Sleepy Duck’s Learn Japanese To Survive is a 16-bit inspired role-playing game that has you teaming up with a group of characters as you travel around the countryside, battling Japanese characters and learning how to use them effectively in writing and conversations, as well as gaining a fundamental understanding of the Japanese language.
The edutainment title is designed to help gamers stay both entertained and educated by teaching them about kanji symbols in order to better understand the Japanese language.
The project is currently seeking funds on Kickstarter. A large portion of the game is already complete, but they need $15,000 to finish it off. At the moment they’ve accrued $10,921 with 29 days to go before the project wraps up. You can check out the pitch video below, but it’s mostly just the intro with a few short clips of the game’s turn-based combat system.
If you’re familiar with the old-school Final Fantasy JRPGs before they turned into real-time combat adventures, it operates on the same wavelength. Except, instead of simply picking attacks and defeating enemies, the objective is to learn the proper usage of Kanji through combat repetition.
They explain that combat is based around translating the kanji…
“This game features over 200 Kanji characters to learn and master. With this knowledge under your belt, you can begin reading and writing Japanese!
“[…] You’ll encounter dangerous enemies that have taken the shape of Kanji. To defeat them, you’ll need to correctly translate them! If you give the wrong answer, your attack will be reflected and used against you. It’s a learn & live situation!”
Not only that, but the game will also attempt to teach you grammatical structure as well, so you’ll learn both the meaning of the kanji and how to utilize it in a conversation.
The story of the game centers around the male and female protagonists venturing to Japan and meeting up with a diverse cast of characters as they attempt to defend the country from monsters who have taken the shape of kanji symbols. You can only defeat the monsters by translating them.
Just like all other classic JRPGs, you can level-up, loot items, take on side-quests and roam around and engage in visual battle encounters.
It seems like a cool way to learn some of the basics of the Japanese language and will surely help for those of you out there tired of the politically-minded localization efforts being employed by some companies who completely mistranslate games in order to push their own agendas. Now you don’t have to worry about sociopolitical commentary bleeding into English localized games, but instead you’ll be able to learn Japanese and play the original games without any of the biases and indoctrinations from the localizers making their way into the product.
You can learn more about Learn Japanese To Survive by visiting the Kickstarter page. The project is estimated to launch in August of 2018.