5 Exciting Nintendo DS Games To Practice Japanese With — 8 Comments

  1. I watched the Gyakuten Saiban movie the other day and it made me curious about the games. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for these titles the next time I’m at a Book-Off. (Going to Japan for 3 weeks this winter, excited!)

  2. Nice article! I was thinking about getting a handheld system for Japanese games, and I think I’ll settle on a DS as it should be pretty cheap by now and has a big library of games. That electronic dictionary sound really cool too!

  3. I just got an imported 3DS and I’m really enjoying it; I haven’t even decided on a game to buy yet but I’ve been playing free demos. Thanks for telling me about the dictionary download! It’s much better at recognizing my poor Japanese handwriting than what I’ve been using on the iPhone (the Chinese input and the 大辞泉 app.)

  4. I think, although not extremely educational, RPGs are fun to get into for language learning. A lot of the stuff you might learn wont be extremely helpful or even understandable as a beginner, but you see a lot of the same phrases again and again. This is especially notable in games like pokemon, where it’s the same cookie cutter phrases for encounters, wins, and acquirement of items and such. Whether you really try to learn some of them, you end up knowing them anyway just from seeing them a lot. The newest ones, black & white and I believe the newer black & white, even have kanji options.
    Another advantage of most of RPGs is that they push you through the story. So even if you don’t understand things you can still have fun playing the game. Which, for me, when I’m not understanding things, motivates me to figure out what is happening.
    Definitely a fan of all the games listed, as well as the dictionary though!

  5. The next installment of this series absolutely should include 極限脱出 9時間9人9の扉. Intriguing story, clever puzzles, and a whole shit-ton of advanced vocabulary with no furigana :S

  6. I didn’t find this article until after I had made the decision on what my first Japanese game would be: ゼルダの伝説 大地の汽笛.
    I’d have preferred ゼルダの伝説 夢幻の砂時計, but I couldn’t find one available.
    I’ve yet to receive it but one reason I chose a Zelda game was because it supposedly lacks furigana in the text box. However, if you click the kanji with the stylus – the furigana will pop up.
    I feel like this is an ideal medium for a noob like myself. I don’t know enough kanji to read all but the easiest words. And if I already understood the kanji’s meaning, now I’ll know how it’s pronounced as well. (By the way, I can’t even read the title without a cheat sheet.)

    Not to mention… Zelda’s such a well known title in the US – it would be in many people’s comfort zones. And I’d like my first game in Japanese to be something I’m comfortable with as I spend an hour trying to decipher one conversation.

    • What a terrible ゼルダ fan I am… despite having played all the main games except for Zelda II, I still couldn’t figure out which one 大地の汽笛 was… Sure, the title doesn’t translate literally, but still…

  7. Anyone ever considered the スーパーロボット大戦 (Super Robot Wars) series? It’s like a mash-up of various mecha anime plotlines in an SRPG format. Pretty awesome if you like Gundam, Gurren Lagann, etc.

    The games include a lot of dialogue both spoken and written.

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