Words are pronounced however people pronounce them, and to insist otherwise is to fight a losing battle. This is why “giff” and “jiff” are equally valid. But for those who care, according to a new Nintendo 3DS game, NES (the classic Nintendo Entertainment System) is pronounced “ness”.
On Twitter, gamer Kyle McLain shows a screen from the Japanese version of WarioWare Gold for 3DS, which puts the characters pronounced “ne” and “su” above NES. Thus, “nesu”, which is the closest that Japanese characters can get to “ness”. Eurogamer confirms.
In the museum section of the Japanese version of Wario Ware Gold, you can unlock some slides showcasing the Famicom. Also included is a picture of the NES. Within the description, Nintendo themselves says that “NES” is pronounced “Ness”. pic.twitter.com/Vg5JjXgJgy
— Kyle McLain (@FarmboyinJapan) August 3, 2018
User LeoTheCollector replies with a US Nintendo ad for Kirby’s Adventure, which ends with “Only on N.E.S.”
"Kirby's Adventure Only on N E S"https://t.co/B3xII0LGih
— Leo (@LeoTheCollector) August 3, 2018
So if the pronunciation of an '80s gaming console is something you like to argue about, you still have evidence on either side. If you trust the Japanese copywriters for a current Nintendo game more than the US advertisers, go with “ness”. If you believe that because “NES” stands for English words its pronunciation should not be decided by a transliteration back into Japanese, then WarioWare Gold changes nothing.
I just want to point something out: If you follow the rules, “ness” implies that the SNES is pronounced “sness”, 3DS is pronounced “three deess”, and N64 is “nuh-sixty-four”.
In his essay “Politics and the English Language”, Orwell lists five rules for improving one’s sentences. But he adds a sixth: “Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.”