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Here’s The Correct Way to Pronounce NES
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Here’s The Correct Way to Pronounce NES

People pronounce words correctly all the time. They say GIF instead of JIF, Ay-tee-Ay-tee instead of AT-AT, and Ra’s al Ghul instead of Batman Jafar. Usually there’s no easy way to determine how a word should actually be pronounced, but today we can end a debate that has raged for more than 30 years: how do you pronounce the acronym for the Nintendo Entertainment System?

First released in 1983, the Nintendo Entertainment System was the gaming giant’s first foray into home video game consoles. With landmark titles like Mario Bros, Mega Man, and The Legend of Zelda, it forever changed the future of video gaming. It also tore families apart with ferocious debates over the proper way to pronounce its acronym, NES. Naturally, the answer comes courtesy of Nintendo itself. The NES isn’t pronounced N-E-S with each letter pronounced individually; rather, it is pronounced “ness” like the Loch monster or the Super Smash Bros. character. This important discovery was first spotted by Twitter user Kyle McLain (via Lifehacker), who spotted an intriguing detail in the Japanese version of WariorWar Gold for the Nintendo 3DS.

If you look carefully above the words NES in the screenshot above, you can see the Japanese katakana characters for “ne” and “su,” which combine to form “nesu,” the closest equivalent in Japanes to “ness.” For those of you wondering why that wouldn’t be pronounced “nezu” instead, there’s a linguistic reason for that too, as pointed out by Digital Foundry‘s John Linneman to Eurogamer: “If it had a dakuten — the little dots that change the sound of Japanese characters — it could be ‘nezu’ instead. But it doesn’t, so it’s an S sound, not a Z.”

So that’s it. End of debate, right? Or is it. Responding to McLain’s tweet, Twitter user LeoTheCollector shared a 1993 commercial for the NES title Kirby’s Adventure in which the announcer at the end can distinctly be heard pronouncing it “N-E-S.”

So who are we supposed to believe? Those lying liars at whatever marketing agency Nintendo outsourced their Kirby’s Adventure commercial to or the fine folks at Nintendo who literally spelled it out for us in their new game? Only time will tell. In the meantime, let us know how you pronounce NES in the comments below!

Images: Nintendo

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