Games that are good for Japanese Practice?

Hi, so I’ve been studying for a while now, but I feel like I should put more practice into it outside of simply studying. Would anyone have any games to recommend that would be good to play? I have Yokai Watch, but I noticed that even at my current level, there are still kanji that I don’t understand (that or the font is messing me up…)

Thanks!

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I enjoyed playing Alicemare and LiEat a lot a while ago, and in my opinion the Japanese is in that sweet spot for a first native experience. The only problem is it’s that kind of low resolution font common in this type of game, so it could take some time to get used to and it could be tiring to go on for long play sessions.

The games are also pretty good, though I think LiEat is the better one.

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Nintendo games are really good. If you have a switch you can easily “switch” the main language to Japanese. Things like Mario Maker and Zelda have furigana, and especially Mario Maker , which is 任天堂らしいすごい, have some straight forward Japanese, ie not trying to be too cute. I also check out ,not video game related, the NHK news website every day. If you don’t know there is easy https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/easy/ but also normal, https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/?utm_int=all_header_menu_news and what I love is they speak in plain, straight forward 標準語 because they want to be understood by everyone. The 社説s can have some curve balls but over all, very clean.

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Didn’t know when swapping the language on the switch, also swaps it on some games. Good to know, I’ll give that a look. Thanks!

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I asked a similar question in the forums recently cause I went to Japan and got some games while I was there and was wondering if there were any suggestions on SNES or other games that had simple vocab etc to start with. While I still don’t have an answer I’ll share what I do know:

PS4 and Switch are not region locked for digital games so you can create a Japanese PSN or Nintendo account using any old address (I used the address for an onsen I visited) and log in on your console and buy Japanese games. I would say this is worth doing even if you’re not ready to commit money to it cause there are fun Japan exclusive themes etc in the Japanese store. Physical copies of games will work too, but you’ll need the Japan account for any corresponding DLC you might want.

Classic games can be more challenging in that stuff from the SNES era and earlier tends to not have kanji which can make it very difficult to read, but that said I’m only level 5 and I was able to play some of the beginning of Mario RPG on the Japanese Famicom Classic I picked up without getting lost. Games that you are already familiar with like that can be a good idea because if you get lost in the words your memory of the game might help you to piece it together from context.

Lastly there seem to be some YouTube channels that do Let’s Plays of Japanese games to explain language nuances. They seem to be a bit above my level so far, but it’s another option.

Best of luck and if you find any games that work for you lemme know!

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Pokemon!

Also I second games you’re already familiar with.

I think the right answer is going to be different for everyone, though. It’s more about what keeps you going than what is, say, easiest.

That said, I prefer games with a large text to gameplay ratio, and 逆転裁判 was one of my first. It isn’t easy, but it’s engaging.

If you’re an RPG person, I recommend specifically Final Fantasy 9. It has WAY more dialogue than previous entries in the series, but at the same time doesn’t subject you to hour long cutscenes like latter entries in the series, so you always feel like you get to take a break and stretch your legs.

Visual novels work too. There’s plenty around, and also pretty old ones that are easily available. And when you don’t feel like playing them yourself… I just finished watching 2BRO(兄者弟者) playthrough of Twilight Syndrome (not for everyone, the game is objectively kind of boring but has a charm) and am now halfway through their playthrough of かまいたちの夜. :+1:
Those are both edit playstation games. I find horror keeps me engaged more than other things do re: visual novels.

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Yeah, that’s what I kind of figured myself, if I really want to practice, I should probably focus more on an rpg of some sort. I always thought about Ace Attorney, but I never knew if the structure was more advanced or not, so I didn’t bother. I got FE: fates a few years ago, but then found out that’s far more advanced than I imagined it’d be.

I’ll try replaying through the rpgs I currently have right now, and see where it gets me. Maybe get 逆転裁判, and compare it with its Ace Attorney counterpart. When it comes to VNs, I’ll probably wait a bit and try it when I feel a bit more confident. Thanks for the advice so far.

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Ace Attorney games. :slight_smile:

With the Steam versions, you can switch between English and Japanese. Not at the press of a button at any time, but I personally think that’s better. Keeps you from relying too much on switching to English the moment you’re doubting your understanding.

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I actually made a JP account for my switch the day I got it, after finding out they got rid of the lock. I’m just afraid of buying anything on there currently, as the last purchase I made defaulted to the EN version for some reason

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I already own a few versions of it except the steam version xD. I’ll have to check them to see if they have that feature, otherwise I’ll have to consider it.

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The Yakuza series, one because it’s seriously fun, and two because there’s a lot of dialogue (both written and spoken), there’s loads of cultural references too. It’s so much fun beating people up and shouting along with Kiryu… but if violence is not your thing, maybe not.

The English localisations are in Japanese but I can’t remember if you can toggle Japanese text on or not. But the Japanese versions are pretty easy to get, I think.

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You can’t. It sucks. Even in the new Judgement, you can’t.
I had to import.

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Anyone know if the Japanese in Final Fantasy 14 is complicated? Or if you can even swap the text to it for that matter?

Oof, that’s good to know. I haven’t tried it on Switch yet, only PS4 and I have yet to commit to buying a game, just some themes so far.

FFXIV I’ve played a bunch in French which is my second language and if the Japanese version is anything like the French version I would say it’s probably not for beginners. The French version has really nice literary dialogue and narrations and was really good practice for me but I would also mention that the names of the locations/items/spells all vary by language. So even if you’re comfortable with the vocab and grammar keep in mind that if your friends are playing in English and propose a certain dungeon or ask about a particular item you might find yourself Googling a lot. Same thing with Pokémon–the names are all puns that are particular to the language you’re playing in.

I just started playing the Sims 4 in Japanese. I’m quite happy about it. There’s actually a lot of reading to do, using every day vocabulary. If you already know the game, you can skip a lot,: understanding everything is not mandatory, which is good, because let’s face it, it’s way above my actual level ( makes me wish I could raise my skill as fast as my Sim does ).
I’d recommand it to someone who is into this kind of games. Not worth it otherwise. Although you can get the Sims 3 quite cheap on sale, too.

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I have a list of 26 free ios Japanese applications available outside of Japan that I wrote up a couple months or so ago that’s loosely sorted by difficulty:


It includes a short section on reading and radio apps along with a long section on games loosely divided by genre. (Visual Novels, Escape Games, and Other)
It also has a potentially opinionated bit about how to use them to their fullest potential.

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You can also do that with the 3ds trilogy.
Also for Steam, in Umineko no naku koro ni (“Umineko: When They Cry”) you can switch between Japanese and English text whenever you want, even if you start the game in English. It might be good to keep in mind for later on in your studies since it’s sort of like a duel language book without translator’s notes.

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The touhou games perhaps?

Was your system language set to English, by any chance? The language it runs in is set to the system language first if it’s available, then the game’s main language if it isn’t. You can check the language options on the eShop listing.

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Any game that you’re motivated enough to deal with in Japanese. You may or may not have to constantly whip out a dictionary or look up a grammar point, but if you’re super motivated and into unraveling the story behind the Japanese, then so what. I personally think that’s a good way to approach it.

Edit: I personally play Senran Kagura. I started with the remake of the original: “Burst ReNewal”. While the characters are speaking there is a textbox of the dialogue at the bottom of the screen. And it wont go to the next dialogue until you press a button, so you can stick around and decipher it at your leisure. Being both a story driven(yes, story) and an action game, you will get a good balance to allow you to both rest and be productive.

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