Tips for Buying EarthBound

December 4th, 2011 | EarthBound

Most fans know by now that in the Japanese versions of the MOTHER games, the special techniques are called “PK”, like PK Fire, PK Freeze, etc. while in EarthBound, these were changed to “PSI”, as in PSI Fire, PSI Freeze, and so on. More info here.

Every once in a while I’m asked what they both stand for. “PK” stands for psychokinesis, and “PSI” stands for psionics.

It’s important to note that although PK became PSI in the localization process, there ARE some techniques in the MOTHER games that have “PSI” in the name, like “PSI Magnet” or “PSI Shield”. Also, in these cases, “PSI” is pronounced in Japanese like the “sci” in “science”, although English players are split between saying that and the letters P-S-I.

Anyway, the real question is, why was PK changed to PSI in the localization process in the first place? I’m not really sure myself, except that maybe someone thought it was weird having PK and PSI techniques and just wanted to make them all the same. Any thoughts?

Also, how do you personally pronounce PSI? Vote in the poll!

POLL: How do *you* pronounce PSI?

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146 Comments to PK vs. PSI, What Gives?

flare said on Dec. 4, 2011

The localisation was probably based on the principle of “viewers are morons” – the expectation that people would be confused if there were PSI attacks labelled something other than “PSI”, or perceived inconsistency in the coexistence of PK Fire etc and PSI Magnet, and so by consolidating it into the single PSI prefix they’d be saving American children everywhere from grasping vaguely complicated concepts. Or something, not quite so maliciously intended though still condescending toward the intellectual capabilities of children.

Poe said on Dec. 4, 2011

Looks like I’m in the pronunciation minority for this one!

Bread said on Dec. 4, 2011

P-S-I FIRE Ξ©! I believe psychokinesis is real! Mind over matter. Ness must really be good at it, because it takes years and years to learn to make fire fly out of your fingers or make a psychokinetic wave. Supernatural forces FOR THE WIN!

FlyingManCourage said on Dec. 4, 2011

I was waiting for this article!

I never knew about PK until I stumbled upon the EarthBound community. I don’t think flare is too far off. I think PSI was used in America because it is more indicative of the what you are doing. You are using Psychic power….so PSI Fire made more sense in English.

Bread said on Dec. 4, 2011


I never understood PSI, I always made fun of EB
when I got exp, I have 36729 PSI! Sounds like air pressure.

Fredrik said on Dec. 4, 2011

They did go with the PK thing in smash bros. Maybe they didn’t want to go into the pronunciation debate. πŸ˜€

R7038xx said on Dec. 4, 2011

Psi is pronounced ‘sigh’ in English. It’s from the Greek letter Psi, which is pronounced the same. It’s really not up for debate as far as I’m concerned, so the majority of voters are simply wrong.

EBrent said on Dec. 4, 2011


Yes, many letters of the Greek alphabet have gained popular English-language pronunciations, but they are often wrong. And they are usually based on the classic Greek letter names, not the modern ones.

The Greeks have always pronounced psi “psee”, like “tipsy” without the “ti”.

Pi is most definitely not pronounced “pie”, but should be pronounced like “pea”.

Iota is not “eye oh tuh” but “yo tah”.

And so on.

Tonch said on Dec. 4, 2011

Yeah, I’ve been saying it “P-S-I”, although “sci” sounds a lot better when paired with the attack names. I’m also assuming they were all changed to PSI so it’d be easier to “understand” in the localization, although I never had a problem differentiating the two (maybe because I knew what “PK” stood for). To me it made sense to have attacks like Fire be labeled with psychokinesis, and attacks like Magnet have “PSI” before it (since you’re absorbing PSI, you can’t absorb psychokinesis).

RandomGuardian said on Dec. 4, 2011

I won’t vote because I use both πŸ˜›
“Ness used p s i rockin”
“Ness has powerfull sci powers”
I still can’t find rhyme or reason to my grammar.

Miles of SmashWiki said on Dec. 4, 2011

I always thought that for consistency, since you basically have to say PK by saying letters, one should say PSI letter-by-letter too for consistency.

EBrent is also correct about how Ξ¨ is pronounced in Greek, which makes pronouncing it “sigh” seem doubly wrong to me.

JRokujuushi said on Dec. 4, 2011

That’s the Greek letter, though, not the word.

any purportedly psychic phenomenon, as psychokinesis, telepathy, clairvoyance, or the like.
Compare pseudoscience, parapsychology.

1940–45; shortening of psychic or parapsychic

Since it’s derived from “psychic” instead of the Greek letter, pronouncing it like “sigh” makes sense.

Shion said on Dec. 4, 2011

I believe the reason the localizers for EarthBound actually did a little research on how psi works in its names and effects. PK (psychokinesis) actually doesn’t encompass all forms of psychic power, but simply the movement (-kinesis) of energy. Psi DOES encompass all forms of psychic power, so it includes such things as intensifying energy (needed for things like Psi Thunder) or changing it (for things like Psi Rockin’). Hope this helps!

SuperBlooper057 said on Dec. 4, 2011

P-S-I: pounds (per) square inch
“Sie”: psionics

RadicOmega said on Dec. 4, 2011

In EarthBound, I always called it P-S-I, but when I played it in Japanese, I then always called it PK. It makes more sence, considering the way they use there powers.

PK Pepsi said on Dec. 4, 2011

Is there ever a point in Mother 2 where a specific technique is spelled out “PSI” instead of “PK”?

Mato vaguely mentions “some,” but I was wondering if we could see a specific screenshot of this in action. Right now, all I see are PK-only for Mother 2 and PSI-only for EarthBound.

platinatina said on Dec. 4, 2011

Off the top of my head, PSI Magnet says “γ‚΅γ‚€γƒžγ‚°γƒγƒƒγƒˆγ€€(sai magunetto). Same goes for PSI-Block, “ァむブロック (sai burokku)”.

PSI Shield doesn’t count, I think, it’s “ァむコシールド (saiko shiirudo)”. Watch out, guys, that shield is a total psycho.

Also I am a weirdo and I pronounce PSI as “sai” and never pronounce the letters individually!

Ice Sage said on Dec. 4, 2011

PSI is supposed to be pronounced “sigh” because you’re shortening the word “psionic” (Greek pronunciation of the letter Psi notwithstanding). Just be aware that if you prefer saying “P-S-I Freeze,” you’re literally saying “Pounds per Square Inch Freeze,” which is why saying each letter out is incorrect.

“PK” is more appropriate than “PSI” for the attack techniques because psychokinesis manipulates energy to the extent where you actually move it towards something (used here to attack). Every PK attack (Fire, Freeze, Beam, Rockin’/Love, etc.) is described as a blast of each element or energy wave hitting the opponent and damaging it. “PK Rockin'” – not “PSI Rockin'” – would be correct because it’s “a wave of deadly psychic energy” that hits its target.

(So Shion: While PK does refer specifically to energy movement, it’s exactly what each PK move is doing, and thus is more accurate than the general term “PSI.” PK Thunder and PK Rockin’ actually involve directing electrical/raw energy towards an opponent, not simply charging it)

Techniques that use “PSI,” on the other hand, refer to the more passive techniques learned. Of the few that actually use PSI as a prefix, it seems to refer primarily to the fact that it has to do with PSI than to actually stand for “Psionic”; in other words, you could replace “PSI” with the word “Psychic” and it would mean the same thing.

PSI Magnet, for instance, is named because it literally sucks up psychic energy. PSI Block prevents psychic techniques from being used. M2’s PSI Shield specifically blocks psychic attacks (M1’s PSI Shield seems to actually mean “Psionic Shield,” however, since it blocks all attack types by using psionic energy. This can obviously get very technical).

TL;DR: The techniques that use PK as their prefix in MOTHER 2 should have remained so for EB, because they’re psychokinetic, not merely psionic. “PSI” techniques (pronounced “sigh”) are more passive.

Retrostarman87 said on Dec. 4, 2011

I always have called it P-S-I, mostly because since all the letters are capitalized. You normally don’t say capitialized letters as words because they stand for something. We don’t call the CIA “Siya”, or FBI “Febye”.

Actually, before this artical, I thought PSI actually stood for something (psychic related), but I guess I’m wrong. (Pounds (per) square inch, as SuperBlooper057 commented, doesn’t count πŸ˜‰ )

Schlupi said on Dec. 4, 2011

Hmmmm. Interesting. I have always said PSI as “sigh” because even as a kid I knew PSI was something else. =P

Although I prefer PK it just sounds cooler. Unless you’re talking about PSI Rockin’… which for some reason sounds cooler to me.

Retrostarman87 said on Dec. 4, 2011

Oh, I also want to put an emphesis on we don’t usually say acronyms as words. There are quite a few exeptions, such as “iHop”.

But, (at least in my experiences) we usually say acronyms letter by letter, which also usually applies to text words (“LOL” being an exception, which some say “L-O-L”, others litterally say “Lol”). I can think of several more acronyms where you say them letter by letter over litterally saying it as it is.

G.Wicks said on Dec. 4, 2011

What Ice Sage said.

tintinophile691 said on Dec. 4, 2011

Thank Giygas!

I’m doing a song parody right now. One of the lyrics is “If there’s PSI, I’m in a jam.”

If I’d pronounced it ‘sci’, I’d have to rewrite that part of the song!

RadicOmega said on Dec. 4, 2011

@Ice Sage, Your discription makes a lot of sence, and you bring in detailed on how PK is more preferable then PSI. I think you may be correct, I agree!

Halloween said on Dec. 4, 2011

This was interesting, I always wondered why they were changed.

Also, I didn’t think it was a debate. It’s the first pronunciation.

I mean, I’ve heard people mispronounce it, but it sounds so awkward.

V3Kicker said on Dec. 4, 2011

I’ve always said “sai,” can’t think of anybody else I know who pronounces it by letters.

PK, PSI, I don’t really care anyway.

Erikku8 said on Dec. 4, 2011

Wow. Most people who voted pronounce it wrong. Since I’ve played Smash Bros. and the Japanese versions of the games, I’ve become partial to PK over PSI. I’m guessing the localization team thought using both PK and PSI might confuse players.

neonix said on Dec. 4, 2011

I guess it’s odd. I used to pronounce PSI like “sci” but then I somehow grew into saying “P-S-I.” Maybe because it sounds better/cooler, I’m not sure.

I think maybe the localizers thought the same – that PSI looked and sounded cooler than PK, at least to the target age group they were marketing EarthBound to.

Anonymous said on Dec. 4, 2011

I noticed in the Earthbound vs. Mother 2 page linked too, that PSI and PK are referred to as suffixes. That’s wrong, they come before the word so they should be prefixes. That’s getting pretty nitpicky though. I’ve always called it P-S-I because in smash bros. they say P-K. I dunno it just seems to give the precedent that the prefixes are spelled out.

JoyfulSanity said on Dec. 4, 2011

While I never thought of this issue too much until reading this article, I suspect that the localization team opted to label everything “PSI” because most kids would assume it just means “Psychic.” When it boils down to it, I doubt most kids would know what either PK or PSI would have actually stood for, so they just opted for the one that would be less intimidating to understand. Even if people (mis)read PSI as Psychic, they’d at least figure that the skills are the result of the kids doing crazy things with their minds. πŸ™‚

Again, just a guess, but that’s the only real reason I can think of.

FlyingManCourage said on Dec. 4, 2011

Psionics are a Psychic ability, so it definitely applies.

kenisu said on Dec. 4, 2011


Well, it looks like I’m certainly in the minority here… again πŸ˜›

Ice Sage said on Dec. 5, 2011

Retrostarman87: PSI is not an acronym. It is a shortening of the word “psionic” using its first three letters, thus you don’t say out each letter. It’s not really necessary to write it in capital letters either – it just differentiates it from the Greek letter more clearly if you do.

CIA is an acronym because each letter stands for an individual word. The letters in PSI when it refers to psionics, however, do not stand for anything, and thus is not pronounced as an acronym would be.

As has been stated before, if you say out each letter in PSI, you’re making it the following acronym: “pounds per square inch.” And yes, this matters – blame the History minor in me, but you can’t just ignore proper language constructions because something incorrect sounds “better.”

OctobotFire said on Dec. 5, 2011

Well, I’m not going to check if somebody are posted it but it gets really confusing once Super smash bros. comes out. This is because he pronounces it as PK instead of PSI. Also just throwing it out there, but I never knew that it could also be pronounced as “sci” either. So when I said to my self the two examples (PSI magnet and PSI shield) I decided that I would call them “sci shield and sci magnet” while calling the others PSI (I.e PSI fire etc)

Erik said on Dec. 5, 2011

I remember when I played Earthbound, I was wondering why Super Smash Bros used PK since I thought it was the “wrong” one.

sci said on Dec. 5, 2011

my name is sci and what’s going on in here.

I’ve actually alternated between all three (the third being pronouncing “PSI” as “pea kay”), arbitrarily.

I’m kinda surprised that P-S-I is so common.

blanonymous said on Dec. 5, 2011

@ice sage
“you can’t just ignore proper language constructions because something incorrect sounds β€œbetter.”

tell that to everyone who refuses to properly use the words “irony” and “sarcasm”

as for me, i’ve known for years i’ve been pronouncing it incorrectly (letter by letter) but i’ve been playing this game almost annually since i was five years old and old habits die hard

is there anybody that straight up pronounces it as the word psionic? because the gravitas of something like “psionic magnet” sounds leagues more enthralling than either of the common alternatives imo

Raverush said on Dec. 5, 2011

Wow I had no clue people even said “P.S.I.”, and I don’t really understand. Seeing as how it’s an abbreviation, not an acroynm. The letters PSI don’t stand for something, it’s short of psionics, so why not pronounce it as if it’s short of psionics?

FlyingManCourage said on Dec. 5, 2011

It is not that hard to understand. It is three capital letters. In the English language, three capital letters are commonly enunciated by their letters. MIA, CEO, and EDU are perfect examples of this. Sure, MIA and CEO are acronyms, but EDU isn’t. It is not that ridiculous.

And on blanonymous’ point. Video games become a part of peoples’ lives over many hours of many years. Saying one way is “correct” because of language, preference, etc is incorrect. The games/words earn value and become substantial to each individual. It doesn’t really matter what the game-makers intended or what the laws of language dictate. What matters is the love and entertainment you got from the game. For instance, I know full well that the Final Fantasy bird is a “Chalk-Ah-bo” (sorry for my “incorrect” enunciation guide). Does that mean I will ever call it anything other than a “Choke-Oh-Bo?” Of course, not. It doesn’t really matter what is “correct”. What matters it the countless hours of entertainment and memories that I developed around a “Choke-Oh-Bo.”

blanonymous said on Dec. 5, 2011

well said, i personally think it’s absolutely fascinating that we as gamers can develop such a dichotomized lexicon dictated almost entirely by nostalgia at times and continue to be able to understand each other in full

FlyingManCourage said on Dec. 5, 2011


I say, “Chuh-kobo.”

The “correct” enunciation is “Choko-bo”…or something like that. πŸ™‚ I’m terrible with enunciation keys.

Agreed Blanonymous. Applies with characters as well. Interesting how everyone comes to love characters the same even if they change their names.

blanonymous said on Dec. 5, 2011

where’s anthadd when you need him……..

The Great Morgil said on Dec. 5, 2011

It always bugs me whenever i hear someone say the individual letters “P-S-I”. It just sounds to me like they’re talking about air pressure or something.

Although in the end, i actually prefer PK over PSI anyway. Hey, how come that’s not part of the poll?

RadicOmega said on Dec. 5, 2011

@The Great Morgil, The power that Ness and Lucas has is called PSI. In all of the games it (In Japanese too) The power is called PSI, and PK, is how they use offensive sttack. The poll is who you prefer the name of the attack power in EB.

RadicOmega said on Dec. 5, 2011

@Ice Sage, What about the word cat. you probobly now think of the animal, CAT, now you think of that one test. There are multipul meanings to each word that can be but into a different ciphertext by adding capitilazation. And also what I said above, about how PSI is the power of the attack. And PSI can also stand for; Phycic sources of Intelegence. Could be a possibilty, but PSI IS short for psionics, you could capitilize a word to make it short.

MarioFan3 said on Dec. 5, 2011

I’m actually quite surprised the amount of people saying the letters P-S-I. I can understand why though (being in all caps) I’ve just naturally pronounce it ‘sci’ like in science. I prefer it to be PK Fire rather than PSI fire anyway, PK just sounds cooler… then again, I only know the MOTHER series thanks to Super Smash Bros. because most of the world didn’t get a single game.

At the end of the day, how the Japanese pronounce it, and the way it was intended to be pronounced, is the right way. Because they pronounce it ‘sci’ like science, and attacks are PK not PSI, it’l always be PK for attacks, and ‘sci’ for the others. Chocobo’s are another thing, I know I used to say it like “Chock-a-bow’ and then “Choke-oh-bow’ and now I just don’t say it at all because at the end of the day I just dunno how it’s meant to be said…

OctobotFire said on Dec. 5, 2011

It’s kind of like tomato (toe-may-toe) and tomato (toe-mah-toe). People say it differently.

jon said on Dec. 5, 2011

i read the manga psyren and in it they had psi powers,
but it was different than in EB and the were saying “Psionic” and that stuff, so maybeit’s pronounced like sci.

BOX said on Dec. 5, 2011

@Ice Sage

“[B]ut you can’t just ignore proper language constructions because something incorrect sounds ‘better.'”

That is *precisely* the reason to ignore proper language constructions. The purpose of language is to communicate, not to be correct. If the idea is properly communicated by saying “P-S-I,” so be it. Anyone who actually says “P-S-I Rockin'” only refers to a unit of pressure rockin’ is simply being a jerk.

So, yes. Screw “correctness.” It doesn’t really exist.

RadicOmega said on Dec. 5, 2011

@BOX, No, that isn’t the case at all, I am in complete disagreement with Ice Sage, but right now, He’s making more sence. And what is with all of this Pounds per square inch. I know that is what PSI is, but it honestly is something whole different. And I kind of have to agrre with OctoBot.

At a unrelated side note, Mato, how do your prefer your name to be? TOE-MAY-TOE, or TOE-MAH-TOE?

'Star said on Dec. 5, 2011

As for Eb zero, the localizers must have not cared about “confusing players with PK and PSI as they kept them both. (probably really due to the fact EB0 was probably more rushed and more literal than EB)

RadicOmega said on Dec. 5, 2011

For what I’m saying, the test IOWA and the state Iowa are two totally different things, the multipul meanings of a word can be put into different ciphertext,and meanings just by replacing the capitilation, the ciphertext cane have a whole new meaning.

Retrostarman87 said on Dec. 5, 2011

@Ice Sage

I THOUGHT before this artical it was an an acronym. Thus, that is why I original pronounced PSI “P-S-I”. That is some interesting info, of course. Either way, however, I’m still pronouncing it “P-S-I” πŸ˜€

Stevesesy said on Dec. 6, 2011


Unrealated but I found a copy of the Spaceworld 2000 Nintnedo Info disc thing.

Raverush said on Dec. 6, 2011

The names of abilities in an RPG isn’t something we must communicate to most people out loud in real life on a daily basis. It’s really not relevant to an individual what most people know it as, the matter here is basically how you think of it being said in your head. And in that case, if you know it’s incorrect, why stick with it? You just like it that way, that’s basically all there is to it.

And the matter of capitalization is especially irrelevant in RPGs, where there is commonly capitalized words all over the place for no reason than to give them significance.

JRokujuushi said on Dec. 6, 2011

“Oh, I also want to put an emphesis on we don’t usually say acronyms as words.”

WRONG. The very definition of an acronym is that you create a new word from the first letter (or first few letters) of other words. For example, scuba (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) or laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation).

When you say the letters rather than create a word, it is an initialism. Acronyms count as initialisms, but unless they create a new word initialisms are not acronyms.

Carl said on Dec. 6, 2011

I don’t think the distinction between “PSI” and “PK” in Mother 2 is arbitrary. “PSI” refers to psychic abilities overall (hence using that name on the menu), and the techniques that have “PSI” in their name are ones that block or absorb those abilities. It makes sense to refer to something that blocks PSI as a “PSI Shield.”

blanonymous said on Dec. 6, 2011

to put it in other words, PSI (psionics) is a catchall term for all manifested psychic abilities while offensive abilities that can be distinctly classified as psychokinesis are their own subset of PSI with the more specific label of PK applied. on the other hand only skills directly interacting in some way with other forms of PSI, such as blocking (PSI Shield) or absorbing (PSI Magnet) are prefixed with “PSI,” while skills that may manifest due to psychic ability but do not directly interact with other forms of PSI do not have such a prefix (Lifeup, Teleport, Hypnosis, etc.).


Carl said on Dec. 6, 2011

Yeah, that’s how I’ve always seen it, at least.

Ice Sage said on Dec. 6, 2011

^Agreeing with the last three posts.

I didn’t realize I was going to anger people, but I’m going to try to explain my claim(s) in another uninteniontally huge post. I’m not forcing anyone how to think about EarthBound or any work of fiction; this is just my position.

I would normally agree with those who say that there is no truly “correct” way to pronounce something in a work of fiction (unless the creator tells the audience what the correct pronunciation is). However, PSI – both the term and the concept – is not something Itoi made up. It is a shortening of a word that already existed beforehand and already has an “established pronunciation”: .

Note that, as I said, it does not have to be capitalized. I’m guessing that it was capitalized in MOTHER 2 because 1) they had already abbreviated PK (which IS a half-acronym/half-shortening of “psychokinetic”), which is usually in all caps by convention, and writing out “psi” next to “PK” looks weird; and 2) they only had capital English letters programmed into the game.

I assume the localization team didn’t bother changing the capitalization – it looks better anyway – and eventually just renamed the PK techniques with the “PSI” prefix.

Again, yes – this is a work of fiction – but PSI was an already existing term, and thus is (MOST LIKELY) meant to be pronounced the way the rest of the world has done so for as long as it’s existed since the early 1940s. Itoi’s use of PSI clearly refers to the same idea present in pop-culture, just specified into individual techniques for gameplay purposes.

While RPGs do tend to capitalize important things, the MOTHER series has never done this, so that’s not the reason why PSI is capitalized.

Also: The point of language is to communicate, but you cannot communicate properly if you do not do so correctly. I can’t just make something up if I like it better. For example, if I wanted to pronounce the word house “ho-us,” would that be an acceptable pronunciation? No one would know what I was talking about. Granted, the above example is a bit more extreme than the pronunciation of PSI, but my point still stands – language evolves towards clearer communication by creating standards and rules. That’s just how it works. We wouldn’t have dictionaries or language classes if we didn’t have to learn about them.

RadicOmega said on Dec. 6, 2011

@Ice Sage, Alright you win. You are correct. Although I P-S-I is incorrect and it is supposed to be sci as in science, I’m still calling it P-S-I, it’s what I prefer.

RadicOmega said on Dec. 6, 2011

@Ice Sage, However, I disagree with you saying that PK is pronounced pek. It is P-K. You cant question it, it was used in the game anyway.

PK Pizza said on Dec. 6, 2011

PK just sounds better ya know…?

Ice Sage said on Dec. 6, 2011

Where in my post does it say “PK” is pronounced that way?

Like I said, it’s essentially an half-acronym of psychokinetic (I say half because it’s using the letters of the word’s two primary syllables, while acronyms usually use separate words). It wouldn’t make any sense to say it the way you claimed I did.

joeymartin64 said on Dec. 6, 2011

I’ve always pronounced each letter, because the guy who turned me on to EarthBound did, and it just became habit.

What I’m wondering is what the general catch-all term is in the Japanese games. Y’know, the way the English games sometimes say things like “such and such studied PSI.”

RadicOmega said on Dec. 6, 2011

@Ice Sage, Oh… Whoops! PErhaps I should’ve double read it. But I’m in complete agreement with you in the PSI debate.

Johnwalt said on Dec. 6, 2011

Wow i failed badly…. I though PSI stood for psychic special intelect…. Dont ask e.e

Andre said on Dec. 6, 2011

God…People are idiots. It always made me cringe to hear people say “P-S-I Rockin'” in Let’s Plays, but to see the majority of American players really ARE moroms? Rubs me the wrong way pretty roughly. Whatever thoo, it is what it isss.

Andre said on Dec. 6, 2011


BOX said on Dec. 6, 2011

@Ice Sage

“The point of language is to communicate, but you cannot communicate properly if you do not do so correctly. I can’t just make something up if I like it better.”

My point was simply that if you say “P-S-I Rockin’,” no one in their right mind should be confused about what you are saying. Correctness in language grammatical constructions is important only to the extent that it is necessary for communication.
Anything further is just pedantry. Your example with “ho-us” is not of the same nature — if you say that, you’ll just get confused looks.

Shion said on Dec. 7, 2011

Ice Sage: impressed.jpg

You could be a skilled psion.

Bread said on Dec. 7, 2011

Psychokinesis is cool!

(That is why I bought Mind Flex, It is cool.)

Carl said on Dec. 7, 2011

If PSI is supposed to be pronounced like “sigh,” then why is it in all-caps?

RadicOmega said on Dec. 7, 2011

@Carl, because the engine has PK in caps, because you are supposed to say P-K, that’s why that is in caps. It isn’t that easy to replace the engine, nore hack the engine. So to save trouble, they keep it in CAPs.

blanonymous said on Dec. 7, 2011

sorry but that is completely erroneous

even a simple savestate editor that does nothing but replace hex values could show you that the PK/PSI prefixes aren’t set in stone at all

in fact, since one of the things this tool does is allow you to change your favorite thing (i.e. directly change the name of the attack that shows up in your PSI menu) why don’t you try it out for yourself

RadicOmega said on Dec. 7, 2011

@blanonymous, it mudt have taken some time then. You can’t just enter a few codes and hack into the engine. It takes a lot more work then you think! It’s why the MOTHER 2 side to the translation was hard! Mato couldn’t replace the engine of MOTHER 2 with EB, because they are two tottaly different engine. The simplist thing to do is load the info on the engine somewhere and then desgine a whole new engine. PK abs PSI are apart of the engine. Font can’t be replaced just like that! The reson why the MOTHER side to them MOTHER +2 translation turned out fine, is because they can use the lower case and upper case font to use. You can’t fish off random matierial and dump it into a ROM!

blanonymous said on Dec. 7, 2011

if you say so kid

i’m not exactly sure you understand what a game engine does though

RadicOmega said on Dec. 7, 2011

@blanonymous, It functions the game properly, controls font and text flow, cutscenes, sprites, codes, music and when it plays. When you create a game, you keep the engine and make it to function the way you want it. You can’t add extra font, sprites etc. EB and M2’s engine is genetically similar, but the localizers still had to make some complicated edits to the engine to replace the Japanese font with English font. They had to make a big edit to the engine.

Carl said on Dec. 7, 2011

Actually, I think Radic might be on to something…does the Japanese version of the game even have a lower-case English font? Or is all of the English upper-cased? If the latter, it may well be that keeping PSI in upper-case was just an arbitrary choice by the translators, as opposed to a meaningful one by the game’s original designers.

Bread said on Dec. 7, 2011

In the picture, PK is capitalized in the Japanese Ver. Carl.

Mato said on Dec. 7, 2011

For reference, the Japanese games don’t have lowercase letters in their main fonts. That’s why the M2 part of my M1+2 patch is in ugly all-caps.

RadicOmega said on Dec. 7, 2011

@Carl, MOTHER 2’s engine didn’t have lower case English letters! See blynonymous, that’s why Mato’s amazing MOTHER 2 translation is all in upper case; He couldn’t use lower casw, it means replacing and or editing the engine. That’s why PSI is upper cased, the engine is all ready programed for it to be upper cased. The 1995 localizers just decided not to do it; Replacing, editing, and fixing the engine is tough work.

Bread said on Dec. 7, 2011

Thanks Mato

RadicOmega said on Dec. 7, 2011

Hey what bout me? πŸ˜€

Carl said on Dec. 8, 2011

But Radic, the English version of Earthbound DOES have a lower-case font! It would have been trivial for the translators to write “Psi” instead of “PSI,” if that’s what they’d wanted to do. We can speculate about why they stuck with the upper-case version, but it certainly wasn’t for technical reasons, or because of an inability to do otherwise.

RadicOmega said on Dec. 8, 2011

@Carl, not exactly, if you read what I had above; The PK was meant to be captilized becasue in that you are saying P-K. It was programed into the engine to keep that font capitilized. They didn’t think the loclizers would change it to PSI. The localizers did not feel like going threw the hardships of editing the engine. I can imagine they’d have to actually replace the engine. It is easier to just add in an extra letter or edit the letters then to change the font or capitilization of the font. Getting lower case letters ont EB, probably took 3 months; Hacking the engine is hard work!

RadicOmega said on Dec. 8, 2011

Sorry for double posting, but that’s why it is capitilized, it should be Psi, as in sci.

Inigo Montoya said on Dec. 8, 2011

You keep using those words. I do not think they mean what you think they mean.

RadicOmega said on Dec. 8, 2011

@Ingo Montoya, What part, If you have recently been hacking, it has been on a ROM then!

Carl said on Dec. 8, 2011

I think you’re a little confused, Radic. The translators already did the hard work of “editing the engine.” They added a lower-case font to the game, and changed the font from a fixed-width one to a variable-width one. You’re right that these aren’t trivial changes, but they’re not as difficult when you have the game’s actual source code, as Nintendo’s translators did. It’s a much more difficult when you’re hacking a compiled ROM, as Tomato did in his translation of Mother 3.

Anyway, the point is, they did the work. The English version of Earthbound has a lower-case font; displaying text using it would have been a trivial thing to do, if they’d wanted to.

FlyingManCour said on Dec. 8, 2011

Yes. RadicOmega you are clearly mistaken.

While there may or may not have been a specific reason for the capitalization of PSI, I 100% assure you it wasn’t because they couldn’t replace the characters.

Mato, in Mother 3 there is a moment of dialogue where somebody says “PSI”. Was there any reason you chose to to use PSI in this instance instead of PK, and was there any specific reason (other than because it was this way in EB) that you left it all capitalized?

R7038xx said on Dec. 8, 2011

We’re talking about the English pronunciation, not Greek or Japanese.

RadicOmega said on Dec. 8, 2011

@EBrent that is not what we are talking about at all

RadicOmega said on Dec. 8, 2011

@Carl, Cause Japanese wasn’t “imprinted” Itcould be edited. The font of PSI is different.

@Carl said on Dec. 8, 2011

God, can’t you understand the hardships of Engines! Radix however is overexagerating the harships, but he is correct. The capitalized font on the PSI start menu, has been implanted and is permanent in the engine! The only way to change that font is to replace the engine

RadicOmega said on Dec. 8, 2011

@Flying Man Courage, Well, I’ll give you a clear example of how the font change and blocking or revising the engines sourse code of text flow can effect the engine completely. In the Japanese game “Touhou MOTHER” you can name the characters, faviorte thing etc. Well it was only in Japanese. They were able to add English font to the game, but it was the start screen that is the big one. The engine already had Japanese font, S (yes that’s his name) translated the start screen completely, but it didn’t stick in with the Japanese font. He couldn’t even get rid of it or replace it. He then Hacked into the engine succesfuly, and changed the font. But then his engine still couldn’t replace Japanese with English. He couldn’t even get into his own engine, he then figured out he had to get an intirely new engine in order to support English font. He didn’t want to, so what he did is have each screen automatically set to the “Don’t care” Option. That still took a crap load of work! But it was much easier. Now Carl, the problem with PSI, is the CAP font was saved onto the menue and battle screen. Nintendo probably wanted to take the easy way, by just edititing the letters PSI! Now with Tomato and MOTHER 3, I don’t know. HE probobly just didn’t want to change it.

Nintendo relized the problem wasnt even a big deal, and they probably just didn’t feel like getting dirty in ROMs and editing, for something that didn’t need to be done!

Brick Road said on Dec. 8, 2011

I just gotta say, I have to agree with RadicOmega. The engine font and engine alone is complicated. EB’s was especially complicated. Especially when it comes to the maps. Ya know the engine didn’t coaperate, and was hard to assemble so much, it almost got cancelled due to map problems.

The font with PSI, was definitely hooked with the same problem. If the original MOTHER 2 had a basic English font system, they would’ve called it psi. Or Psi. It should be pronounced sci, as in science.

However there are ROM gadgets that help get into the engine, RadicOmega, you may be over exaggerating a little bit. But these gadget are hard to assemble any ways, and the engine is just less hard, but is still hard! But with these gadgets, they could’ve just replaced. But like you said, they didn’t want to go threw
The trouble that didn’t matter! But I doubt they even had these tools! So you kind of CAN be on to something.

RadicOmega said on Dec. 8, 2011

Also, you can’t just punch in the code(s) and be onto the engine already. When the engine is set up, it is set up! Think of it as a person, you can’t change the childs characteristics that easily! It takes constint persuation! And you can’t change the childs looks! And when the child is older, it makes it’s own decisions. The engine also has security, which is no easy task either! And @Brick Road, I suppose your right, the gadgets are made to make the code majuoal (WHA!!! How do you spell that?) and the engine explainable. But it isn’t exactly the answer or solution to your problem. It just makes it easier!

Carl said on Dec. 9, 2011

Radic, there’s nothing “different” about “the font of PSI.” It’s ordinary English text, just like all the other text in the game. The translators already “edited the Engine” to the extent that was needed to translate the game from English to Japanese! After they edited literally every line of dialogue in the game, what do you think is special about this particular three-letter word that they couldn’t have changed it?

Also, you seem confused about the difference between translating a game professionally, and hacking a game as a fan. When a company like Nintendo translates a game from one language to another, they have access to the game’s original assets and source code. When a fan like Tomato hacks an existing commercial game or creates a fan translation, he has to work with compiled code, which is much more complicated. Just because editing an existing, compiled ROM of a game is difficult (as it certainly is in the case of Earthbound), doesn’t mean that the same difficulties exist for the official translators, who work for the company who created the game and have access to its source code.

Bread said on Dec. 9, 2011

100th comment!!!

I stick to PSI Saying the letters

Carl said on Dec. 9, 2011

Here, just to show how easy it is, I hacked the Earthbound ROM to replace “PSI” in the menus with “Psi.”

Hacked ROM:

Zinco said on Dec. 9, 2011

RadicOmega… how can you know so much and so little at the same time

Mato said on Dec. 9, 2011

Honestly, for a long time I’ve thought that he’s been a troll or a spoof account.

Carl said on Dec. 9, 2011

I just realized it’s probably not cool to post ROM images here, so I replaced the SMC file above with an IPS patch:

Carl said on Dec. 9, 2011

Troll or not, it was strangely exhilarating to flex my ROM hacking muscles again, even if it was for so trivial a change. It’s been a long time since I’ve kept up with the ROM hacking community in any meaningful way, and I’d forgotten how much fun it can be to dig into the guts of a game like that.

FlyingManCour said on Dec. 9, 2011

In RadicOmega’s defense, I think there is somewhat of a language barrier. He/she is clearly intelligent, but slightly confused/mistaken. He/she also thought that the drop rate for Sword of Kings was 1/32. I think it was honest mistake.

However, we can all rest assured that if there WAS a specific reason they left these letters capitalized, it WASN’T because they couldn’t change the characters.

Ice Sage said on Dec. 9, 2011

Well, Carl beat me to it. Point being that if we (unprofessionals) can change the font, it’s a guarantee that the original localization team certainly could do whatever they wanted with it.

Again, I’m wondering if the reason for capitalizing PSI was a largely aesthetic one. “PK” is capitalized already – usually case agreement is nicer to look at – and “PSI Shield” looks better than “Psi Shield,” at least in my opinion. It also helps the word stand out in dialogue (and no, this does not mean it’s capitalized specifically to show importance as other RPGs tend to do).

It may have been decided on a whim, it may have some huge reason behind it – we don’t know. But I’m pretty sure that it wasn’t technical constraints, and certainly not on the part of the localization team (issue of capital letters only in the original Japanese notwithstanding).

RadicOmega said on Dec. 9, 2011

@Mato, Look, how many times have I appoligiesed to you! Do I have to do it again! I’m deeply sorry. I’m sorry I’ve been really irritating you, I don’t want to be that pesky fly that always lands in your food! I’m just stating what I know! Why I think the PSI is capitilized! Do you forgive me! I’m sorry! I’m glad you translated MOTHER 3, and MOTHER 1+2… and everything!

RadicOmega said on Dec. 9, 2011

@Carl, I don’t know if there is a difference in ROM or engines, but I’m just gonna drop it. Your right! Although there has to be SOME thing with the language barrier. And FMC, thank you for at least defending me, I guess i’m mistaken on this one πŸ™

FlyingManCour said on Dec. 9, 2011

@Ice Sage. I am undecided on what I think looks better, PSI Shield or Psi Shield. I can tell you that as I type this, I actually thought “P-S-I Shield” for the former and “sci Shield” for the latter. Personally, I do feel that the “Psi” version communicates the “need” to enunciate the three letters as a word more strongly than “PSI”.

Brick Road said on Dec. 9, 2011

Mato:I wouldnt think he’s a troll. More of an overly excited young immature kid (No offense) But maybe he does bring up some good points, he seems pretty smart to me, but possibly mistaken. I read a comment of him saying he was in middle school. Eh, either way if he’s a troll, or is a person, he maybe just was expressing his thoughts, I read some of his comments searching threw this site, hmm has a grudge against FF. Just ignore them, they can be a unstabelized fan base sometimes. And Zinco, he may so much because he may do his research, and is a smart person. He had details to his opinion at least. I’d rather have a full research paper on the study of Unicorns that is fully detailed and has evidence and proof, then a research paper on World War Two that has no research done and has no back up proof or anything.

Carl said on Dec. 9, 2011

Brick Road, your unicorn/WW2 comparison is an interesting one. What’s frustrating about Radic’s posts here isn’t that he’s mistaken–that’s completely understandable; it’s not like anyone here was born knowing everything there is to know about video game programming or ROM hacking. What’s frustrating is the confidence with which he made those incorrect assertions, even in the face on contradictory evidence. It’s a perfect example of the Dunning-Kruger effect ( in action–the less someone understands about a subject, the less able he is to recognize his ignorance.

Brick Road said on Dec. 9, 2011

I’ve read some of his comments, I’m new here, I explored threw this site, what I mean, is he IS indeed incorrect, but didn’t he have back up, explained himeself, had proof, and im sure he was wrong. He wasn’t stupid at all! You guys are just making a mountain out of al mole hill! Anyways, I’m in high school, and I made a connection with him; he is a corset person (Is hard core in his arguments) and simply is social. He is a smart!

Carl said on Dec. 9, 2011

I didn’t say Radic was stupid, nor do I think he is. In fact, I explicitly said that his mistakes were “completely understandable.” I don’t believe I was making a “mountain” out of the issue; I was just trying to clear up some incorrect information.

Brick Road said on Dec. 9, 2011

@Carl, oh sorry, I miss understood the word “ignorance”, but, I pretty sure Mato is Tomato (Hey I’m new to EB) but anyways, was that really worth calling him a troll. He did apologize!

Brick Road said on Dec. 9, 2011

@Carl, and I mean some of the other people, like Zinco, and also did you basically thank RadicOmega, for starting that thing πŸ˜‰

RadicOmega said on Dec. 9, 2011

@Brick Road, Thank You for backing me. And yes, I am in middle school, and have some development to do in maturity. Simply, you can put yourself in me! Thank You! Clearing a reputation on a site is much harder than I though, especially considering there is a strict don’t state your opinion policy.

Brick Road said on Dec. 9, 2011

No worries. Yeah and I don’t understand what was the big deal. It was more of a on topic conversation. Then certain people got involved, and apparently your a troll now! Just don’t worry about it, I don’t see how you can be a troll!

TomServo said on Dec. 10, 2011

Honestly, I think it might be kinda easy to mistake Radic as a troll due to his grammar…or is that just me? Also, I’m one of the 404 (and counting) who say the letters when saying PSI!

Brick Road said on Dec. 10, 2011

Well, just out of me… people only consider using proper grammar in face to face communication. And trolls normally just advertise there product, or just stay to get mad at someone or just swear all of the time. I read over some of his arguments, they weren’t Troll worthy, meaning it was for a reson. Speaking your opinion is totally okay. (Not to be rude or offensive which I may sound as) What Mato and Zinco did was completely unexceptiable, and was totally un American.

Mato said on Dec. 10, 2011

FWIW, I sometimes wonder if he’s a spoof account because of the ridiculous back-and-forth arguments I’ve seen coming from the same IP over the past half year (for instance, this suddenly new Brick Road fellow types just like RadicOmega, and conveniently shares the exact same IP address as him). That and his tendency to derail topics on a regular basis. And his uncanny ability to attract actual trolls. Many times since he’s joined I’ve had to lock topics or moderate entire batches of comments because he’s baited on so easily by trolls.

I actually haven’t been paying much attention to this thread (so many replies 😯 ) so I’m not sure what the fuss is about this time.

At any rate, as long as he stays on topic and doesn’t keep derailing things, he’s allowed to post here. I do agree he’s most likely just an excitable middle-schooler and not a genuine troll.

*now back to your regularly scheduled poll*

Carl said on Dec. 10, 2011

I actually had the same suspicion about Brick Road, and nearly said so yesterday, but I thought better of it, deciding to give him the benefit of a doubt. But the identical IP addresses is quite incriminating.

FlyingManCourage said on Dec. 10, 2011

Mato shoots! He scores! Yeah seriously, though, the only overreacting is from Brick Road.

Back on topic, can we all agree that “Psi Shield” is more indicative of “sci shield” than “PSI Shield”. Again, as I type this I can’t help but think “P-S-I Shield” for the capitalized version. I still dont know which version I think looks better.

RadicOmega said on Dec. 10, 2011

Mato: I don’t care what you think of me. I really don’t. I’m just not going to worry about weather or not you think I am a troll. Think all you want I don’t care. And I don’t even know who this Brick Road is, or why he’s defending me. And my argument was on topic, had proof, and you had no right to accuse me for it. It was on topic. There is totally nothing wrong with what I said, and you should know; everyone has there opinions! When was there a policy on opinions! It was why I thought PSI was capitalized! Its what makes this country free: Freedom of speech. And insult or think of me all you want, it won’t hurt me. And perhaps I should re visit this site, maybe with a new name so you can forget about me. And we don’t have to fight about this. And why is that such a bad thing, tell me! So do what you want with me, right in article on me; I’m not gonna worry about what you think of me.

RadicOmega said on Dec. 10, 2011

Also, I didn’t want to be the most hated person on this site. Maybe In three years, when I matured a little more, ill change my site name,is that good with you Mato?

Poe said on Dec. 10, 2011

If you truly don’t care, then stop bringing it up and only post on-topic from now on. Can you promise to do that?

RadicOmega said on Dec. 10, 2011

I promise

Zinco said on Dec. 10, 2011

Well, *I* think he’s hilarious. (After all, my unexceptiable, un American comment somehow got me mentioned three times.) But I could see getting tired of it if you’ve been seeing exchanges like this for half a year.

ANYWAY, I always said P-S-I because I thought it was an acronym, and it feels weird to stop now even though I now know it isn’t. Kind of the same reason I still want to call Zangief “Zangeef.”

RadicOmega said on Dec. 11, 2011

Um, I haven’t even been on this site in three weeks, I am completely WTF right now, with all of these comments that are me! I don’t even know who Carl is or Brick Road! Anyways I’ll keep that promise anyways.

Back on topic, I always called it P-S-I, and when I started learning Greek I always pronounced that letter P-S-I.

Bread said on Dec. 11, 2011

“Psyduck” Psy in Psyduck = Psi

fshrman said on Dec. 11, 2011

Personally, I think PK would refer to the actual moves (PK Fire, Freeze, etc.) while “PSI” refers to the psychic abilities in general.

Mr.Fobby said on Dec. 15, 2011

i knew some this before

AltoMaximus said on Dec. 16, 2011

If you think that the stated user RadicOmega is a troll;
Completely ignore the user when acting ignorant.
Your criticism, is what trolls want.
When he’s completely ignored, the user will be gone before you know.
Do not respond to him, it’ll make him come back, and be ignorant, If he is what is a troll.
Well then, I always pronounced it Psi as in science.

Gooptek said on Dec. 16, 2011

@AltoMaximus: He isn’t a troll. It was his prankster brother who did the bad stuff! You have to believe me, RadicOmega told me in person. And I believe in him. He was always very supporting to me, because he helped me in a past post, so that’s why I believe in him. Not wanting to look rude, OK? I just don’t want to people think that he is what he isn’t. Also, I don’t know if he minds if I posted this here… But I don’t want anybody to hate it! That’s why I’m trying to help it!

Now, to the topic: I’ve always pronunciated the letters P-S-I. But previuosly I only knew PK.

Anonymous said on Dec. 16, 2011

Radic’s also on starmen, and doesn’t appear to be a troll by his posts, so I’m saying the obvious: RadicOmega isn’t a troll. Now let’s drop the subject and move on with our lives.

Another someone said on Dec. 20, 2011

About Ice Sage’s elaborate comment… Uh, where’s that lightning/fire/whatever (for PK or PSI Rockin) coming from? Isn’t it being charged by psychic (can I say psionic?) means? Or am I wrong, in the sense that Paula actually directs lightning from a thunderstorm at the enemy? Or ram atoms abound her into each other with so much energy that they start a combustion reaction (what’s the fuel here again?) to set enemies on fire?

I personally always saw (please forgive my rudeness here) PK as being… Wrong. Please tell me the origin of the energy that is psychokinetically (Is that a word?) directed at an enemy, and I will be content.

RadicOmega said on Dec. 20, 2011

@Another someone, Beat me to it! O-O. But for PK Rockin, it is a wave of energy, directed from the mind. I did the research this time. (beat that Moupi Moupi) But your question still stumped me. Psychokinetically, is mind over matter. The elements, Paula is directing energy from other sources with PK Thunder, with PK Fire, she is summoning heat from her body, making a plasmatic wave of energy: PK Fire. With PK Love, PK Beam, PK Rockin etc, they are using waves of energy from there mind. It takes serious concentration.

FlyingManCourage said on Dec. 21, 2011

It might be interesting to note that they refer to “PK energy” in Ghostbusters all the time. For those that didn’t know, the Ghostbusters lore is actually deeply-rooted in scientific theory, so the ideas and principles check out. They use the term “PK energy” quite a lot.

Another someone said on Dec. 22, 2011

I see. So it’s something tearing electrons from the neutral atoms around her to send them flying at the enemy in the form of electricity? I don’t get how her body heat causes combustion without a fuel though…
But on a counter-argument, I suppose PK Fire never really showed FIRE. The designs are more reminiscent of a heat wave (PokΓ©mon R/S/E). Maybe for PK Freeze she stops the molecules around her foe moving so that they lose heat energy, getting colder? As for PK Rockin, PK Love and PK Beam (is that in EB? ‘Cuz I haven’t seen it yet…), I… can’t quite catch it. The energy WAS in their mind, and then got shot out, psychokinetically? Have I got it?
PS(I): Your grammar is kinda confusing. Can you keep it simpler?

Another someone said on Dec. 22, 2011

Oh, yeah. FlyingManCourage… Once again, I really don’t want to sound rude… But whatever they refer to as PK energy in Ghostbusters (who?) may not be what is concerned here… Then again it might. Care to fill me in on any details about Ghostbusters and the instances of PK energy referred to in… it. Is it a show? I’m not a very TV person.
If anyone cares to know I used to pronounce it P-S-I… But I’ve been enlightened and converted. Or so I think. To the ignorant part of my mind, P-S-I Rainbow (my name for PK Rockin) still sounds cooler, though…

RadicOmega said on Dec. 22, 2011

Actually, FMC could be on to something. But as I said at another answer to your question,PK Freeze, she is using complete concentration. It may be a whole route of science, or it could be a route of phycic. In the links Mato was given (And in the reserch I did) I came to a point where I can say either one matters. Psionics is Phycic energy, if it was science, you’d be correct, in whole matter of relationship of atoms and controlling them. Either way, it would still be Phycic power. And you bring another good point with the fire, I always thought that they summoned it from their bodies, but it would make a little more sence if it had to do more with science. But either way, they are using phycic powers: Psi.

Some random Dude said on Jan. 1, 2012

Why would they chnage it? Maybe because of the Lawsuit of Pokemon and Kadabra? Porky lented the time machine to the devolpers then they saw the lawsuit the decided to change to PSI because Kadabra use PK! This is how i felt before reading it πŸ˜€
After -_-

Some random Dude said on Jan. 1, 2012

Its pretty stupid but hey! Its just a theory to the question somtimes Psienictists (Pun :D)make a theory they know is FAKE and TRY to use it to help find the anwser :/

AltoMaximus said on Jan. 1, 2012

Some random Dude:
I can’t think of any legal or ilegal refrences to PK.
Besides the term PK energy, which shouldn’t be a big problem.
But Ness and Lucas care willingly say “PK” in Brawl.
Knowing Nintendo, they would’ve changed it in the localization of Brawl.
But that then leads to Onett still haveing “Drug Store” Instead of “Shop”.
Could be though.

Anonymous said on Mar. 13, 2012

I say sci

Chivi-chivik said on Mar. 5, 2013

I never cared about its correct pronounciation. I think we shouldn’t care that much.

I’m sure I’ll keep pronouncing it as P-S-I.
Even when talking in Spanish.


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