Japanese Games on the Nintendo Switch?

So as the title says, I am thinking of buying a Nintendo Switch. Not purely to learn Japanese, more to immerse myself and enjoy playing games while I am at it :smiling_face: :cherry_blossom:
But I am not sure if I could enjoy it enough, it might be too hard language wise depending on the game. Are there good games for the JLPT3 niveau? I heard of Animal Crossing being a good start, any thoughts? Any ideas beside that one?
Thanks :sunflower:

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If you like Pokemon, Legends: Arceus and Scarlet/Violet both have furigana and are pretty enjoyable. (I personally liked Legends more).

Otherwise, Rune Factory 5 hasn’t been too bad, but there is no furigana and a really wide variety of speech quirks, so it might not be the most learner-friendly in that way. I’ve not had too much probelm though. Just had to learn a lot of farming vocab. :stuck_out_tongue:

I also hear 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim is quite good. It’s voiced and has a really good log, and by virtue of the plot, you necessarily revisit scenes from other character POVs, so you reinforce things you came across. I haven’t played it yet though, personally.

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LoZ Breath of the Wild has furigana on everything in the dialog, so that might be a good option. It’s also not super story-heavy, so you won’t necessarily be slogging through things you don’t understand for long stretches. Other descriptions, labels, etc, often don’t have furigana, but if it’s menu stuff, that’s a bit easier to look up on the fly.

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Ohh I see! I played Pokemon: Arceus already so maybe I will check out the other ones then.

I see, no furigana are probably a real pain in the beginning, I also always choose Manga with furigana for that reason, but it could be a good learning experience if I want to try taking it to the next level.

Voiced Games would be sooo good thanks for pointing that out! I use Satori reader right now to learn reading while listening and it makes the whole experience way more enjoyable. Sometimes you know the word but not the kanji so if you hear it you don’t need to look it up :ok_hand:
I will give all of those some thought, thanks :muscle:

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Ohh I would love to play breath of the wild, just thought it might not be enjoyable if I have to look up stuff all the time :melting_face: maybe I could try the new one too, I am really looking forward to that one :cherry_blossom:

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Lot of good suggestions here, personally I would recommend tsukihime, mahoutsukai no yoru, octopath traveler, fata morgana, and danganronpa.

The science adventure series (chaos child, steins gate, etc) I havent touched yet, I do know they are hella popular though so those might be worth trying out as well.

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If you were to somehow get a Japanese copy of Doraemon story of seasons by (if it’s safe, I don’t know how this works) messing with your region settings before purchase (or getting a physical copy if it’s compatible?) I think that’d be a good relaxing game to get that’s a little like Animal Crossing. Then you’d really be locked into the language. It is for younger audiences but it’s super cute because, yeah Doraemon.
The English version unfortunately does not come with other languages even if you change your switch settings however the little stings of audio are still in Japanese. It’s on special in the online store at the moment.

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The zeldas are pretty good. Well Skyward Sword was pretty challenging, but that made Minish Cap and Link’s Awakening in contrast very cozy. The pokemons are also good choices. I did Brilliant Diamond, Arceus and Scarlet.

I would start with something you already know and then go from there.

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Of the many games I’ve tried, Final Fantasy V has been the easiest and most enjoyable to read in Japanese. For reference, I barely passed N3 lol.

The Pixel Remaster version was just recently released. The dialog is pretty straightforward and story is simple and light. The pacing is very good, so you’ll never have 20 minutes of solid text or anything like that. It has built-in options to remove enemy encounters, boost experience, and auto-battle to reduce grinding or to get to story parts faster. Conveniently, it has language options in the game itself so you don’t need to change your Switch system language ahead of time for Japanese. It’s also relatively cheap compared to other releases at 18 US dollars.

The other 5 games in the Pixel Remaster series have the same kinds of conveniences, too. They’re all briskly paced compared to modern RPGs. Just be warned, though, I thought the language in 6 was way harder, but Final Fantasy 1 - 5 is pretty perfect. Even easier than Dragon Quest games, I thought.

Good luck! The Switch is great for playing games in Japanese, since it has by bar the best multi-language support. The languages are always listed for each game on the Nintendo Store eShop, so you always know ahead of time.

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Link’s Awakening is fairly doable, aside from the fact that some of the characters use some kind of dialect or old pattern of speech or just very casual forms or sometimes word-plays… oh yeah, and the owl statue riddles which are completely in katakana.

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I think Dragon Quest XI doesn’t usually go too far above N3 level. The Japanese version has text with furigana (usually), but the resolution can sometimes make kanji hard to read on larger screens. There’s so much text that I consider it almost purely study… you can spend hours walking around towns talking to people, and when you advance the plot, NPCs usually get fresh dialogue so it never ends! There’s always a quest marker so you can’t get too lost, and it’s almost entirely self-paced. The US version only has a JPN voice track, though.

I think I need to pick up one of the FF pixel remasters though now! Maybe I can finally beat Cloud of Darkness in 3 after all these years :skull_and_crossbones:

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I got that shinchan game that has some vibe from boku no natsu yasumi for 5 cents ( a bug in the eshop lmao) but I havent tried it if there is japanese subtitles.

also, there is this video:

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I guess the real question is how much you want to immerse yourself. I would highly recommend any game that has voice acting in it and lets you replay the audio anytime, most JRPGs or story based games usually allow this. I put a significant importance on voice acting because it gives you listening immersion which most people lack since they are not living in Japan. It’s also a reason why I can’t recommend most first party Nintendo games like Zelda and Pokemon since there is no voice acting. In terms of difficulty, going off of the CERO rating system is a good way to determine that. Games that are A for everyone will most likely have furigana and simpler language than games that are rated for older ages.

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I am living in Japan right now, so I will totally check that out! And I don’t mind it being for younger people, at least that makes it a lot easier language wise, lol. So thnks!

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I have so many suggestions now I don’t even know where to start anymore. Immersion wise I think Voice acting would be very helpful, but I am not the biggest fan of Visual Novels, which I think are mostly the types to come with voice acting.
Above the immersion experience I also just really want to play a fun game, so I would opt for something that I know I would enjoy first like Pokemon, Zelda or Final Fantasy.
I might try some other ones too, depending what I can get my hands on since I will probably buy second hand. Depending on my experiences I might just update this or on my study log what works for me and how much I learn through those games :cherry_blossom: :sunflower:
If anyone has more suggestions I would still be excited to hear more!

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A bit different from some of the other suggestions, but I’ve really been enjoying Model Debut Nicola and プリティ・プリンセス マジカルコーディネート! Both are very slice of life and geared towards a younger audience, but I’m having fun with them! Most of the harder kanji have furigana above them which is a nice bonus. :smile:

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I have seen many people recommend tsukihime! What is it about??

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This kid named Shiki, who can see lines that represent the death of all objects, runs into a vampire in his city and shit hits the fan. It’s part of the nasuverse/typemoon world so its connected to fate and mahoyo and other stuff.
「月姫 -A piece of blue glass moon-」オープニングアニメーション - YouTube heres the op for the remake

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It sounds pretty interesting! I will definitely give it a go!

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I haven’t learned enough to be able to read a video games text yet, but I do enjoy visual novels and have been finding that the Japanese voiced has helped me a bit.