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 – they’re almost all nutty as hell.
We thought we’d expand on that original feature, as 2007 is like 70 million years ago in internet time. So here’s a 2010 update!
You say: “Fax anna dew”
Should be: “Fah zanna dew”
“Xanadu” is the name 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, we’re not surprised – now imagine a bunch of ‘80s children attempting to pronounce the Famicom version, portmanteau’d 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. You’re not horribly wrong by calling it Eye-co, but if you’re 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 can’t say it properly, even though the game’s 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 hasn’t become more popular – if no one knows what to call it, they can’t 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. Konami’s 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: “Deuce Ex, Dee us ex, um, Day of sex?”
Should be: “Day-us Ex”
Finally, a name we can’t pin on the Japanese. This time it’s those conniving Latin-speaking folk who’re to blame for years of “actually, it’s pronounced hurrr hurrrrrr.” Kind of like what we’re doing right now.
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 everyone’s figured it out.
Next page: More things you thought you were pronouncing correctly but in fact were not!