Does anybody see WK as a mobile video game?

So I play a game called Final Fantasy Möbius on the JP servers. It’s sort of the reason why I went back to WK despite several years of Japanese study. I’m an upper intermediate student, but going through WK reminded me very much of a mobile game.

So when you first start, it’s like you’re a level one noobie. You don’t have any weapons or utility, and your “stamina” system is pretty low. As such you’re forced to wait and do tutorials.

However, every couple of hours you can come back and grind some more. As you increase your levels (knowledge), the game opens up and suddenly you have a lot more to do.

Basically, I just found it entertaining how much similarity this system has to a mobile game. Heck if someone made WK into a mobile game I’d probably play it. Gotta slash up those Kanji.

Yes, we’ve talked much about how Wanikani has a certain gamified aspect to it. Though many of us try not to view it as that. Otherwise it can become more about leveling up and less about language learning.


It definitely has well-suited aspects. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of the concept or not, but there’s a technique/phenomenon called gamification that plays on the fact that humans like to see numbers go up. We associate it with progress. That’s why so many people will grind in videogames, haha. Gotta max out that level!

The PR/advertising industries like to cash in on this by giving out rewards points and promising free stuff you can buy with your points (woohoo, you just hit 100 points because you ate there 20 times, time to go get one small item free!) but it’s also a powerful force for habit building. There’s a place called Habitica where you can set yourself to-do lists ranging from “do the dishes” to “run a marathon” and set an amount of points you think is fair for the task. You can then use your points to buy armor and such in the RPGish portion of the game.

As the person above me said, not everyone wants to do that (for various reasons). If you’re the type that gets depressed/self-loathing if you miss a day for whatever reason, you might opt not to do that since it could make you feel worse. But it’s an option, and if checking off that “completed my Wanikani reviews” box makes you feel a sense of accomplishment and motivation, you may as well try it.

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I :heart: my LG Stylo!!

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As a mobile game player, I think it’s more the sense of progression that drives me to study. I like studying but not in the traditional methods. I need a method or way of thinking to keep me entertained. I guess a RPG grind and level up style works best for my brain!

I’ve given up on trying to be perfect with the mentality where I will punish myself in inconsistent days. I tried it and it just added extra pressure which was counterproductive.

I think my rewards centre in my brain is a lot stronger than the one with fear of punishment :slight_smile: so i take that into account when setting up studying systems


I’m still fighting the mentality of getting upset when I get things wrong. I have to tell myself that when I get it won’t it’s because I don’t know it good enough and that me having to review it more is a good thing.


Took me a while to ‘get’ this too. If I don’t know it I NEED to miss it so that I will see it more. Still, the sheer number of times I have missed the reading of 用いる is a bit off-putting.

In way I do, let I’m still more likely to load of Final Fantasy Brave Exvius than Wanikani. That’s why I have notifications turned on…having numbers on my phone screen telling me I haven’t done something annoys me to no end. (I don’t know how people live with hundreds of unchecked emails…just delete them if they are so non important).

BUT on the downside, because Wanikani is so easy to do and see progress, other areas like grammar get neglected. Actually getting out my textbook and working through stuff requires a lot more dedication than just popping open Wanikani when it buzzes my phone.

[…] As such you’re forced to wait and do tutorials.

However, every couple of hours you can come back and grind some more. […]

As an aside, the fact that this in itself is reminiscent of video games is a sad statement on the state of video games.

Give it up for games that teach you how to play by playing (like Megaman X)!

I think I see LIFE as a mobile video game :upside_down:


Not all video games are like this, just the mobile ones. They’re designed that way to get you hooked unfortunately and also ensure you don’t beat their content too fast.

As for Megaman … I’ll leave that to the awesome speed runners on AGDQ each year!

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Yep. I’m a gamer anyway, so anytime I can apply gamification in learning or fitness apps I’m intrigued. If the UI is done well, with no advertisements, actually helps me in some way, I’m sold. I love “leveling up”, getting new “gear” or credits to buy stuff, achievements… If there is a connected community, that’s icing on the cake!

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Not all video games are like this, just the mobile ones

This is not about game platforms, but about game design. Many recent games (not just mobile games; I’m looking at you, Arkham Asylum) put players through some severe hand-holding, instead of using the game itself to teach about game mechanics. Likewise, some mobile games do not do this (Threes is a good example of a perfect compromise).

Basically, if you see a game with a tutorial, that’s a clear sign that there’s room for improvement in the design an presentation of that game. (Not necessarily that it is a bad game, mind you).

As for Megaman … I’ll leave that to the awesome speed runners on AGDQ each year!

Huh? Please follow that link. The first level of Megaman X (for the SNES) is a master example of how you can use the game mechanics to teach players how to play. Speed running is a completely different thing, and indeed a game in itself, completely separate from the games that are being played.

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I try not to see it that way.

But reading through this thread and the mention of grammar, and how I’ve neglected grammar a bit (and am more likely to), I realized that maybe if something that taught grammar /were/ gamified that I’d get into it more easily.

I feel like it’d be much harder to create that, though, if you wanted it to be more than just basic grammar (which you can go through like that on Memrise - and I do, but it just doesn’t teach grammar well enough like that, imo). Something with lessons, reviews, example sentence quizzes, translation quizzes, levels, of course community, just something to make it look prettier and more fun than reading through a thick-as-heck grammar dictionary or textbook and taking notes. (Also I think it’d be more time efficient, general knowledge / understanding efficient, overall better.)

Interesting to think about the merits and demerits of gamification and various methods of learning.

It’s the Dark Souls of studying Japanese.

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I feel exactly the same way. I neglect grammar a lot, partly because I’m not entirely sure on how to study it properly (summarise it? re-read it? write a couple of sentences? and then?). A gamified grammar tool would be perfect, really…hah.


C’mon Wanikani, we Need this!

that’s basically going to be etoeto v2.


Fun game fact: the original concept behind WaniKani was: “The Dark Souls of kanji/vocab learning.”

We really toned the difficulty down from the original brainstorm…


Omg yes! Do you have an estimate date for the new version, btw, or do you prefer to keep this in the dark?