Platform: Nintendo DS
2008 UBI Soft. Screenshots courtesy of Amazon.com.
|My Japanese Coach DS Educational Game |
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Thanks to UbiSoft's My Japanese Coach for the Nintendo DS, you can carry a tutor in your pocket that lets you learn a new language in as little as 15 minutes a day. With plenty of entertaining lessons, loads of fun-to-play mini-games, and a host of helpful features, this unique language coach will have you not only speaking like a native in no time, but reading and writing like on as well!
Learn in Fun and Interactive Ways
My Japanese Coach is an installment in the My Coach series from UbiSoft series that teaches the basic pronunciations unique to the Japanese language. This convenient and easy-to-use tutor allows users to compare their pronunciation to that of native speakers via the Nintendo DS's microphone. It also lets you use the DS stylus to practice writing Japanese Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji characters.
My Japanese Coach takes you on a virtual tour of Japan while you're learning the language. Lesson plans take place in a wide array of Japanese locations, from the densest of population centers like Tokyo, to the idyllic Japanese country side. You actually get to explore Japan while you learn new vocabulary as you open each point of interest.
Learn From a Master
Meet Haruka, the in-game digital sensei, or teacher, that exists solely for the purpose of teaching you Japanese. After giving you a small placement-style test, Haruka will get you started working through the various stages of your lessons. Gaining mastery points by playing the various learning games allow you to clear each level. Once you master all the words given in a specific level, you move on to the next level.
As you work your way through over a 1,000 lessons, your language skills are constantly tested and sharpened by various mini games. My Japanese Coach includes 12 types of mini games, ranging from Flash Cards, in which you hear a word and have seconds to choose the correct English translation, to Bridge Builder, where you are required to string words together in the correct order to create a complete sentence. And with mini-games that add a clever twist to classic favorites--like Memory that forces you to match the same words in two different languages--you will be sure to have fun while you learn.
My Japanese Coach also features a built-in dictionary and phrase book that includes over 12,000 words and hundreds of useful everyday phrases.
I'm addicted to learning new stuff, but this game takes my addiction to greater heights! >>> by skysenshi
Wow, two teacher-related reviews in a row. My profession seems to be catching up with me. Ok, since Amazon.com's product description pretty much sums up everything that can be found in My Japanese Coach, let's focus on the stuff that can't be found in marketing kits.
My Japanese Coach is addictive.
Back when my doctoral study load didn't feel too heavy, I would spend about thirty minutes of my mornings playing this game. I actually tried to practice a bit of discipline by not going through everything in one go -- it was THAT addictive -- so I would normally take one to two lessons per day. Going beyond that would defeat the purpose of the game: true learning. As in, store-the-information-in-your-long-term-memory kind of learning.
I love that it doesn't just train you how to speak the language, it also teaches you how to write in Japanese kana and kanji. Plus, you can also skip through stuff that you already know by heart, like many kanji that have remained in my memory since the time I took up Japanese lessons years ago.
I find the tutor, Haruka, quite endearing. Sometimes she can get long-winded but she employs the e-Learning Principle of Personalization (see e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning by Ruth C. Clark and Richard E. Mayer) quite effectively. At least, in a way that the technical limitations of a Nintendo DS unit can achieve.
There were a few minor things I had issues with. One is that there were many methods of writing (stroke progression, order) kanji that I remember were taught differently by my human sensei (she was Chugoku-jin, but she lived in Japan and was trained by the Japanese Embassy supported Nihonggo Center). This makes me feel quite unsure if my knowledge is being updated (it had been a long time since my last face-to-face Nihonggo lesson; does that mean what I know is archaic now?) or I'm being taught wrong by my virtual sensei.
I love the mini-games, especially the flash cards, writing cards, multiple choice and those little beavers (platypus?) you hit for word recall. I'm not feeling too hot about the bridge thingy and the spelltastic. The Romanized words used in those two mini-games don't help me one bit.
Overall, though, I think My Japanese Coach is fun. If you want to maximize learning, though, you need real reference books (for comparison) and conversation partners. It would be difficult to truly learn a language just by talking to an AI.
Difficulty: Easy to Difficult (adjustable settings)
Completion Time: ?? hours (still playing)
Highest Level Achieved: Elementary 4 Level
Ratings: Gameplay 9; Battle N.A.; Story 8; Visuals 9; Characters 10; Sounds 9; Replay Value 10