Learning Japanese to Survive is an RPG that adds a language learning component to gameplay. While the player is moving through the game, they are also learning the Japanese writing system called hiragana. They are also learning Japanese words, grammar, and culture as well.
The player is a young person living in a small village with her friends. One day, the village is attacked and conquered by an evil wizard. The player needs to fight the minions of the wizard and eventually take him down to restore peace to their village and the world.
The minions the wizard uses to fight are hiragana characters, which can only be defeated by accurately identifying them. This is done by looking at a list of characters and correctly selecting the right answer. Damage is then done to the enemy. Players can also take damage and need to use healing potions, spells, or other items to win the battle and move through the game. Players earn experience for fighting battles and completing side quests to level up and gain new abilities.
Working Memory: Recalling and retaining information in our minds while working.
Learning a new language, particularly one with a new system of writing is a great way to practice working memory. In the game, the player needs to learn to associate the writing form of the hiragana character with the sound it makes when pronounced. The player also needs to practice writing the character and associate this writing with the sound of the character as well. When fighting the battles in the game, the player needs to look at the hiragana “enemies” and know which sounds they make to select the correct one from a list. For players who struggle with working memory, writing the characters down on paper while saying them out loud, and using the in-game ability to repeat character pronunciation can be a way to strengthen this skill.
Focus: Getting started and then maintaining attention and effort to tasks.
Playing through an RPG requires reading, meaning that the player needs to focus and pay attention to plot details, directions for what to do next, and relationships between other characters. In this game, the player also needs to focus and learn about the different hiragana characters in order to defeat them in battle. For players who struggle with focus, repeating the practice sessions that are provided in-game can help with practicing the characters and putting them together to form words. The players are also encouraged to write the characters down over and over again in a notebook to practice them, which can help with in-game character recognition and make focusing a little easier.
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