If you’re looking to learn Japanese, you must commit to putting in plenty of time and practice. After all, many students wonder how long it will take to master the language, and it really comes down to how much effort you are willing to invest. The good news is that there are tons of resources you can take advantage of to help boost your understanding of the language, such as interactive Japanese learning games.
These fun Japanese learning games provide you with the tools you need to begin grasping basic words and phrases. You’ll soon discover some of these games are geared toward vocabulary, while others will help you with proper pronunciation. Whether you want to focus on katakana or hiragana, these Japanese learning games will help you work toward fluency. And the best part? You can access many of these games from your smartphone, which means you can practice Japanese virtually anywhere.
To help you navigate the many Japanese games online out there, we’ve provided a handy guide to the 7 best games to learn Japanese. Play these games in combination with your other Japanese studies, and you will be well on your way to mastering this incredible language.
1. My Japanese Coach
My Japanese Coach is a puzzle-based game that was introduced in 2008 for the Nintendo DS. When you get started with My Japanese Coach, you’ll be given a placement test that will determine your starting point. The game contains about a hundred lessons covering basic grammar, katakana, hiragana, and more.
When you’re playing this game, be aware that some kanji are presented with the wrong stroke order. The stroke order for each kanji character is important in understanding its meaning.
My Japanese Coach is also not a video game in the traditional sense. There’s no game play; instead, there are a variety of word games and puzzles designed to introduce you to the basics of the language.
Don’t have a Nintendo DS? Play My Japanese Coach online.
2. Slime Forest Adventure
This is an old-school game for your computer. The graphics aren’t super complex, but it’s one of the few Japanese learning games that is actually a game.
Slime Forest Adventure offers the tried-and-true formula of fighting monsters and rescuing a princess, but with a bit of a twist. In order to fight the monsters, you have to decipher hiragana, kanji, and/or katakana.
The game comes in three versions, and there is also a free demo version. With a simple emphasis on recognizing various hiragana, katakana, and kanji, Slime Forest Adventure is a great game to start building your knowledge of the Japanese language.
3. Learn Japanese (MindSnacks Games)
MindSnacks offers games for a variety of languages. Learn Japanese is a popular app for your smartphone, and will help you learn Japanese words and sounds. It’s not really a game, but rather a “learn-by-rote” option that can be very effective. Are you riding public transportation or waiting in line at the supermarket? Turn on this convenient interactive Japanese learning game to pick up new language skills while you’re passing the time.
Looking for an easy way to learn Japanese? Use this app through Google Play. You can download flashcards that feature Japanese words for clothing and animals. The flashcards help you commit these words to memory by sorting the cards into two piles: those you have memorized and those you haven’t yet memorized. Once the app determines you have learned a certain word, the algorithm won’t show it to you again until it thinks you may need a refresher. This app will also help you learn hiragana.
5. Dr. Moku’s Hiragana Mnemonic
If you’re interested in a fun Japanese learning game, this is it. While Dr. Moku’s system of teaching hiragana is admittedly corny, it’s also very effective. The app uses mnemonic devices to teach you the various sounds made in the Japanese alphabet. The funny mnemonic devices help you remember associations and make connections between letters and sounds. It’s one of the best Japanese learning games for beginners as it teaches hiragana, katakana, and kanji.
To help you learn Japanese, this video game creates an immersive experience where you interact with fictional characters. As you engage with the characters, you pick up new vocabulary and can add it to a piggy bank to access later for future engagements. Although it doesn’t currently help with word pronunciation, you can learn a bunch of new Japanese phrases and greetings through this game.
You’ve probably already heard of the language learning app DuoLingo because it’s a fantastic resource for learning the basics of a language. But did you know they offer Japanese lessons, too? This Japanese learning game provides a great way to learn new words and practice pronunciation as it builds off what you already know. It lets you challenge your score and take tests to earn points. Perhaps the only downfall is that the app does not teach you how to write in Japanese.
Making a Simple Change
These Japanese learning games are not only addictive, but they’re convenient, too. Whether you have five minutes or 30 minutes to spare, playing a round or two whenever you have free time can help you retain certain words and phrases.
Japanese learning games are everywhere, but you don’t necessarily need any new games to start learning Japanese. Many of the games you already own probably have Japanese soundtracks, and these can allow you to listen and learn. Set the audible language to Japanese, and turn on the English in-game captions. This way, you will be able to associate the spoken words with the English captions. Even if your games don’t have songs with words, you can always turn on your favorite Japanese songs and pick up the language that way. In fact, learning Japanese through karaoke songs is a perfectly acceptable (and smart!) way to learn.
Some games also offer Japanese subtitles, which will allow you to see and hear the language simultaneously. This option works best for games you’ve played before since you’re already familiar with the in-game dialogue.
Getting Serious About Learning
Aside from these Japanese learning games, there are countless other resources available like these Japanese websites. However, if you are serious about wanting to excel in this language, it might be time to turn to one-on-one language lessons. With the guidance of a certified teacher, you will receive the tools you need to work your way toward speaking fluently.
Find a Japanese teacher today; search here for a Japanese tutor in your area.
Photo by Pixel Fantasy