GemsReader helps you say stuff right
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Way back in 2007 we cobbled together a fun little list of frequently mispronounced game names. Far more obnoxious than the simple Mah-rio/May-rio switch, these names are routinely butchered and for a defensible reason theyre almost all nutty as hell.
We thought wed expand on that original feature, as 2007 is like 70 million years ago in internet time. So heres an update!
You say: Fax anna dew
Should be: Fah zanna dew
Xanadu is the name of a famous (nearly infamous) 1980 movie and soundtrack, a prominent mansion in Citizen Kane and an ancient Mongolian city that was also the inspiration for Kubla Khan. If you have to google some of those references, were not surprised now imagine a bunch of 80s children attempting to pronounce the Famicom version, portmanteaud into Faxanadu with no regard to our still-forming intellect. Made sense in Japan, but our feeble US minds had to dub it Fax anna dew and move on.
You say: Eye-co
Should be: E-co
Simple mistake, this one. Youre not horribly wrong by calling it Eye-co, but if youre going to be one of those people (and we all are from time to time), you should follow the Japanese translation. In this case, the I is like kiwi, not identical.
You say: Wise, Yeez, Y.S., Yis
Should be: Ease
Ys has been around for more than 20 years and people still cant say it properly, even though the games cheesy narrator clearly says the name in plain English. Y is a confusing letter to just slap an S on, which is possibly why the series hasnt become more popular if no one knows what to call it, they cant tell anyone to buy it.
You say: Swy ko den, Sue ick o dan, Swike odin
Should be: Swee ko-den
A great case of a publisher keeping the Japanese name when the obvious English option (Stars of Destiny) would have made it far easier on the many parents struggling to pronounce this massive vowel movement. Konamis never let up, having released Suikoden: Tierkreis just last year. Say what?
You say: Ur-guys, Air geez
Should be: Air-gites
We've heard this one manhandled for years, even though the announcer says the name at the title screen. Need more help? Turns out ehrgeiz is German for ambition, making this a second Square title with a German name (Einhander would be the other).
You say: Ninja Gay-den
Should be: Ninja Guy-den
Gaiden is a common term in Japanese videogames (meaning side-story or supplemental content), but most English speakers first exposure to the word was Ninja Gaiden, which quickly became Gay-den in uncouth arcades around the country. Two decades later and we think just about everyones figured it out.
The Magic of Scheherazade
You say: I cant even read that s**t.
Should be: Sha-hair-uh-zod
A title so confusing they spell it out for you twice once in a nearly undecipherable mess of Arabic pixels, and again in plain white letters. Neither is particularly easy to sort out at first pass, especially for young uns trying to ask for a game theyve only read about in Nintendo Power.
You say: Deuce Ex, Dee us ex, um, Day of sex?
Should be: Day-us Ex
Finally, a name we cant pin on the Japanese. This time its those conniving Latin-speaking folk whore to blame for years of actually, its pronounced hurrr hurrrrrr. Kind of like what were doing right now.
You say: Lou-mines
Should be: Loo min-ess
OK, we havent heard a whole lot of people call it Lou-mines. But if our years of retail experience have taught us anything, its that if one person mispronounces something, a hundred others will too. What do you suppose theyre searching for in the Lou Mines?
You say: Ate-lear Iris
Should be: At-ill-yay Iris
Japanese, Latin, now the French have some fun at our consonant-pronouncing expense. Atelier is far from an uncommon word even in English, but, as was the case with the NES, millions of gamers first system was a PS2, and atelier isnt a word youd expect a kid to nail the first time. From there you keep calling it the incorrect name even though you know its wrong. Kinda like Street Fighters Ryu we know its closer to Roo or even Ree-you, but well never, ever call him anything but Rye-you.
You say: Ive never heard of this game before.
Should be: Zex-iz
Lets assume youve heard of Xexyz. If you came across it at an early age, odds are you crinkled your nose, furrowed your brow and wondered what in Eternia/Thundera/Cybertron/The Mushroom Kingdom it was supposed to be. Weve heard Exes and Zezzez as first tries, but thankfully the sweet ass commercial cleared it all up. Go buy a vowel!
You say: Guy-uh REZ Should be: Guy ARE ess
Even though this Sega shooters name looks to be Gaia and Ares blended together, its not pronounced as such. Instead, its trying to be like Xexyz and the next entry and have some quirky-cool shooter name thats 100% unique. Makes searching for them online incredibly easy though, so thanks for that.
You say: Axel-ay, Aches-lay
Should be: Axe-lay
Yes, this ones as simple as it seems. Just Axe and Lay put together, not some weird combination of the two. To be fair, we dont have a 100% confirmation on any pronunciation for Axelay, but the majority has decided on that name. Far more important is how ass-kickingly awesome this game really is. Check it out on Virtual Console pronto.
Tatsunoko vs Capcom
You say: Teh-san-ooki, others probably
Should be: Tat-su-no-ko, just like it is
More Japanese, and a totally unfamiliar word on top of that. Wed wager not many reading this article have a problem saying Tatsunoko, but weve already heard reports from the retail frontlines of name mangling, our favorite being Teh-san-ooki. Mostly a case of Americans seeing a Japanese word and not even trying to work it out.
You say: Shen-moo-eh
Should be: Shen-moo
You say may be a bit harsh in this case, as the only people who insist on calling it moo-eh are those whore trying to sound overly Japanese. Youre not in on some crazy translation quirk, it really is just moo. Just ask this guy.
You say: Im 9 and cant read that.
Should be: Hey-on kyo Alien
Isnt that the most goddamn horrific box youve ever seen? That hairy alien thing has arms growing out of its head and its halfway buried in the ground! Only after digesting this nightmare can we even begin to tackle the name, which in our youth might as well have been written in Mars-man language. Still dont know whats going on in that picture
You say: Effa Meryl
Should be: Effem er-ul
Not the most common word in everyday language, ephemeral is usually handled one of two ways, which weve outlined above. The real fun comes when everyday shopper-person cant process the word and ends up tripping on Fantasia as well. Effa Meryl Fanastasia was one of our mid-2000 favorites.
You say: Poop Lacrosse, according to an old comment on the site
Should be: Popo Lo Croi
PoPoLoCrois is such an initial challenge because of the distractingly unnecessary intercapping and fusion of Japanese and French terms. The Japanese name, PoPoRoKoRoisu, doesnt help us much either. Just call it that PSP game no one remembers.
You say: Diss gay-uh, Diss gee-uh
Should be: Diss guy-uh
Its a bizarre word, possibly meaning against Earth, so youre forgiven for getting it wrong. We asked publisher NIS America what it meant a couple of years ago, and got this response: "From the developer side, Disgaea means absolutely nothing, it just sounded cool and different. We could say that their souls were actually looking for 'anti-earth' so Disgaea came to their mind even though they dont know English at all. It was the magic of Disgaea!"
You say: Wige-dra, or nothing at all
Should be: Igg-dra
We could have sworn Yggdra was something other than a princess in this game, but after nine pages of google results we have to assume that it never existed in human language until 2006, certainly not in another language that might elude our basic internet searches. [Ed.: it's most likely a derivate of Yggdrasil, the world-tree of Viking myth, whose name translates literally from Old Norse as "Frightful Horse".] As for the name itself, just pretend its an I instead of a Y.
You say: Asta-nax, Astee-annex
Should be: Uh sty uh nacks
This rigid, plodding side-scroller stars a hero whose name comes from Greek mythology (read more about that here) and, like so many other NES games on this list, completely stopped all 10 year olds in their tracks. We werent sure which of those three options was correct, but according to the Wikis use of the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), uh STY uh nacks is the proper way to say it.
You say: Wee, but grandmothers and aunts say Wye, The W2
Should be: A cooler name than Wee, but its too late for that
Not much to say here. We all get it right away, we were there the day the Revolution died and became the Wii. But millions (upon staggering millions) of Wii owners out there ask for it by the wrong name, somehow unable to pronounce the thing they simply have to own. Wed like to think that by this point Wee is a worldwide certainty, but theres probably still some uninformed parent wondering why his kid wants a tax form for Christmas.
You say: Poke man, Poke mans, Pookimun, Pokey men, Pockey mon
Should say: Po-kay-mon
Perhaps one of the most commonly mispronounced words in the whole of human existence, weve heard so many tragic variations of pocket monster that weve become unable to call them by their true name. After so many years of mangling, Poke mans is completely acceptable even in non-ironic situations. Pokemon: Let us show you how to pronounce them.
Got far on Sinny Moira yet? Have you been Mugging Souls, or imported Poyopoyopoyo... Poyo... that cat game? What amusing mispronunciations have you encountered lately, is the question we're getting at.
Or check our lists of The shortest game names of all time, Game names corrected by spell check, or The bloodiest games you've never played.