Undertale out in Japanese on Steam, PS4 and Vita

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Let me tell you something – I might have a hard time picking a favorite-favorite game, but Undertale is somewhere up there for sure. I had been waiting for it since I had first played the demo, in 2013, and it was well worth the wait. Hell, it’s a game you can reasonably beat in ~10 hours, and I had over 30h clocked by the time I felt ready to move on.

And now not only has this hit of an RPG been released on the PS4 and Vita, but it was also officially released in Japanese! Both on these two platforms and, just a few days ago, on Steam, which means a couple of things. One: it’s an easily-accessible, well-known RPG, in which you can switch freely between the two languages, and which doesn’t use a lot of kanji, meaning it’s great for practice.

Two: I was very curious how such a wordplay- and joke-heavy game would be localized. This lead to the birth of a YouTube series in which I aim to find out just that, and the first episode of which you can find right here:

Enjoy!

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Soma Bringer – What Came Before Xenoblade

In episode 2 of Let’s Discover we take a look at Soma Bringer – an action RPG released for the Nintendo DS in 2008. It was developed by Monolith Soft – the creators of (among other things) Xenoblade Chronicles.

Soma – a mysterious energy that permeates every living being. It can be harnessed using a device called a “Soma Cage”, and utilized in a myriad of ways – from something as simple as heating up water to enhancing peoples’ combat abilities. However, any imbalance in Soma causes parasitic monsters – Visitors – to show up and start wreaking havoc. The military organization Pharzuph was created to fight these beings. 

Welt is on his first mission as a member of Pharzuph when he meets an amnesiac girl – Idea. Just where will their meeting lead…?

The video is a brief overview of the game: my personal thoughts are under the cut.

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Learning Japanese pt. 2 [FAQ]

As a continuation to the first Learning Japanese post, I decided to take a look at some common questions I came across while procrastinating spending time on forums and websites that deal with learning the Japanese language.

I try to answer them based on how I feel about them and my own experience. Hopefully it will be of some use of you.

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Learning Japanese pt. 1 [My Story]

There’s one question that’s bound to come up over and over again on any forum or website dedicated to learning Japanese:

“How did you learn Japanese?”

or perhaps just:

“How should I learn Japanese?”

…Or a variation of the above.

It’s not surprising – after all, learning a new language is a huge task and many people have no idea how or where to even begin, especially if they have never learned a foreign language before. That’s why, I figured I’d give answering this question a shot. This is going to be a multi-part post, and the first one is a summary of how I’ve learned Japanese up to this point.

Note that this is 100% my experience. What it means is that you might try some of the stuff that worked for me and find out that it doesn’t work for you. You might try stuff that didn’t work for me and realize it’s a great fit for you. My way is not the only true way of learning the language – there’s no such thing as one, “right” way of learning a new language. There’s only what works for you and what doesn’t, which you’re going to have to find out through trial and error.

So, with all of this out of the way, let’s get started.


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LocJam – Let’s Translate a Japanese Game!

Here we have something I found on complete accident while browsing the internet.

LocJam is an international game localization contest. The objective is to translate a short, simple game (entitled Ikinari no Maou) from Japanese into English. It’s around 4000 characters, translateable in a day.

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The game text isn’t terribly complicated. The grammar is easy and it’s written almost entirely in kana. The objective here isn’t really in simply understanding the Japanese text, though, but rather in rendering it in clean, understandable English.

The competition runs until December 25th. I’m, sadly, I a bit slow on the uptake, as I’ve only found out about it today. Still, I figured I might as well give it a shot, though I don’t think I have a great chance at winning. I’m not even a native English speaker after all!

The participants will be judged by a jury of professional translators. Among them sits Clyde Mandelin (of Legends of Localization fame) whom I’m a big fan of, so needless to say, I’m pretty pumped about this!

As for the prizes, you can win a Famicom Mini. It’s a pretty small prize, but clearly, the prize is not the important thing here. I had no idea such a contest even existed, and I’m so happy I found out about it, I think it’s an amazing idea!


If any of you have decided to participate upon reading this: feel free to let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear about your experiences.

How I Play Video Games in Japanese

With Pokemon Sun and Moon already out in Japan and the US (at the time of writing this post, my fellow Europeans still have to wait a few days, unfortunately) I’m sure some of you will want to make use of one of the game’s best features – the ability to play it in multiple languages – to brush up on your Japanese skills.

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Or one of the other languages for that matter, but this is a blog dedicated to Japanese games, after all…

Anyway, if you’re not proficient with the language yet chances are you’re gonna run into quite a few new words during your Pokemon adventure. I know, I had to look up so much stuff back when I tried playing Pokemon Y in Japanese two years ago. Pokemon games, despite being quite beginner-friendly, are still written with native speakers in mind, after all.

Of course, stopping to look up unknown words can get quite annoying, especially in Japanese, where just inputting the word into an electronic dictionary can be tricky, if it’s written in kanji you haven’t learned yet. Over time, I’ve developed a way to make this as unobtrusive as possible for myself.

Of course it also gets easier as you understand more and have to look up less and less, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

Naturally, all of the stuff here is applicable not only to Pokemon, but any game, or reading just about anything that doesn’t come in a form you can copy-and-paste.

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Playing Japanese games on EU/US 3DS – a guide

Unfortunately for everyone involved, Nintendo’s latest handheld system is region-locked. Say you’re learning Japanese and you want to play some 3DS games to practice the language – unfortunately, importing a 3DS from Japan isn’t exactly cheap and chances are you already have an EU or USA-region console that you don’t want to part with.

Fortunately, not all hope is lost! There are still ways to play some games in Japanese on your system.

(I mean legitimately – if you want to learn more about hacking your device, you’ll have to look elsewhere.)


Pokemon games

 

As many of you might already be aware, in the 3DS Pokemon games (that is Pokemon X/Y as well as Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire), you can pick the language you want to use before you start the game and yes, Japanese is one of these choices. Note that you can’t change your language afterwards, unless you wipe your save and start fresh, so no switching back into English mid-way. That might actually prove to be helpful, though, as it ensures you won’t wimp out, because reading Japanese is haaard.

You can also switch between hiragana-only and kanji modes in-game, so you can play even if you’re not feeling too confident in your kanji-reading abilities yet.

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