fourth wall.
  • American Gothic Daily. It was, initially, but Schedule Slip set in. Sometimes it isn't even quarterly.
  • When it first started in 2007, This Is Not Fiction was titled after the main character's favourite novel. But in the 2010 rewrite, the book makes but one brief appearance and is never named, making the title rather mysterious to new readers.
  • Irregular Webcomic was originally intended to be a fun side project for the creator that he would update simply whenever he got the time. It went on to become one of the most consistently regular webcomics of all time, until its end in 2011... upon which it has still be regularly updated every day with longer scientific/mathematic posts on Sundays and reruns with new commentary of old strips other days.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Played for Laughs in Girl-Chan in Paradise by Egoraptor, which BARELY features its eponymous character. Even when the characters are standing in a group shot, don't expect to see her anywhere in sight. In the ending theme sequence, she is the last of the floating head lineup to appear. Yusuke even goes so far as to say implicitly that she is worthless, and to tell her to shut up when she gives her one line for the entire episode. Really all she does is flash a little boobage here and there.
  • The name "Lonelygirl15" made a lot more sense when it was just about a girl in her bedroom talking to a webcam.
    • Especially after they killed off the title character.
  • Look a Vlog isn't a vlog at all anymore.
  • In Sockbaby Part 3, Sockbaby's plot was wrapped up, and he left for heaven or another universe or something. He doesn't appear at all in Sockb4by, which just focuses on the further adventures of Ronnie and Burger.
  • Other than being in the link to her videos, have you ever heard The Nostalgia Chick being called her username of "The Dudette"?
  • Joshreads.com, the site of The Comics Curmudgeon, is an abbreviation of the original title "Josh Reads The Comics So You Don't Have To".
  • The title of The Joker Blogs originally referred to The Joker's treatment tapes at Arkham Asylum being put up on Youtube (something the Joker planned to occur) in a 'blog' format, occasionally featuring updates with tasks for the 'goons' (fans) to do. As of the end of the First Season (around the start of the "Find Patient 4479" arc words), this is no longer the case since the episodes afterwards are in less of a 'blog' format and focus more on the plot.
  • The Barney Bunch was originally made when Barney hate was still at large, but soon coming to an end. Today, most Barney Bunch videos feature Drew Pickles as the main character instead.
  • The first Demotivational Posters were cynical parodies of motivational posters, bearing messages about your inevitable failure. Following Memetic Mutation the same style of image is now used essentially as a one-man caption contest, keeping the name but rarely trying to demotivate.
  • Marble Hornets. The eponymous student film arc has been over since about entry #20.
    • It gained prominence again in roughly entry #53, but considering where the plot has gone, this is likely a temporary thing.
  • The International Broadway Database can't exactly be international if Broadway is only in one place. But it was probably titled this to imitate imdb.
  • Red vs. Blue hasn't had the Red and Blue characters as actual enemies for a while, although most of the humor comes from their failed attempts to kill each other.
    • Most of the characters on the Red and Blue teams were never either strictly red or blue anyway—Tucker is teal, Simmons is maroon, Grif is yellow orange, Tex is black, Lopez is brown, and Donut is pink "lightish-red". Since Season 3 or so, the plot has had virtually nothing to do with Reds versus Blues (although it's still mentioned, and the Red vs. Blue "war" is technically an important piece of the story, even if the main characters no longer participate in it), instead being about a bunch of people with armor colors nowhere near red or blue (all of the Freelancers, for example).
    • Also, the original subtitle (Blood Gulch Chronicles) is rather inappropriate for the large amounts of time they spend away from Blood Gulch, particularly in Season 4.
      • Averted later when they changed the subtitle when they permanently left Blood Gulch after Season 5.
        • The later subtitles weren't all that much better, though. Seasons 6 through 8 were called Reconstruction, Recreation, and Revelation respectively, but there wasn't much reconstruction in season 6 (the Meta only got crazier the more he tried), there wasn't much recreation in season 7, and there were a whole lot more revelations in season 6 than season 8.
  • Master Chief Sucks at Ordering stops being about Master Chief sucking at ordering things after the third episode. However, the series (and its episode titles) continue to reference the fact that Master Chief sucks at doing things. The reason the show wasn't simply called "Master Chief Sucks" to avoid this problem was presumably because another series already used that name; said series would then be permanently renamed to Arby 'n' the Chief.
  • Doug Walker's "Disneycember" series became this when technical difficulties caused it to spill into January.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • In a sense this has happened twice with Aqua Teen Hunger Force. In the Space Ghost: Coast To Coast episode they originated in, they were a team of mascots for a corporate food chain that Space Ghost sold out to so he could buy a boat. When the spin-off series was made, the characters were heavily changed, the corporate mascot part was dropped, and they were made a detective agency just to have a premise to give to executives rather than calling it a show about food people just... doing stuff. That at least made them a force, but when the detective work was inevitably dropped from the plot, they weren't even that.
    • Of course, this was always fully acknowledged; Adult Swim included bumps stating the following;

First off, they aren't teens. And there is no water involved. And that whole "Hunger Force" thing? That's probably misleading, too.

    • Although technically, the trio are still heavily involved with water: Carl's pool.
  • Looney Tunes. When the series was first conceived in the early '30s, it was meant as a showcase for songs in the Warner Bros. music library (and as a competitor with Disney's Silly Symphonies series). By the mid thirties that concept was done away with and the "looney" part of the title began to take precedence.
    • Its sister series Merrie Melodies is doubly so, as for most of its run it has essentially been the same as the Looney Tunes. At first it separated itself by being one-off cartoons, whereas the Tunes used recurring characters. Then the Merrie Melodies went color, shortly after which they phased out the musical format. By the time Looney Tunes converted to color, the only difference between the two series was the opening theme music. This wiki doesn't even give them separate pages.
      • In the Tunes' case, it helps them the fact that "tunes" and "toons" are homophones, leading some to believe the name is just an artistic misspelling.
    • To this end, there are some people who insist on referring to the series as a whole as "classic Warner Bros. shorts" or something similar.
  • The Disney Princess franchise now includes Mulan, who is neither a princess by birth nor marriage. And to add further irony, not all the princesses are included in the line-up (Princess Eilonwy, anyone?)
    • And for a more recent example, where is Kida?!
      • The reason Kida was not part of the princess line-up was because she become queen at the end of the movie and unlike other princess who has a chance Kida had an Awesome Moment of Crowning
    • Averted with the villain franchise, however. This actually explains why the villain franchise has the most characters of any Disney franchise! For some reason, according to Disney, there is actually no such thing as an "unofficial Disney villain" as there is actually no Eris stand-in (much like Eilonwy serving as the Eris stand-in to the Disney Princesses) for said villains.
    • Back to the Princess franchise, what if one of those princesses became a queen? So far, only one princess in the franchise created by Disney ended up becoming a queen. Guess who that princess was!
    • Another is |Megara she hook up with The Hero who is the prince of the gods in the end, but why she not on the list? Is because her hips don't lie or because she was the Dark Chick for most of the movie and once you go dark you can't go back.
  • The "Treehouse of Horror" Halloween specials on The Simpsons only featured the titular treehouse in the first installment, more than 20 years ago.
  • Averted with The Venture Brothers, which ended the first season on a cliffhanger. Fans were left wondering how the show could continue to exist with its titular characters killed off, until the question was resolved the next season.
    • The opening episode of season two even had a Red Herring to the effect that the show would be about Rusty and his newfound brother Jonas Jr., technically still the Venture Brothers of sorts. Then, Hank and Dean got better.
    • To a degree this still applies, since the central character is now the boys' father Rusty, not the boys themselves (though they are still prominent).
  • Ben 10. Originally so dubbed because protagonist Ben could turn into 10 different aliens. It wasn't long, however, before he discovered an eleventh, and by the time the Sequel Series rolled around, the concept of only ten alien forms was pretty much gone.
  • The Penguins of Madagascar is, as its name suggests, centered around the minor penguin characters of the movie Madagascar, but is primarily set in New York.
  • While the title My Little Pony always made sense for the toys, it makes less sense for the various animated series, as the ponies aren't owned by anyone. My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, at least, has tried to Title Drop the name by having ponies use the phrase among themselves.
  • The Legend of Korra, the Sequel Series to Avatar: The Last Airbender went through two Working Titles, the second of which was The Last Airbender: The Legend of Korra. Awkwardly, the supertitle was superfluous and inaccurate, because in-universe, Korra isn't "the last airbender." The title was soon shortened to The Legend of Korra.


Others[edit | hide]

  • It is common for a new owner of an established restaurant to keep the name the previous owner(s) in order to keep the established clientele and all the good reputation built. Of course this will often lead to names which imply one style of cuisine and offer an entirely different.
    • Averted with Bars in Texas. State law, for some reason, requires them to change their name when they change ownership.
  • The American restaurant chain Buffalo Wild Wings began as "Buffalo Wild Wings & Weck", abbreviated "bw-3". But since they stopped serving Kummelweck rolls at most of their locations, the third W became an artifact. Now the franchise is just called Buffalo Wild Wings, and things have stabilized.
  • Among Hawaiian companies: LikeLike Drive Inn, for many years now neither near Likelike Avenue nor a drive in. KamBowl Haircuts, formerly in the Kamehameha Shopping Center Bowling Alley, but now in a nameless strip mall near Dillingham Avenue after the demolition of said bowling alley. Wisteria Vista condominiums on South King Street, formerly overlooking the Wisteria Restaurant (therefore literally offering a Wisteria Vista). Now not so much, as the Wisteria was torn down and replaced with an ordinary 7-11 (see below). Kapiolani Community College, also decades in its spot near Diamond Head instead of its former location on Kapiolani Avenue. And of course, Pearl Harbor has long been inhospitable to the pearl-bearing oysters it was once rich in.
  • The famous (and now gone forever) New York music venue CBGB stood for "Country, Blue Grass, and Blues", initially specializing on those aforementioned types of music (along with "Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers"). Soon, CBGB, instead of being a home for old-time folk music, went down in history as an important landmark for the American punk/New Wave scene, housing bands such as The Ramones, Blondie, and Talking Heads.
  • Canadian Tire started as an auto parts store in Toronto in 1922, hence the "Tire". It's now a much more diversified hardware store, although most Canadian Tire stores have extensive automotive departments, service garages and gas stations.
    • Similarly with London Drugs, originally a small drugstore in Vancouver, now a nationwide chain of fairly diverse retail stores, though with some emphasis on the sorts of things you expect from the "Drugs" part of the name.
  • The US city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin is often referred to by the nicknames "Brew City" or "The Brew" as it gained notoriety in the early 20th century as the headquarters of four of the countries' largest breweries. Nowadays, its economy is centered around health care and only one large brewery (Miller) still operates in the city, but is headquartered in Chicago.
  • Hunstanton, Norfolk has a similar problem; the construction known as the Hundred Steps (leading from the Esplanade Gardens down to the beach at the bottom of the cliffs) hasn't had a hundred steps since the main promenade was extended to meet the steps about two-thirds of the way down.
  • Somewhere in France, there is a road called the "seventeen turns", but at least two of them were later removed.
  • Scenic 17 Mile Drive in Monterey, California is no longer 17 miles long. It's just under 10, while the other portions of the road have been absorbed by the surrounding town and are not considered part of the scenic highway anymore.
  • How long has it been since Pepsi was marketed as a digestive aid containing pepsin?
    • It's been even longer since Coca-Cola contained coca.
      • Coke even got taken to court over it - though technically they charged the product.
      • Coca-Cola contains both a decocainized coca base and kola nut extract, though neither have much to do with the flavor. Both were thought to have medicinal properties at the time the syrup was invented. Neither has anything to do with why people drink the drink now.
  • Role-playing games is an interesting example. First it only meant a genre of Tabletop Games where players take roles of different characters. Nowdays, Role-Playing Game also means any video game where a character can level up, with rare "role-playing" exceptions where the player's choices actually affect the plot.
  • The convenience store chain 7-Eleven was named after its hours of operation. Now most stores are open 24-7. Its parent company was until 2005 known as the Southland Ice Company, after its original business model of block-ice delivery in Texas in the years before most Americans owned refrigerators.
  • It is typical for a person's online screennames to lose their significance over time as the person's interests change; however, many sites do not offer the ability to change it—thus giving them the choice to either accept this trope or create a new account, which of course means losing whatever history and data the site saves.
  • Freecell in versions of Windows starting with Vista has an artifact icon—originally, a chest-up shot of the King of Hearts was situated between the two sets of card slots at the top, and would face whichever set a card had most recently been added to (or moused over). He was nixed when Vista overhauled the look of all its games, but the icon remains. The king is dead; long live the king?
  • In another Windows example, Windows Phone 7 doesn't have...windows. Applications run full-screen. While the OS shares many internals with other versions, the UI element that is its namesake is not present. The closest it comes to such in version 7.5 is a card-style app switcher similar to webOS.
    • The upcoming Windows 8 is partial aversion in that it features an entirely new UI similar to Windows Phone with fullscreen apps, however the classic desktop is still available and essentially exists as its own app within the new UI paradigm. Basically it's an OS within an OS (or a graphical shell within a graphical shell).
  • The use of "C:\" to designate the hard drive of a PC reflects its original deference to the 5¼-inch and 3½-inch floppy-disk drives, which were A:\ and B:\ respectively. Computers haven't shipped with the first as a standard since the late 1990s, and the second went by the boards a few years later. Yet "C:\" remains the beginning of the drive alphabet
    • In fact, the whole system is an artifact of the era when computers were likely to have access to lots of disk drives (at some large companies, they had gotten into triple letters). There's really no need for letter codes anymore. Very few users need to go to the CLI anymore, and you really don't need them in the folder now called "Computer".
    • Nor, except for the hard drive itself, do any of the letters refer to a drive with an actual moving disk ... memory cards and USB drives are solid-state.
  • The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, or A&P. A long-standing grocery chain, they quickly went on to sell more than just tea. Yet, when they announced that they were having financial problems in 2010, at least one news website ran a headline saying "Tea company to close 25 stores."
  • Any product or store named after a price expressed in an inflatory currency will be this if the name isn't changed.
    • Dollar stores, at least in the United States. Almost all of them now sell items that are much more expensive than $1.00 (or x for $1.00). Many of the stores call themselves 'Dollar (and up)' stores now, the 'and up' part being in tiny print. Which probably isn't the great advertising idea (everything we sell is more expensive than a dollar!), but the public is so used to seeing the dollar part and equating it with the inverse they're used to...
      • At this point, it seems like the Dollar part is used in reference to the fact that prices are rounded to the Dollar. Whereas most other stores price things with .99 and .49 tacked on to the end, Dollar stores will generally still have things priced at $5 or $6 even.
    • In Hungary the "Twinner 88" chewing gum initally cost 88 forints. There were also shops that "sell everything for 100 forints", which was later changed to "we sell (almost) everything for 100 forints", then only the name of the shop was "100 forint shop" but the prices were higher. Now it is re-branded to "One Euro Market" - in a contry that doesn't use the euro.
  • There is a church in Athens, Georgia known as Prince Avenue Baptist Church. It is located on Ruth Jackson Road, which is literally across town from Prince Avenue.
  • Two basic operators in the LISP programming language are named CAR and CDR. They were so named because the first implementation of the language on the IBM 704 simply borrowed the names of the machine code instructions Contents of Address Register and Contents of Decrement Register.
  • The town of Sevenoaks in England varies between accurate and artifact at different times. It is currently an artifact, with nine oaks on the site, but there have been as few as one in the past.
  • American fast-food chain Carl's Jr. was so named because its first location was supposed to be the "junior" (i.e. smaller accompaniment) of a now long-gone barbeque chain called Carl's.
  • See Network Decay for examples of television networks. For example:
    • The channel MTV (Music Television) hardly ever plays music these days.
      • The network executives have realized this and are in the process of dropping the Music from its name. It will still be MTV, but the M won't stand for anything.
    • Likewise, its subsidiary VH-1, which once stood for Video Hits 1, stopped being a music-video network by the early 1990s.
    • On a similar note G4 isn't gaming related anymore, aside from covering E3 each year and X-Play.
    • ABC Family's programming is increasingly less family-friendly these days; the most prominent examples include Greek and The Secret Life of the American Teenager. The "family" part has to stay, though, because when Pat Robertson first sold the channel to Fox (who later sold it to Disney/ABC), there was a demand from Robertson that the word "Family" be in the name permanently, regardless of the channel's owner. As a result, Disney was unable to rename the channel to XYZ and avert this.
    • Cartoon Network became this for a time when Cartoon Network and Adult Swim ditched much of their famed animated programming and attempted to put more emphasis on live action programming. They've since backed down from this and are showing cartoons again after the failure of CN Real, but they still heavily promote the few live-action shows they have.
  • In American politics, the House of Representatives was initially called that because its members were directly elected by and represented the people, in contrast to the Senate, whose members were selected by the state legislatures. The term "House of Representatives" has been an artifact title since the passage of the seventeenth amendment, which mandated the direct election of senators.
  • The British radio station Hallam FM, which has expanded beyond the village of Hallam of Sheffield.
  • When a horse leads throughout a race, the win is often described as "wire to wire." This expression comes from the days before the invention of the starting gate, when the field started from behind a wire as well as crossing a wire at the finish line.
  • Older people often refer to a refrigerator as an "icebox", even though it's been much more than a box with ice in it for decades.
  • YMCA stands for Young Men's Christian Association, and in those days, it was exactly what it said on the tin (It was created for fun as an alternative to various city vices and, due to period swimsuits not being compatible with pool technology of the time, was male only). But nowadays, it's a place where even old Hindu women can go and have fun. (Not to mention its notoriety as a place where gay men had...uh...fun, which inspired the Village People song). It is still an association, though.
    • The organization has changed its name to 'The Y', because of the general confusion as to what YMCA was supposed to stand for. One can only wonder what will happen when people forget that the Y stands for YMCA...
    • There have also been YWCAs (Young Women's Christian Associations) and there used to be at least one YWHA (Young Women's Hebrew Association) in Philadelphia.
  • The Rock in Rio festival had its name due to being in Rio de Janeiro. The last editions were in Lisbon (leading to a common joke in Brazil: since "rio" means river, it was Rock in Rio Tejo) and Madrid.
  • None of the Woodstock festivals have ever actually been held in the town of Woodstock, NY. The name qualifies as an artifact since the original promoters, Woodstock Ventures, Inc., was indeed based in Woodstock (the idea was that the profits from the concert would be enough to fund the construction of a recording studio, the real project). The first one was held in Bethel, not even in the same county; the 1994 Woodstock was held in Saugerties, which at least borders on Woodstock, and the 1999 event was held at a former Air Force base in Rome, NY, almost a hundred miles away
  • The House of Blues, while still hosting the occasional soul or jazz act, is seen as a must-hit venue for any band of any genre touring the US.
    • Parodied by The Onion: "House of Blues actually House of Whites".
  • Orange County, California, was so named because of the large amounts of orange groves that once grew there, and those orange groves no longer exist. A few abandoned Sunkist factories survived for a while but they, too, were eventually torn down.
    • When Orange County was formed, there was already a town named "Orange" there. It's apparently debatable though whether the county was named after the town, or whether the county was named after the fruit and the town name was a coincidence. (The town itself was named after Orange County, Virginia).
    • Perhaps Orange County, New York, (home of the eponymous Choppers) counts as well. It is widely believed to have taken its name from the Dutch royal family, which hasn't held any kind of authority there since the late 17th century.
  • BBC Radio 4's Friday Night Comedy hour had a series in the run-up prior to the UK's 2010 General Election. The shows, presented on Mondays through Wednesdays, were still considered a part of the Friday Night Comedy hour. Lampshaded by the announcer saying that they were, confusingly, broadcast on Monday (or Tuesday or Wednesday) night.
  • AOL, despite being short for America Online, serves other countries.
    • Some of them even outside the continent of America... (insert "USA is NOT America" rant here)
  • The United States of America would count. Under international law, the U.S. itself is a state, and the "states" are really, essentially, provinces. The name comes from when the U.S. was still thought to be a confederation of sovereign states that acted more or less like independent nations under a more powerful and local UN, hence all the early references to "this Union" or "Union of States". This conception more or less died out after the Civil War, when "nation" started cropping up (though secession's still theoretically permissible, so long as the other "states" agree).
    • Some states act like the relationship is closer to what it once was, especially in the face of federal legislation they dislike (which they may pass legislature attempting to override, usually just to be overruled in Federal Court after having wasted taxpayer money on it), and some have unconvincingly threatened secession in the face of it.
      • Which leads to large responses from the country along the lines of "Please do!"
  • A large number of settlements and nations across the world have often lost the things or characteristics they were named after.
    • "America" is most commonly used to refer to the United States, although it originally meant all of the Americas (North and South). Many Latin Americans dislike this usage for obvious reasons.
    • Virginia was named in honour of Queen Elizabeth I, the "Virgin Queen", although America hasn't had a queen since... you know.
      • There's also Maryland (after Charles I's queen Henrietta Maria of France), the Carolinas (after Charles I himself), and Georgia (after George II) as well as innumerable counties, cities, towns, etc.
      • Pointedly averted by King's College, New York, which changed its name to Columbia College in 1783.
  • The National Socialist German Worker's Party. Definitely nationalist, but not so much "socialist" and "workers" after Hitler was done with it. The NSDAP was originally set up as a "cross-front" movement, attracting both disillusioned socialists and communists from the left, and nationalists from the right. Shortly after the party assumed power in 1933, the left wing, led by Gregor Strasser, was purged in the Night of the Long Knives.
  • 20thCenturyFox. The name originally came about from a merger between 20th Century Pictures and Fox Film Corporation in 1935, and at the Turn of the Millennium they made a statement saying they wouldn't update the company name (Futurama's Logo Joke notwithstanding).
    • Although since roughly the second or third season, it takes place in the 31st century (while the replacement logo says 30th Century Fox).
  • The NAACP stands for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. It is still called that now, even though use of the term colored people is now considered backwards by the general populace.
    • Justified in that the association today advocates for all "people of color" (Hispanic, Asian, Native American, etc) rather than just African-Americans. The term "people of color" is still in common and acceptable use.
    • The same thing could probably be applied to the United Negro College Fund and any country with a Department of Indian Affairs (or similar name).
  • There's a language family called Eskimo-Aleut despite the former name having become deprecated in the past few decades.
    • This isn't an actual example among linguists as the name is still relevant. Linguistically-speaking (and ethnically-speaking, unbeknownst to most people who think it is a slur) "Eskimo" is not interchangeable with "Inuit". All Inuit are Eskimos but not all Eskimos are Inuit. And some "Inuit" aren't fans of that term, either.
  • Soap operas are called that because the earliest examples were radio serials were sponsored by soap manufacturers. Modern soap operas, of course, aren't.
    • Though Guiding Light and As the World Turns were produced by soap and detergent manufacturer Proctor and Gamble's in-house production company up until 2008.
  • The Phone House still goes by its its original name of The Carphone Warehouse in the UK and Ireland.
  • Radio stations often change their call letters upon changing format and/or branding. Some radio stations have retained the call letters of a previous format, or in some cases owner. For example, WABC used to be owned by ABC but is currently owned by Citadel Broadcasting, and its Chicago sister WLS was founded by Sears, the World's Largest Store. But WGNA in Albany NY has them beat, as its call letters stand for a branding and format that has never been used on the station: Its original owner intended for it to be an FM sister to his religious station, with the call letters standing for Good News Albany. But it's been on air since day one as a country station, as the owner died and his family overturned his plans.
  • In Baltimore, there is a place called the "Belair Road Supply Company". It started as a supply company on Belair Road. However, it has since moved to Pulaski Highway.
  • There's a corporation called Gyrodyne which once manufactured helicopters for the US Navy. By 1975 the military contracts dried up and the company reinvented itself as a real estate investment trust. For 35 years it has had nothing to do with aviation or engineering of any kind, yet no-one ever bothered to change the company's name.
  • Crystal Palace, South London takes its name from the Crystal Palace, which was re-sited there in 1854. Originally erected in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition of 1851, the re-sited Palace was the most prominent landmark for miles around, and gave its name to the area (formerly Sydenham Hill) and most of the local amenities. It isn’t there now, though: it was destroyed by a fire in 1936.
  • The U.S. Permanent Resident Cards (aka "Green Cards") used to be noticeably green. Nowadays they're mostly yellow with only a hint of green.
  • The U.S. Federal "Food Stamp" program is now implemented through a "debit card" style plastic card.
    • The name has mostly shifted from "Food Stamps" to the card's name, "EBT."
  • The name of Amnesty International made sense when they mainly worked for the release of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience. But since the 1960s, the mandate of the organisation has grown to comprise many different human rights questions, making the name way too narrow. As a matter of fact, Amnesty even opposes impunity for certain serious crimes, making the name downright misleading at times.
  • Oxfam International is a multinational aid confederation with member organisations in 14 countries. Its name comes from the now obsolete telegraph address of the original organisation: the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, founded in Oxford, UK in 1942 to lobby for a relaxation of the Allied blockade of Axis-occupied Greece to allow food relief.
  • The astronomy website nineplanets.org doesn't make sense anymore since Pluto's demotion to dwarf planet in 2006.
  • Large trucks made to tow a semi-trailer connect to those trailers using a coupler called a "fifth wheel". Most of these trucks have more than five normal wheels.
  • Pencil "leads" are made of graphite. They aren't, and never have been, made from lead. The stylus, a writing implement used by the Romans to inscribe characters in wet clay, did consist of a lead rod with a point, however, and that's the reason we still use the term to this day.
  • Ottawa's Cisco Systems BluesFest (formerly the Ottawa Blues Festival) started out as a festival of Blues music (although the headliner of the first festival was Clarence Clemons ; a fine musician, but not quite a Blues musician). For years now, as the festival has grown exponentially in size and profile, it has expanded its repertoire to include a wide variety of music styles, including Urban, Classic Rock and Heavy Metal, but thanks to the original branding, still has Blues in its name. Every year when the new lineup is announced, the same tired complaints about how "there's no Blues in the BluesFest" come up, even though there are always plenty of legit Blues musicians on the undercard and side stages. Bizarrely, one headliner in recent years that drew complaints from this faction were The White Stripes, who, although an Alternative Rock band, do actually have a lot of Blues influence in their music, and opened up their BluesFest set with covers of John Lee Hooker and Son House songs.
  • Street names are often artifacts of times past:
    • Many towns across the US will continue to have a "Railroad Street" long after the corresponding railroad track has been dug up, a "Church Street" that no longer has a church on it, a "School Street" that no longer has a school on it, et cetera.
    • Some shopping mall developers name the mall access roads after the department stores they're near. Sometimes, these access roads keep the same name even if the department store doesn't (for instance, at least two malls in Michigan have access roads named for Hudson's, when in both cases, the store in question is now Macy's).
    • In Reston, Virginia, the massive Reston Town Center project required considerable construction resources, and a temporary road was built to facilitate access for construction vehicles. Over two decades later, a number of businesses and residences have Temporary Road as their (permanent) address.
    • Wall Street originally went along an actual wall. The wall is, of course, long since gone, but the name stuck.
    • Horseferry Road, Westminster, best known for its magistrates court, did once lead directly to the horse ferry crossing the Thames to Lambeth Palace. It now leads to Lambeth Bridge, which replaced the ferry in 1862.
  • The US-23 Drive-In in Flint, Michigan had an accurate name for only six years: the road in front of it was US-23, until the highway was re-routed to a freeway in 1958. It was also right next to a "23 Market" (now a Kroger), which had several other locations throughout Flint — none of which were located on US-23 or a past alignment thereof.
  • Speaking of highway re-routings, it's not uncommon for the old alignment of a state or national highway to be renamed "Old [highway number]". However, in some cases, the "new" highway is later renumbered, but the "old" one still carries the old number. For instance, there are several pieces of "Old M-11" throughout western Michigan; M-11 was re-routed several times before it was renumbered US-31 in 1926, and the number M-11 was used elsewhere.
  • Dunkin' Donuts. Sure, they still serve donuts and coffee, like they always have, but they never seem to even bother to promote the tens of varieties of donuts they serve. Heck, their current slogan is "America Runs On Dunkin'", an emphasis on coffee, compared to this commercial from the 1980s, where there was an emphasis on donuts. They even serve, including but not limited to, flatbread sandwiches, bagels, bagel twists, pepperoni-stuffed breadsticks, breakfast sandwiches (served on croissants, bagels, English muffins, and biscuits), chicken salad sandwiches, hash browns, iced beverages, and a coffee menu that's mutated to all sorts of coffee-based drinks.
  • Madison Square Garden in New York City was orginally located around Madison Square, but has had two locations away from it since 1925 (the current dating to 1968).
  • The word "movie" came from the term "moving pictures." This word could thus be applied to television, internet videos and animation, and even video games. However, the word "movie" is pretty much exclusively used to refer to feature-length, non-interactive, (usually) non-serialized moving pictures as shown in theaters.
    • Likewise, "film" was originally a reference to the medium the movie was both shot and presented in. With today's digital technology, it's entirely possible to record hours of footage[4] without any of it coming near an actual film reel in any form.
  • The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon certainly weren't poor for long—better known as the Knights Templar, they controlled the late medieval European banking system.
  • The two oldest political parties in Norway are called Høyre and Venstre (meaning right and left, respectively). When they were formed they were the only two parties in parliament, and the names were thus accurate as to their political leanings. Today there is one mainstream party to the right of Høyre, and several socialist and centrist parties to the left of Venstre.
  • 1980s Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney is perhaps the best-known to have headed what was then known, oxymoronically, as the Progressive Conservative Party, the result of an old merger. It kept the name even as the party itself drifted to the right. The old moniker was finally dropped after another merger in 2003.
  • The third generation of the Boeing 737, officially known as the 737 Next Generation or 737NG for short. 15 years after entering service, it is still referred to as such, even in promotional material for its upcoming successor, the 737MAX.
  • In Northern California, there is the city of Redding, renamed from Reading (same pronunciation) after the railroad company which essentially created the town and was the backbone of its economy. Since the company doesn't exist anymore...
    • There are also North, South, East, and West streets, which were named as such because those were the gegraphic borders of the town. Now they are in the middle of the western half of the city.
    • Redding also has the Lorenz Hotel, which is actually a business center with some apartments, as well.
    • Nearby is Whiskeytown Lake, a manmade lake. Whiskeytown is actually at the bottom of that lake...
    • Also, Redding is the county seat of Shasta County. The Shasta Native American tribe has been officially considered completely wiped out by the federal government.
    • Redding's Shasta High School yearbook is named the Daisy, even though that has not been their mascot for about a century (it's the Wolves).
  • Many cities that have undergone amalgamations contain neighbourhoods or districts whose names no longer apply. For instance, in Toronto the term "East End" does not refer to Scarborough or part thereof, but to the east end of the pre-1998 city.
  • Inverted by Netflix: The service's name was created during its initial conception as a streaming service (which was shelved for technology reasons). As a result of improving technology, the name became accurate when the service's streaming content eclipsed its mail order content.
  • Before xerographic photocopiers, the only way to send copies of one letter to additional people was to have it carbon copied. Actual carbon copying is obsolete, but letters still use the term "c.c." to refer to a list of additional recipients. It's even used with e-mails, which lack any physical papers to carbon copy.
    • Carbon copy has taken a new life on Twitter of all places, since a short "cc" take up very little space and lets you take more people.
  • University buildings may fall into this trope over time. For instance, the Old Horticulture Building at Michigan State University (affectionately termed "Old Whore" by students) houses...the Department of Romance and Classical Studies (that's "Romance" as in "Romance languages"). Yes. It used to house the Horticulture department; no longer. Horticulture today is housed in the Plant and Soil Science Building, which actually is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
    • Columbia University's Low Memorial Library (the big domed building in the middle of campus that's a National Historic Landmark) is currently the administration offices. It hasn't been the campus's main library building since Butler Library across the quad was built in the 1930s. Yet Low still has "The Library of Columbia University" engraved across its frieze.
  • The city of College Station, Texas, was named for the railroad station, College Station, which was named because it served Texas A&M College. Texas A&M College long ago became Texas A&M University, and the railroad station named for it long ago was bulldozed to make way for a multi-lane road.
    • In fact, the "A&M" in Texas A&M is an artifact. The name used to be short for "Agricultural and Mechanical", back when it was primarily an Ag school. Now that the school's subjects have expanded to include all manner of subjects, the "A&M" isn't short for anything in particular, and is kept out of tradition.
  • TV Tropes started with live-action television, but its scope broadened to other media over a few years.
  • GEICO stands for Government Employee Insurance Company, and as the name suggests, only sold insurance to government employees. It has sense expanded well-beyond the point that its name makes any sense.
    • There's also a fair amount of credit unions originally founded for public employees of a particular agency that are now open to anyone.
  • Both Glacier National Park and Glacier Bay National Park could lose most of their glaciers if climate change continued unchecked.
  • The iTunes Store, while originally a store for music, now also sells ebooks, movies and iPhone apps.
  • New York's famous Second Avenue Deli, now located on 33rd Street and 3rd Avenue, with a second location on 1st Ave. and 75th St.
  • Anything that hangs around for long enough with the word "new" in its name (and no original or older version to differentiate itself from) is set for a date with this trope.
    • Novgorod (=New Town) in Russia, now one of the oldest cities there.
    • The New Forest in England, created by William the Conqueror in 1079.
    • Or the New Testament, now nearly 2,000 years old.
      • But still new in relation to the Old Testament.
    • The Pont Neuf (=New Bridge), oldest bridge in Paris.
    • New College, Oxford, is one of the oldest member of the university.
  • Nokia Corporation got its name because it had a mill in the town of Nokia, Finland, back when it used to manufacture paper rather than communication technology. Nowadays it has its headquarters in Espoo, Finland, and the only connection it has to its old home town is the name.
  • AT&T stands for American Telephone and Telegraph. While they could probably still handle it if they had to, telegraphy went out of use a long time ago unless you count the Internet or text messaging.
  • Gateway, the former computer company, was originally founded as Gateway 2000 to make and sell peripherals, such as network gateways, in the mid-1980s. The plan was always to start making their own computers, and by the early 1990s that was their core business. In 1998 the "2000" was dropped, averting that part of the trope. Acer, which has owned Gateway since the mid-2000s, will soon be retiring the name completely.
  • Facebook: A "facebook" is something that has historically been distributed to American college freshmen, with pictures of the entire class and, perhaps, some brief information. Sort of like a high school yearbook inverted, even with the same lame pictures. This name for the network reflected its original limitation to alumni of various colleges and universities — a restriction that, when dropped, helped the company overtake Myspace and become the dominant social network.
  • This applies to famous buildings as well. Notably, Sears Tower in Chicago which is no longer owned by Sears for many years, but the name remained intact until it's officially renamed, Willis Tower.
  • Sanitary napkins (sanitary towels to UK readers) are still commonly sold and referred to as "maxipads" in the US, even though most manufacturers stopped making minipads around 1980 or so.
    • The brand names New Freedom (now defunct) and Stayfree refer to the fact that those products were the first to not require a belt (up to the mid-1980s, Stayfree's boxes still described their contents as "beltless feminine napkins", which by then was pretty much the entire product sector).
  • Most U.S. railroads have names based on their original routes or service areas, combined with those from railroads they merged with, that are no longer accurate: Norfolk Southern (a merger of the Norfolk & Western and Southern railroads) serves practically the entire Eastern US; BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) serves much of the West.
  • X-rays were initially referred to as such by their discoverer, Wilhelm Röntgen, because he did not know what they were at the time, and so gave them the designation "X" - the algebraic symbol for an unknown. X-rays have now been known to be electromagnetic radiation for over a century.
  • The drafts of stories sent out to media organizations, and the live events where someone announces something and may or may not take questions from assembled reporters, are still referred to widely as "press releases" and "press conferences", even though they've included electronic media for decades and the various stylebooks tell you to substitute "news" or "media" for "press".
  • The Vassarette brand of lingerie takes its name from the Vassar-Swiss Underwear Company of Chicago, which made both men's and women's underwear. In the mid-20th century the brand name for the latter was given a feminine ending to distinguish it. It was more successful and the company spun it off several years later. The original Vassar brand stopped being produced in the late 1960s.
  • Pizza chain Little Caesars has an artifact slogan of "Pizza! Pizza!", referencing the fact that in the early days, Little Caesars sold two pizzas for what competitors charged for only one. While other budget pizzeria chains have made this pricing less noticeable, "Pizza! Pizza!" and many other variations thereof are still prominent in advertising.
  • The leather straps that standing passengers in the New York City subway once held onto were replaced with metal loops by 1970 due to health concerns about the leather. Those metal loops themselves gave way to horizontal bars within a decade. Yet subway riders are still referred to as "straphangers", and one rider advocacy group calls itself the Straphangers' Campaign.
  • The 3 Musketeers chocolate bar used to contain three different flavored pieces in one package: chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. During World War 2, only the more popular chocolate piece was kept due to restrictions on sugar at the time, and has remained that way since.
  • Having someone paged originally meant sending a pageboy out to find them and deliver a message or summons. This rarely happens now.
  • The kidney-shaped area between Jerusalem and the Jordan River in the Middle East, where the cities of Ramallah, Hebron, Jenin and thousands of Israeli settlements and Palestinian refugee camps are is commonly referred to today as "the West Bank." While this is literally accurate since it is, after all, on the west side of the river, the relevance of that name is an artifact of the period when Jordan laid claim to it, from 1949-67 when it was the sovereign power (although its claim to the West Bank was only recognized by Britain and Pakistan). After the Six-Day War, Israel administered it (it can't really be called occupied since it has never been widely recognized as part of any state's sovereign territory), but Jordan continued to claim it until 1988, when they renounced it to bolster the Palestinians' national aspirations. Since Jordan no longer claims it, its relation to Jordan and the river is no longer relevant and it remains in use only as the alternative to "Judea and Samaria", the Israeli-nationalist term for it.
  • As a result of several confusing decisions by their parent company, Cumulus Media, Atlanta modern rock radio station 99X was briefly on the 97.9[5] frequency (before moving to 99.1).
  • In the United States, many railroad stations are called Union Station. These originally where used by trains from multiple railroads and joint owned by the railroads served. Today, most of these stations are owned by the city in which they reside, and are mainly served by Amtrak. Still the name has stuck.
  • "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels. He is no longer a kid nor a heartbreaker. He's happily married, and even if he wasn't, he's devout Christian now.
  • Glacier Media, a publisher of various newspapers and magazines in Western Canada, gets their name from having started out as a bottled water company (a business they've been out of for years).
  • Surnames describe the appearance, occupation, place of birth, lineage or personality of the original bearer, but get passed down to descendants that they no longer correctly describe. We all know Smiths who aren't smiths and MacDonalds whose fathers aren't named Donald.
  • In many towns in Canada and Australia, you can find bars called hotels. Few of them still rent rooms.
  • In the U.S., the laws like the Sherman Act that are enforced to prevent companies from becoming monopolies and otherwise engaging in unfair trade practices are still called antitrust laws, even though the "trusts", the corporate cartels they were enacted in response to, have long since been broken up by the enforcement of said laws (in the rest of the world these statutes are known as competition law.) This Artifact Title is probably for the best as anticorporation law doesn't have the same ring to it and describes the laws a bit too well to make some people comfortable.
  • Motel 6 got its name because its original rate was $6 a night. Costs have since gone up over the years both due to inflation and to the increase of amenities such as coin-operated black-and-white TVs being replaced with free color TVs.
  • Chex cereal's name and shape reflected the checkerboard logo of its former owner Ralston-Purina (yes, the pet food company used to make cereal, too). The cereal has since been sold to General Mills in 1997, three years after the Ralston portion was spun off into Ralcorp.
  • NASDAQ, the electronic stock exchange, was spun off from the National Association of Securities Dealers, the trade group which had created it 30 years earlier, in 2001. Since then NASD has itself merged with the NYSE and become the private Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, commonly known as FINRA, making the name doubly apt for this trope as the NASDAQ is no longer connected to an entity that is no longer known by that name.
  • Ketchup started out as a fish sauce in Southeast Asia. The Chinese merchants called it "Ke-chiap", meaning "brine of pickled fish" and eventually the Europeans who explored the region were introduced to it as well, and brought it back home, where they began coming up with their own variations. In the early 19th century tomatoes caught on as an ingredient, and by the middle of the century the fish and their brine were phased out, making the name of the sauce an artifact since "ke" means "fish" in Chinese.
  • MI-5 and MI-6 were named because they were the fifth and sixth branch of the Directorate of Military Intelligence (hence the "MI"), which went from MI-1 all the way up to MI-19. Today all of the other sections have be disbanded or where absorbed into other organizations.
  1. Note that, if it did, the company's name would be "Detective Comics Comics"
  2. Since 1999, the prog that covers the Christmas / New Year period used the new year as the issue number, as of mid-2010 the regular weekly issues are "only" up to the late 1600s
  3. The "All England" part of the name isn't really indicative either, as the club's orbit extends across the whole of the UK. The "Lawn" part is, though: Wimbledon is now the only grand slam event played on grass.
  4. Itself a reference to the amount of film used in the recording process
  5. Hey, at least it has two nines in it, right?