How long did it take for you to be able to play video games with near 100% comprehension?

Admittedly, there are games for all ages, but I am mainly asking about being able to play ANY GAME in Japanese like you can in your native/English. Games like どうぶつの森 have a rather mild difficulty, whereas games like 仁王 have different tiers of vocabulary, combining old historical terms with made up words. So, if you are comfortable playing games like 仁王, I was wondering if you would kindly share how long it take for you to reach this level and your suggestions on how to improve “spontaneous recognition” skill.

I am fairly comfortable in almost all Japanese media, except video games. Turn based games or JRPG with controllable conversation pace, it is not much of an issue, but during combat or active gameplay, there are far too many words on screen which needs to be recognized immediately, otherwise it will introduce a different layer of challenge. This is especially true for 死にゲー like Dark Souls, Elden Ring, or Nioh.

It is very frustrating for me as I have absolutely no issues tackling most of the novels I want to read, and I considered it the most difficult part of a new language. However, games seem to be a different problem altogether. Admittedly, I have had similar issues with English (it not being my native tongue), but since there are lot of similarities with German (near identical alphabet), I was able to quickly get on the level where I can comfortably consume all English content, and frankly, games were never a challenge to begin with. In Japanese however, games seem to be the one obstacle I simply cannot overcome.


That reads more like “How long did it take you to reach near-native fluency?” :wink:

When it comes to games I can understand like 90+% as long as I actually get enough time to follow the text or dialogue. Otherwise much less.

If you’re asking for 100% I can name maybe 5 tops people here.


Thanks for your reply. I am on a similar boat. In VN or games with “Press X to continue” style conversation, it is of no issue. However, when I am not actively focusing on the language, I simply cannot read/comprehend most stuffs. And there are so many made up words in games, that it is impossible to Ankify the process.


I’m already terrible at playing fast-paced games in English, so they wouldn’t be my first choice in playing a foreign language game anyway, haha. I’ve challenged myself playing Pokémon but realized I was just skipping the dialogue and had things memorized. Story of Seasons and visual novels, low stakes games like that I still don’t have perfect comprehension but it’s the pace I can handle haha.

Depends on the game. Now most games aimed at elementary age I have 0 issues. But that took about 4 or 5 years to achieve and it’s rare I know 100%. Usually that’s a sign it’s too easy.

The games you seem to be interested in take a long time but those games aren’t really focused on the reading. Plus audio tends to still be in English, which is why I sold back my Japanese from software games.

I think it’s not useful to think about the comprehension in rates of 100. Not even natives might get a score that high! :joy:

In any case, as a small country, I’ve been prepared to learn multiple languages in my life from birth really, and I don’t think that mindset is bad - that’s the way to go to get the best proficiency you can possibly get in a second or third language really - starting early.