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January 6th, 2012 | EarthBound, MOTHER 3, Polls

The MOTHER 3 fan translation’s been out a long time now, but every once in a while I think about how it could’ve been improved or handled better. One of those things is the decision to go with “Porky” instead of “Pokey”. At first I was worried it’d take a while for fans to get used to – was it that way for you?

For reference, here’s what I put in the readme about his name:

Pokey, a character from EarthBound, makes an appearance in this game. However, the translators for EarthBound were unsure of how to romanize his name and wound up naming him incorrectly. It’s clear from this game that Itoi intended his name to be spelled “Porky” all along. This left me with a problem: which name do I use? I mulled it over for maybe 8 months or so, and decided to go with how the creator intended it, rather than go with what was a mistake. Additionally, Nintendo of America also seems to take this stance, as he’s now referred to as Porky in Super Smash Bros. Brawl in many places. The name “Porky” also fits in with the big “pig” theme of this game. Leaving it as “Porky” also meant we didn’t have to go through the trouble of hacking a large number of compressed graphics.

I considered trying to add in a little line somewhere saying that maybe Pokey changed his name to Porky at some point, but that didn’t seem quite right. I decided I’d just cover the issue briefly in the translation notes. I hope this helps explain some of this issue. It’s one of those things where whatever choice you make, someone won’t be happy. It’s funny though, because between EarthBound Zero and EarthBound, the antagonist’s name changed from Giegue to Giygas, despite being the same character with the same spelling in Japanese. And now something similar has happened again.

So what do you think? Would you have preferred Pokey or Porky? Were you for one or the other at first but since changed your mind? As a translator, I’m curious to know since it’s so rare to be able to get any feedback at all.

Also, for fun, I’ve added a little poll to this post 😀

POLL: Which name do you like better?

View Results

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62 Comments to Pokey or Porky?

FlyingManCourage said on Jan. 6, 2012

First comment!

I absolutely think you did the right thing Mato. In the end, I think most fans would want to play the game as close to the way Itoi intended it as possible, give or take a few personal feelings about stories/characters.

I hope the community remains understanding, however. Some of us have grown up with this game since and known him as Pokey since 1995, some of those feelings and appreciations are too deeply-seeded to change now.

I find that whenever I’m talking about EarthBound, I refer to him as Pokey, and I’m afraid that will never change. When talking/playing Mother 3, I say Porky.

I think this was a fantastic idea for an article and I really hope to see more “behind-the-scenes of the fan translation” posts like this in the future. Really interesting to me (a reason I asked about the PK/PSI topic).

I commend you taking the the time mull this over and really DECIDE which name to use (as oppose to “choosing”). I think you make the right decision.

FlyingManCourage said on Jan. 6, 2012

Sorry for double comment but I didn’t notice the poll. I voted Pokey. There are just too many affections and feelings towards that name that I grew up with for too many years.

Satsy said on Jan. 6, 2012

I use them interchangeably. If it’s something to do with EB I’ll call him Pokey. If it’s something to do with M3, I’ll call him Porky. But then I find myself doing the same with Giegue/Giygas.

Espyo said on Jan. 6, 2012

I’d rather use Porky all the time. Without a doubt, it’s obviously the meant word, because it is clearly regarding the “pork” theme, surely.

Elobo said on Jan. 6, 2012

A Porky by any other name would behave just as foul.

Magicxgame said on Jan. 6, 2012

I think you did the right thing, Mato. This seems similar to the whole “Aeris vs. Aerith’ issue.

Onion said on Jan. 6, 2012

I usually either call him Porky or ‘that fat little donut boy’

FlyingManCourage said on Jan. 6, 2012

Good point about Aeris/Aerith.

luke said on Jan. 6, 2012

In my headcanon, Pokey was his little kid name and Porkey is his big kid name.

Zinco said on Jan. 6, 2012

Well, I’ve always been a little put off that he now has the same name as Porky Pig, although I suppose having the name of Gumby’s horse friend isn’t vastly better.

Carl said on Jan. 6, 2012

I think you made the right choice by sticking with the name given to him by the game’s creator.

pk_stan said on Jan. 6, 2012

I’m glad you went with Porky, it makes so much more sense.

Poe said on Jan. 6, 2012

I accept that his true name is Porky, but I still call him Pokey anyway since that’s how I first knew him. It’s like an old nickname that refuses to go away 😉

Mogambo said on Jan. 6, 2012

I’m honestly surprised people are preferring “Porky” over “Pokey.” Porky just sounds too ‘fakey’, if that makes sense – not like a real person’s name. All I can think of is Porky Pig when I hear it. Pokey doesn’t have that stigma attached to it (aside from Gumby) and actually sort of sounds like a name a real person would be called.

To me this is much more like Robotnik/Eggman than Aeris/th. Maybe I’m just blinded by nostalgia, but I like the name Robotnik loads more than Eggman, which just sounds too Japanese-y and lame. With Aeris and Aerith, both of those names are pretty much nonsense so it doesn’t really matter.

Pepper said on Jan. 6, 2012

I call him Porky. It just feels right I suppose, with the reoccurring pig themes and such as you said. It was also his intended name so I prefer to use it. I’ve actually seen more people use Porky over Pokey. (I’ll admit that when playing Earthbound I’ll go back and forth a bit though.) 😉

This really does fit the Robotnik/Eggman thing now that I think about it. I remember first playing Sonic Adventure and both my brother and I were like “… Eggman? What?” but I still ended up calling him Eggman often while playing that game. Overall he’s Robotnik, but it comes up in the game script so often in the script I’d lapse into saying Eggman.

Halloween said on Jan. 6, 2012

Naw man I like my translations original and true to the source. His name is Porky, that is the truth.

Sure if I’m talkin’/playin’ strictly Earthbound then we can call him Pokey but we all know his name is Porky.

Carl said on Jan. 6, 2012

I guess for me it comes down to the respect and admiration I have for Shigesato Itoi, his vision, and the world he created. I don’t have any particular attachment to a corporation’s marketing/translation department. I’m grateful that they helped bring the game to the U.S. in a form that I could enjoy, but it’s Itoi’s vision that I’m really interested in.

Leeaux said on Jan. 6, 2012

Much like a lot of other people, I call him both Porky and Pokey. But I’ve found Porky starting to take over lately. Nowadays its usually only when referencing Earthbound that I call him Pokey.

For what its worth, I would have made the same decision you did.

Minifig2401 said on Jan. 6, 2012

good call, some of us(like me) found out of earthbound because of brawl, and they call porky, porky. it makes much more sense to new fans, as thats all they know of mother.

Onett Resident said on Jan. 6, 2012

I call him both names but I prefer Porky since I have heard pork is a bad thing in Japan and Porky or Pokey is truely evil.

Poe said on Jan. 6, 2012

Most Japanese people have nothing against pork, Onett Resident 😉

Erikku8 said on Jan. 6, 2012

Porky is Porky and Giygas is Giygas, regardless of what game I’m referring to.

Darien said on Jan. 6, 2012

I personally prefer the name “Pokey” for the character — and, as many have said, I always think of him as Pokey due to long exposure to Earthbound — but I think translating it as “Porky” was the right decision, since the pig theme is quite prominent in Mother 3 and the connection is completely lost if the villain’s name is Pokey.

AltoMaximus said on Jan. 6, 2012

For years I have refered him to Porky for it only made sence.
It’s not that hard, and I have respect for the original work, i was a little mad they called him Pokey in EarthBound.

Fobbies & Saturns said on Jan. 6, 2012

I call him “Pokey” when referring to him in EarthBound, and “Porky” when referring to him in Mother 3 and Brawl.

ben said on Jan. 6, 2012

I agree with everything Darien said

DylanYoshi said on Jan. 6, 2012

I actually have a pretty odd way of referring to him. While I refer to the character as Porky, I refer to his robots as Pokey-bots. I’m not sure why I do this.

Yosh said on Jan. 6, 2012

I’m European, so I discovered the Mother serie through Smash Bros games, where he’s refered as “Porky”. And when I play Earthbound, I play the hacked uncensorised version where his name is changed back to “Porky”.

Neko Knight said on Jan. 6, 2012

Definitely Porky. Even NOA agreed with you!

Lessten said on Jan. 6, 2012

Pork Army forever!

PsiReaper said on Jan. 6, 2012

In my opinion, I always thought about the Pokey/Porky issue myself. I mean like the person said, I too thought Pokey would change his name to Porky, I mean I can think of a theory (which I can’t think of one at the moment ^^;) when he would change his name. But oh well, Pokey suits him well up to the point he’s with Montoli, and there he should be called Porky. That just my opinion of course.

Chewy said on Jan. 6, 2012

Earthbound had absolutely fantastic localization that suited the humor of English-speaking audiences. Not only was the name Porky not as good a counterpart to his brother’s name Picky, it’s so… obvious. If you really, truly want a true-to-the-original translation of Earthbound, your Soul Consuming Flames are still going to be Hotly-Burning Enemys, your Worthless Protoplasms are still going to be What Do I Matter Anyways, and your Ego Orbs are still going to be Very Certain Stones. I’m going to keep calling King King instead of Chibi, and I’m going to keep calling Pokey Pokey.

Itoi got a lot of input and advice while making the game–he didn’t and doesn’t make any attempt to reign all the power over his works, so I’m positive he’d appreciate the changes in the English version.

The only regret I have is that Giegue/Giygas’s name and appearance are both inconsistent, so they appear to be different characters.

liarx said on Jan. 6, 2012

agreeing with chewy here, and not just for my health. earthbound has a localization, it’s fantastic—better than the original—and in it, the character’s name is pokey. I think it was a mistake to divide the fandom by altering it, and I feel the same way about more recent efforts to call earthbound “mother 2” or the towns in mother by their japanese names.

in general I think games should be localized, and not translated, so I’m not a stickler for accuracy so much as for the feeling of the original and the entertainment I have in the moment of playing it in english.

RandomGuardian said on Jan. 6, 2012

Porky all the way

MaxOfS2D said on Jan. 6, 2012

Pokey sounds more like a genuine name than Porky does, if you ask me

DJMankiewicz said on Jan. 6, 2012

Porky grows on me, though Pokey does sound more like a name for some reason… To me, “Pokey Minch” sounds exactly like the name of an incredibly annoying asocial next door kid.

That said, Porky is great as an insulting nickname.

It’s a tough call to make really. Maybe he’d be called “Porky” by his “friends” but refer to himself as Pokey, but unfortunately that doesn’t jive too well with the existing text.

Thing is, Porky is, or was upon a time, a common nickname for people that many actually just went by normally. (And then there’s Porky Pig or that guy from the Porkey’s movie.) This is a case where I think the Japanese understanding of the English language gets in the way. Looking it up, Pokey isn’t a real name either. I can only imagine that familiarity plus the fact that I hadn’t heard the word “Pokey” before just made it sound more namelike over time. The game is full of people with fake sounding names though, so the fact that “Porky” sounds off shouldn’t get to me I think.

Hmm, in the long run Porky is probably better. It’s just a matter of familiarity. It took a while to get used to calling Princess Toadstool “Peach”, though the adaptation was a little easier because I’ve always considered her last name Toadstool and her first name Peach.

spacecat! said on Jan. 7, 2012

I would’ve said Pokey, except the pig theme works better with Porky. I can’t win.

FlyingManCourage said on Jan. 7, 2012

Awesome post Chewy! That’s really interesting because I don’t know any of the enemy names from Mother 2.

Great points about localization vs. translation. I like the nickname theory of “Porky” being more of a well-known nickname. It is common in American culture for certain nicknames to trump real names in reference and conversation. In fact, many athletes assume their nickname as their first name and practically abandon their birth name. For the sake of explanation, I don’t think it is too far-fetched to think that Pokey is his given birth-name, but Porky is his more-fitting, more-used nickname that developed in popularity over time due to his increasing resemblance to a pig.

Now, let’s start getting crazy.

So I theorize that if Pokey, indeed, EARN the moniker “Porky”, then it is safe to assume there would have been some slight resentment there. I don’t know many fat kids that enjoy being likened to a pig. As the nickname became more and more popular, it a chip on his shoulder. When he decided to create an “army”, he decided (in a stroke of wonderfully stereotypical evil -reasoning) to embrace the name and use it to induce fear. Making an entire army based on the very subject which was used to belittle Pokey for years would be a
“haha what do you have to say, now?” type logic that I think fits Pokey perfectly….or Sir Pork as intend to call him from now on.

I’m also curious, don’t his parents call him Pokey at some point during the events in EarthBound. I think at least his dad if you speak to him at the Montoli building while Pokey holds an office there. This would really play well into the real name/nickname theory. Most parents don’t call their children by their nicknames. I have a heavily-used nickname, and the only time I EVER hear my real name is when my parents address me.

Sorry for too much typing. I get over-excited sometimes.

Lothis said on Jan. 7, 2012

First off, I prefer things as accurate as possible, so I appreciate you going with Porky and that’s why I clamor for you to translate MOTHER 2 on the MOTHER 1 + 2 so we can have consistency across all 3 games. In addition to that, Pokey makes me think of the cacti enemies from Mario.

Porky fits better not only because of puns like New Pork City and the Pork Army, but the pun between having 2 siblings, one fat named Porky, indicating he over eats, and one skinny named Picky, indicating he is a picky eater works with Porky and not with Pokey. I never made that connection until I saw his name as Porky in Brawl.

FlyingManCourage said on Jan. 7, 2012

I’ve never really gotten the impression that Picky was skinny. I certainly got the impression that he was not evil like Pokey, but they both struck me as overweight kids…..Pokey is just older so I assumed that’s why he’s bigger/fatter.

Mato said on Jan. 7, 2012

Whoa, I’m actually surprised how many people have adopted “Porky” – I thought it’d be a lot less. Usually I notice that name changes in stuff tend to cause a good amount of backlash, I guess this is a nice exception.

As for me, I still call him Pokey all the time. I even call them Pokey-bots 😛 It seems like only when I’m writing for something more formal do I call him Porky.

Sir Ilpalazzo said on Jan. 7, 2012

I did grow up with Pokey, but I have to say that I didn’t really have any problem switching over to Porky.

Reading some of the stuff in the Mother 2 to Earthbound section (about how rough the script the localization team had to work with was) makes me think that Pokey was just the result of a mistranslation anyway, and not a conscious effort to make his name fit with Picky better.

Mach Pizza Delivery said on Jan. 8, 2012

I definitely prefer Pokey, but I think Porky makes more sense since:

A. The creator intended it to be that way
B. Goes with the “pig” theme of the game

neonix said on Jan. 8, 2012

Porky was surely the right decision for the purpose of the fan translation.

BOX said on Jan. 8, 2012

I agree that Porky was a better choice for Mother 3, and that’s what I refer to him as in that game. That said, I usually refer to the character in Earthbound as Pokey. (The choice to name him Pokey really doesn’t make any sense to me though.)

Lessten said on Jan. 8, 2012

I just assumed that he was pokey, and became porky for the pig army in Mother 3

NewSupaLuigiBros said on Jan. 8, 2012

I should say he is PORKY! I wish his name was ‘Porky’ correctly in original Earthbound.

Endraxial said on Jan. 8, 2012

I just beat Mother 3 yesterday for the first time, and I beat EarthBound a few months back for the first time. I have to say I prefer his name being Pokey, but had it not changed, the “pig” theme would make less sense.

Ultimately, he’s still Pokey to me. Porky could easily have been an alias he picked up from bullies or something and just rolled with it. Well, that’s my reasoning…

Pokey Means Business.

TonyJ said on Jan. 8, 2012

I could NEVER call Pokey, “Porky”. Mother 3 is simply not in the realm of Earth and doesn’t carry that touch of modernism that EarthBound had. I love how close to home EarthBound was and Pokey will always be Pokey

Dialga Thunderstar said on Jan. 10, 2012

I agree with TonyJ. Pokey is Pokey to me, no matter what anyone says. I do think they had a mistranslation, it’s just that since I first heard of Earthbound by seeing that Chuggaaconroy did a letsplay of it, and then seeing that whole letsplay, Porky will be switched to Pokey in my mind.

DGC said on Jan. 12, 2012

‘Porky’ all the way! Thanks =)

Steve said on Jan. 14, 2012

Guys i have been it Chuggaaconroy’s Let’s Plays don’t get mad get Glad. I also prefer Porky. So don’t get all >:) its just a name. * Shakes head * mutters “Stupid fan-war..”

Mato said on Jan. 14, 2012

I don’t know what you’re talking about, there is no “fan war”. Everyone here is being very civil.

nerdbot said on Jan. 14, 2012

I totally prefer the name Pokey, because it emphasizes what he is: an annoying kid. It emphasizes his childishness.

But I definitely think calling him Porky in the translation patch was sensible and I don’t disagree with it. I would probably say that while I like the name Pokey better, there’s a better argument for calling him Porky (the Pigmasks, his…girth, Nintendo naming him such in Brawl, etc.).

TheMrSaturnGuy said on Jan. 18, 2012

The first time I found about Earthbound was after I found out about Mother 3 so I call him Porky.

Cam said on Jan. 28, 2012

ive always imagined pokey and porkey being two different people, since they both act slightly different in each game……. but thats just me.

Mr. A said on Jan. 28, 2012

As much of the people here; I call him Pokey when playing Earthbound, and Porky when playing Mother 3. I recognize that you did the best choice Mato as Porky sounds way more fitting to the whole Mother 3 story. Even though, whenever I talk about the Mother saga as a whole I prefer to call him Pokey, it is just me, and I don’t like people confusing him over the Warner Bros friendly pig.

Earth Saturn said on Mar. 4, 2012

Back when I first heard about EarthBound a few years ago, I called him Pokey. But a while back, I started calling him Porky because I found out that was his true name. And I’ve been calling him that ever since. So I voted Porky.

BigDream said on Mar. 15, 2012


Anonymous said on Aug. 24, 2012

pig mask
porky city

Scootaloo said on Nov. 8, 2012

I call him both. Sometimes I say Pokey, other times I say Porky.

Earthboundians Unite! said on Jan. 14, 2014

I see Pokey more of a nickname, just simply because if we ever got Mother 3 in the US, which I don’t think we will, the huge amount of pig references wouldn’t make sense with his name being Pokey.


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