Retro Games And Nostalgia To Boost Your Japanese — 17 Comments

  1. I’ve really enjoyed Japanese games for awhile, and wanting to play some games from my favorite series that didn’t make it over here, or games from series that I thought died, only to find out later they are still going strong in Japan, is the driving force behind me learning Japanese.

    The first game I imported was before I even really started learning Japanese, it was an Initial D (racing) game, and I had a ton of fun with it, and now that my Japanese is getting to a level where i’m able to understand more and more I pretty much only buy Japanese games now, they are a great way to get practice in while keeping it fun.

  2. Zelda games are a good way to go. Minish Cap is more nostalgic for me and has been fun to play through again.

    • I’ve been playing ocarina of time on 3ds in Japanese. I don’t think the Japanese hurts as much as I thought it would.

  3. This is really cool. Thanks for sharing!

    Being strapped for time, I’ve mostly focused on playing new games in Japanese, but I did go back and play FFX (can you believe it’s almost 14 years old already?). Totally agree that replaying your old favorites in a new language is awesome =)

    • Ffx is a great game to play in japanese aswell cos theyre is so much talking in it with accompanying text so you can read and listen at the same time

  4. Great article!

    I finished Seiken Densetsu 2 (Secret of Mana US), Gaia Gensouki (Illusion of Gaia), Chrono Trigger, and Mother 2 (Earthbound) last year using an SNES emulator on my PC.

    I highly recommend it as a chill way of getting some extra Japanese reps in. It’s not as exhausting as reading a novel of similar level because there are repetitive tasks that aren’t -just- reading.

  5. Probably not as cool. But a lot of these games are on the virtual console of wiii or psn for Sony. A lot more affordable, but not as cool obviously. Thanks for the article.

  6. I recently just finished pokemon green in japanese and am now currently playing pokemon crystal and can understand most of the dialogue. I plan to finish every generation of pokemon in japanese. I wanna play all the final fantasy games too. Its awesome to play games you already know off by heart cos you learn so many words without much effort

  7. Until the the later years of the SNES it was common practice for Nintendo of America to heavily sanitize games before they were released so that they were suitable for all ages. This wasn’t done maliciously of course and once the ESRB was established (1994) they stopped very quickly. For example they released Killer Instinct with a Teen rating as a first party title in summer of 1995.

    There’s a pretty good write-up of all of this at but the site design leaves a bit to be desired.

  8. Link to the Past is one of my all-time favorites. Definitely feeling inspired to do a Japanese play-through now. Probably doesn’t hurt that I know the game by heart anyway :D

    Thanks for the list of classic games by level, by the way — that’s really useful. I’d love to see it grow!

  9. From day 1 pretty much, text heavy Japanese games were my main kind of games. I remember during my first month or two of RTK, I would enjoy spotting the Kanji that I knew in Zelda Ocarina of Time. After I started sentences, I mostly played RPG games like Final Fantasy.

    I’ve probably played Final Fantasy V in Japanese at least 10+ times over the past 3.5 years since I started sentences.

    Same with Zelda. I’ve played Wind Waker, Twilight Princess, Link to the Past, Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Four Swords Adventure, multiple times over over the past few years. (for anybody wondering, you can play official retail japanese GC/wii games on your US Wii if you have a modded wii with neogamma… or you can get them some other way I guess *shrug*)

    I’m pretty fluent now. Unless it’s something really specific to a topic like politics or science or something, I can understand pretty much everything, I believe.

    It’s super cool being able to play through a game like Final Fantasy XIII and being able to understand everything completely without aid.

    But you can’t get there without actually playing the games first, so don’t be scared or discouraged that there’s too much Japanese text you don’t understand. Just play it, learn from it, and a few years later, you won’t have a problem completely understanding pretty much any Japanese game.

    Currently playing Four Swords Adventure in Japanese for gamecube and for PC-98 同級生(R18指定だから良い子はやっちゃ駄目だぞ)

  10. I have a PS4 andI have been lead to believe that it is region free? Does anyone know if it is possible to download Japanese games over the PSN network? I really want to get FFX/FFX-2 for PS4 and the new Dragonball game.

    • you won’t be able to use your australian credit card on the store. You need to buy cards from a site like playasia. It’s fairly expensive, but the convenience is awesome.

      • Thanks, I forgot all about that part. I like the best because they’re very fast and cheap!

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