My Japanese Coach
A great game for beginners.
If you're someone who's interested in learning Japanese who has little to no background in the basics of the language, I would recommend this. Though there is a lot of repitition in the game, so those with little patience would find this game aggrevating. As long as you review past lessons routinely, you should be fine and you won't forget a thing! Also, if you're not 100% set on learning the language and actually putting the time in effort that it takes to learn a language, don't pick up the game. In fact, forget the whole idea of learning the language. Haha.
Great for beginning and vocab!
In my experience, I've found that this game definitely imprints hundreds of words into your mind for the longrun. The games aren't as quick to bore as has been said, with a little dedication, you'll get over the repitition. After all, learning anything requires repitition! The order of lessons actually makes sense, I would advise completely disregarding comments on the lessons skipping around as learning numbers definitely helps when it comes to months and such. it can be very vague when it comes to grammar and kanji is limited, so i recomend this to start off with After getting most of this game down, I recommend cds, books, videos, lessons, and possibly even immersion into a japanese society. A quick wrap-up, a great first step.
Okay for know-nothing beginners
I was very excited to get this game and had high expectations. But it quickly let me down with the boring repitition of the lessons and games you have to play. It's OK for beginners to start with and use for reference. There is a japanese to english dictionary (that requires you type in the romaji with no kana option, strangely enough) which can be very helpful. But it would take dedication to sit there through the boring lessons and to get through the game. Also the kana writing is poor; you can correctly write something and it'll count it wrong, or write something wong and it'll count it right. Although over all it's good for people who want to get started in their studies.
A True Beginner's Opinion!!
I've been trying to find a way to learn Japanese, but I'm not a big book person. I like something interactive and fun to mess around, then my friend game me this game. I was hooked! The first few lessons are easy, greetings, numbers, months, days, etc.... And you are able to skip those few with the test at the beginning (but you don't really skip that much, even if you got every question right). This was all fun games (mostly just memorizing), until you get to the Kana lessons (one of 2 writing styles in Japanese). Kana is when stuff gets serious (Kanji is 100x harder btw). To be honest I had quit playing the game for about 2 weeks due to extreme a brain teaser headache, but i finally mastered all of it. After I mastered it, that's when I got serious! I took notes (silly for a DS game) about verbs and sentence structure, and writing down all the vocabulary. Basically treating this as a real Japanese class! The thing I like about this game is it doesn't baby you that much (but the games are really kiddish) and sometimes in the game it gets head of itself and you got to figure some things on your own. WARNING THIS GAMES IS NOT FOR KIDS!! THIS IS THE HARDEST GAME TO BEAT IN HISTORY OF GAME KIND.
This game, tells you that it will teach you Japanese, and that its fun and whatever else. Well it's lying. This game will not teach you proper Japanese and it will not help you understand when someone is speaking it around you. Its pretty awful. Aside from that, its the best vocab tool that I have come across next to flash cards. Yea I know I just bashed it in, but its REALLY good. So you can understand what I mean better, you should use this in conjunction with learning Japanese Grammar. Which is ACTUALLY learning Japanese. I would very much recommend this to people, however, I would only recommend it to people learning Japanese prior to getting this. The vocab you go over, is very base and in order. What I mean is, if you can remember how you were taught in Elementary school, this programs do that in a similar way. Animals, colors, hellos and goodbyes, how to write, etc.
I'm an admitted Otaku so I wouldn't pass up the chance to learn Japanese as part of my obsession with their music, art and literature [and all the manga, anime and video games]. I've religiously schooled myself with this game for three months and I've learned one whole phrase 'Konnichiwa, genki desu ka?' and 'Watashi' that's it. In my personal opinion, the lesson style isn't set up very well it jumps around a lot. You go from learning numbers, to Kana, to days of the week, to greetings, back to Kana, etc. and by the time they get around to actually bothering to teach you how to grammatically set up a sentence you've forgotten pretty much everything after spending five lessons learning to write in Kana [which they hardly ever use] and hardly any time on words. [I might've just missed a lesson but:] To make matters worse they totally spring new words on you in the sentence structure game. I was extremely disappointed and eventually abandoned it in favor of watching soap operas and other dramas to teach myself and reading manga to learn Kanji. If you have the money just go to a classroom and get taught, I don't think this game is worth it.
I'm a Japanese major and I wanted some extra practice before I do my internship in Fukuoka. This game overall was mediocre. It's okay for learning some basic vocab, but the mini games are very boring after a short time and really make you get bored. I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone. Graphics and interface and everything is great, but the actual important part isn't. Also, the writing games are really bad. I scribbled once because I couldn't remember this one character, and it accepted it. :/ And some characters I would do perfectly, like "a" and it wouldn't take it. The character for "a" was the first one I learned, it's easy.If you want to learn japanese on your own, buy a genki textbook and workbook from the internet and teach yourself. That's how I started.
As a student of Japanese, I do not recommend this game as a way to learn Japanese, however, this is a great way to review japanese; in other words, basic knowledge of japanese is needed in order to fully appreciate this game. This would be a great resource for beginner-intermediate japanese learners; and the stroke practice/language fluency programs helped a lot. I recommend this game for anyone who wants learn japanese; if you are going to study japanese, this is a much more fun and engaging way to do so. This is much better than studying from a textbook or watching the telly; this is a fun and interactive way to learn the japanese language. It is easier to learn when you are involved in the process, and this game does that. This is a great game and would be a good present for a student.
Why are they doing this?
This game is utterly confusing when it comes to attempting to learn anything. They have no logic to when you learn your grammar, don't teach you the alphabets before starting in on words, and are magically anal about some characters while others they couldn't care less if you draw a heart on the screen. Using little to no knowledge I stumbled through the pretest to test ahead several lessons, this is where my first problem came up. They really didn't test any knowledge just "how good is your multiple choice luck?" Yes you can go back and do the lessons on your own, but it doesn't mean you are learning anything. As long as you play your favorite game enough times you can progress forward. Then you get more confusing grammar which isn't even properly translated, the game horribly pronouncing words at you, and just in general frustration if you know anything about the language. If you want to learn Japanese buy a Genki textbook, you'll learn a lot more even if you are studying on your own.
A poor attempt at educational software for the DS
I have noticed that this software gets high reviews from gamers who want to study the language and lower reviews from reviewers who actually know the language. This software does a very poor job of "teaching" Japanese. I studied Japanese as a university student, and often have to use the language for my job. I have noticed several problems with the software that any prospective buyer should keep in mind. The software focuses heavily on vocabulary. This is a problem because the software does very little to test the players knowledge of grammar. Grammar is essential to understanding Japanese. Simply knowing vocabulary would leave the player lost in a real life situation. The software sometimes teaches the wrong stroke order for kana and Kanji. This won't hurt you too much, but it does instill bad habits. Languages are different and need to be taught differently.The developers clearly tried to cram Japanese into their "My Spanish Coach" mold. This was evident by the rehashed and tired mini-games (which had only a focus on vocab anyway). This game does NOT teach conversational Japanese. This is important, because many of the lessons teach the "right" way to say something (for example chichi for my father) rather than the common use (or conversational) way of saying something (most Japanese people would say otousan when talking about their own father, but the software teaches the dictionary correct otousan meaning your father). The words the software teaches are technically correct in a dictionary, but there is no mention of the more common ways of saying things. The mixture of non-conversational vocabulary, unoriginal mini-games, and a lack of emphasis on grammar, lead me to look skeptically on this software. I certainly wouldn't recommend it to any serious Japanese students.