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 – 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 an update!

Faxanadu

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, 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.

Ico

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.”

Ys

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.

Suikoden

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?

Ehrgeiz

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).

Ninja Gaiden

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.

The Magic of Scheherazade

You say: “I can’t 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 they’ve only read about in Nintendo Power.

Deus Ex

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.

Lumines

You say: “Lou-mines”
Should be: “Loo min-ess”

OK, we haven’t heard a whole lot of people call it “Lou-mines.” But if our years of retail experience have taught us anything, it’s that if one person mispronounces something, a hundred others will too. What do you suppose they’re searching for in the Lou Mines?

Atelier Iris

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” isn’t a word you’d expect a kid to nail the first time. From there you keep calling it the incorrect name even though you know it’s wrong. Kinda like Street Fighter’s Ryu – we know it’s closer to “Roo” or even “Ree-you,” but we’ll never, ever call him anything but “Rye-you.”

Xexyz

You say: “I’ve never heard of this game before.”
Should be: “Zex-iz”

Let’s assume you’ve 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. We’ve heard “Exes” and “Zezzez” as first tries, but thankfully the sweet ass commercial cleared it all up. Go buy a vowel!

Gaiares

You say: “Guy-uh REZ”
Should be: “Guy ARE ess”

Even though this Sega shooter’s name looks to be Gaia and Ares blended together, it’s not pronounced as such. Instead, it’s trying to be like Xexyz and the next entry and have some quirky-cool shooter name that’s 100% unique. Makes searching for them online incredibly easy though, so thanks for that.

Axelay

You say: “Axel-ay, Aches-lay”
Should be: “Axe-lay”

Yes, this one’s as simple as it seems. Just Axe and Lay put together, not some weird combination of the two. To be fair, we don’t 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. We’d wager not many reading this article have a problem saying “Tatsunoko,” but we’ve 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.

Heiankyo Alien

You say: “I’m 9 and can’t read that.”
Should be: “Hey-on kyo Alien”

Isn’t that the most goddamn horrific box you’ve ever seen? That hairy alien thing has arms growing out of its head… and it’s 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 don’t know what’s going on in that picture…

Shenmue

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 who’re trying to sound overly Japanese. You’re not in on some crazy translation quirk, it really is just “moo.” Just ask this guy.

Ephemeral Fantasia

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 we’ve outlined above. The real fun comes when everyday shopper-person can’t process the word and ends up tripping on Fantasia as well. “Effa Meryl Fanastasia” was one of our mid-2000 favorites.

PoPoLoCrois

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, doesn’t help us much either. Just call it “that PSP game no one remembers.”

Disgaea

You say: “Diss gay-uh, Diss gee-uh”
Should be: “”Diss guy-uh”

It’s a bizarre word, possibly meaning “against Earth,” so you’re 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 don’t know English at all. It was the magic of Disgaea!”

Yggdra Union

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 it’s an “I” instead of a “Y.”

Astyanax

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 weren’t sure which of those three options was correct, but according to the Wiki’s use of the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), “uh STY uh nacks” is the proper way to say it.

Wii

You say: “Wee,” but grandmothers and aunts say “Wye, The W2”
Should be: A cooler name than “Wee,” but it’s 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. We’d like to think that by this point “Wee” is a worldwide certainty, but there’s probably still some uninformed parent wondering why his kid wants a tax form for Christmas.

Pokemon

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, we’ve heard so many tragic variations of “pocket monster” that we’ve 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.

Want more?

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.

By Gamesradar Staff