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Monthly Archives: March 2013

Slime forest is a free game, although you can pay for additional functionality, which can be found at  www.lrnj.com .

I first discovered this game about ten years ago, when I was first trying to learn Japanese. I was still at the phase of learning Hiragana and Katakana. I was using flashcards and getting frustrated because I couldn’t seem to remember all of them, and the ones I did remember would be forgotten within a few days.

Then someone at the Japanese club (yes, my friends and I founded a Japanese club at my high school) said, “Oh yeah, try lrnj it’s fun!”

I mainly played just to learn the Japanese characters, but you could play this just like a regular rpg game. It was very addicting! I learned the characters very quickly, it was easy to motivate myself to type faster and not get killed by a stupid slime! Ten years ago, I was convinced that this was the future of language learning. There would soon be other rpgs that were basically this, but a different theme. Perhaps in other languages as well.

I only stopped playing this, after I learned hiragana and katakana because the slime forest game only tested on the English meaning of kanji characters. I thought it would be better to learn Kanji with pronunciation AND meaning than just one or the other.

In case you are wondering what the premise of the game is: You are a potato farmer that has to kill slimes with a hoe. You then are given a quest by the king to save his daughter. You have to raise money to buy a boat to go where she was taken, and you do that by killing slimes. Each slime has a character on its body, and you have to type its pronunciation. If you get it wrong, it jumps up and down and gives you the correct answer, but then it takes more tries to ‘kill’ it and get the reward.

Every once in a while, I’ll download this game again on different computers. It’s still fun even though I don’t really need it any more.

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It has been my goal since getting home from China almost two years ago to develop language learning games. It has now gotten to the point that I have learned enough computer languages that I feel more comfortable in creating games for consumption by the public.

I have actually made two games, within the span of two weeks, in late January. After starting this blog, I was feeling guilty saying that I want to develop language learning games, but have not actually produced anything. The first game is a ‘one of these things is not like the other’ game – you have to find the one 汉字 that is not like the others in the grid. The other game is a matching game, which takes advantage of html5 drag and drop elements.

I am also taking an Iphone App development course right now!

My goal is to form an LLC, publish a website with some games, and publish some apps by the end of this summer. I am hoping that by starting with simple games, the business can build a good reputation.

Right now, it’s frustrating because the strategy and implementation is mostly still in my head. I will also not be able to make much progress until I finish this semester. I am taking the supposedly hardest class of my program, Distributed Information Systems, at the moment.

 

::sigh::

I’m behind the times on this one. I just tried to go onto Translationzilla for the purpose of writing this blog entry, they had a pretty fun game for learning Chinese and Japanese. However, when I went to go to their website just now, I saw the message that they’ve decided to close.

http://translationzilla.com/

I’ve known about it for a year, and I was just on it last month.

This blog describes in detail Translationzilla in its glory days.

http://slapstart.com/2010/01/translationzilla-learning-languages-shouldnt-be-this-fun/

One one hand, I was always a bit skeptical of people paying for their service since the game was fully functional for free. On the other hand, I was hoping this would inspire others to  make other games that were also fun. I believe there needs to be MORE games for language learners. It shouldn’t just be flashcards and pod casts.