Learning Japanese through games?

I keep seeing posts referring to people wanting to learn Japanese to play games, or people using games to learn Japanese. I confess that I don’t really understand. First of all, I’m not really much of a gamer other than playing a few cellphone games, and playing Fallout 3 on my playstation 3.

So, what kind of games are we talking about here? Are they text based adventure games, or…? Any what kind of platform are they played on? Any good 四年生 level games for iPhone 6?

Thanks in advance for any clarification…

JRPG’s would be one of the big ones I want to play.

Final Fantasy series is probably the most famous in the USA.

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There are decades of thousands of games available in Japanese. This is like asking what people would want to read in Japanese. There’s more available every day than you could absorb in a lifetime.

many rpgs for the nintendo 3DS, particularly Zelda series, have furigana for the kanji since younger kids play those games as well. So try to pick games that are for younger audiences to help make it easier if you are just starting out.

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Ive been reccommended geting a Japanese 3DS and play Animal Crossing New Leaf in Japanese.
Apparently it`s such a good way to practice basic everyday casual conversation and volcabulary, enough to help you with N5 on the JLPT.

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Do you already have a 3ds from Japan? I believe they’re region-locked. Once I finish the Genki 1 textbook, I plan to buy myself a 3ds from Japan and a few games as a reward for myself :slight_smile:

To add, they’re not really “video games”, but Japan is well known for its visual novels. I find them pretty useful since they give you both context, audio and the dialogue, often along with casual/slang vocabulary which you don’t find in normal textbooks or whatnot.

Obviously, you already need a good grasp of the language to make good use of them, but still.

I just started a thread using Harvest Moon for this purpose. Honestly, its more of using the language than it is anything specific. Its just like reading a book, but you’re playing a game and using its text to help you practice. Find study materials that fit you, whether its games, movies, novels, biographies, news reports, anything that interests you, the practice is important, not the thing you are using to practice.

Yes they are region locked, but I live in Japan so it wasn`t difficult for me to procure.

So if youre not going to Japan soon you could always try online shopping! :wink:

This seems to be a regular topic on Tofugu:

Their latest ‘Japanese language learning resource’ list even features a game called Starview Valley:


Considering the multitude of ways people claim to learn languages (television, books, conversation, etc), I don’t see why games would be any different. Just depends on the learner, I suppose. I think the audio + visual component would be really beneficial.

I’d never thought to get a 3DS from Japan and play Animal Crossing on it, but maybe I’ll look into it when I’m in Japan this September. I’m not much of a gamer but I love Animal Crossing lol.

If you hack your 3ds for homebrew you can play games out of region!

The switch is also reason free and most switch games have Japanese built in, so switching the device to Japanese will put all of your games in that language if supported!

The new Nintendo Switch’s aren’t region locked. So if anyone has one (I know they are difficult to get a hold of right now) you can make a Japanese account and buy Japanese games on it.

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For most games you don’t even need to buy the Japanese version, since most games come with multilanguage support built in. So you can just change the Switch’s language to japanese in the system settings, and the entire game will switch to Japanese. This is nice so you can switch between them at will, like say I want to play Zelda in JP but my partner wants to play it in English.

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