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Is it worth playing an awesome game even without understanding it's story?


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You see, i really want to play Himegari Dungeon Meister which (in my opinion) is very entertaining. But, while there is an interface patch there isn't a full translation and i always enjoy reading in general so it do takes quite a bit of the fun out for me like that. Now my question: Is it still worth playing it right now? because it doesn't look like it will be translated in the near future and to TRY to learn japanese would probably be too despair enducing and time consuming, i think.:vinty:

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Alright, i get the feeling that maybe you're all hinting that i maybe should just learn japanese. maybe. So, asking someone who learned japanese: how exactly do you learn it?(without buying anything) it is rather very confusing to me why in a sentence three different alphabets are used. Also, i (somehow) learned english through reading manga and playing majikoi with the help of google. Does that mean i should learn japanese from english or german, as in, my mother language? I would be very thankful for atleast some advice

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Is it worth playing an awesome game even without understanding it's story?

If the game is known to be good for its gameplay and bad story, then I don't really see any problems with it. On the other hand, in most cases it's not worth it, in my opinion. And, really, aren't there many other awesome games to play normally nowadays? :yumiko:

Well, of course, if you are planning to learn Japanese, it's better wait before you understand at least some things.

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11 minutes ago, borisjoker said:

Alright, i get the feeling that maybe you're all hinting that i maybe should just learn japanese. maybe.

Ignore the trolls. Don't try learning something time consuming with half-hearted resolve.

If you have the drive to do so, you can. Check out the /r/learnjapanese starter's guide, if you're actually interested.

13 minutes ago, borisjoker said:

Does that mean i should learn japanese from english or german, as in, my mother language?

If you can, definitely go with your native language; however, the resources may be limited. There's no reason you can't use both.

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I would lean towards saying no. If you lose grip of the story, I would in the most cases not recommend reading a VN, as a lot of the meaning that went into the VN will be lost. I would however also not recommend learning JP if you are not really interested, as, though what tutorials of "learning" kanji in two months may say, it is quite a long road to getting to an adequate level of understanding. Now it just so happens that I am that guy that did exactly not that and thought he had learnt JP in two months with "learning" kanji.

If you do get interested in the future I would however recommend using a parser to translate words (mind you not sentences). It can be quite a ride at first, but once you get the hang of it you can start skipping the use of the program for every word and sentence and start reading from your own understanding. This will help speed up the process of looking up the words. This especially if you save the words you did not understand in another program used for memorising, Anki, or something like that, to later review if you know the meaning and can read it. Mind, this should be used alongside other tools as well (like Tae Kim's grammar guide, the Anki Core 10k deck, etc.), to help your study.

Anyhow, perhaps sticking to good old English patches will be the best course of action for now, but that is just an opinion.

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7 hours ago, VirginSmasher said:

Just learn Japanese instead tbh. I remember when I was desperate enough to use machine TL to read. It's a waste of time.

Speaking of experience, I totally agree. I tried using MT at some point after I had it recommended. The quality sucked and I was told I just had to do this and that and the quality would improve. I did, but it still sucked and then I had to do some other stuff as well. Eventually I just gave up and declared if I had used the time on actually learning Japanese, I would have learned enough to make it useful at that point. It's worse than just waste of time, it actually lures you away from aiming for a real solution.

6 hours ago, Weiterfechten said:

If you do get interested in the future I would however recommend using a parser to translate words (mind you not sentences). It can be quite a ride at first, but once you get the hang of it you can start skipping the use of the program for every word and sentence and start reading from your own understanding.

Looks like it's time to repeat the results from my experiment. Once I decided to abandon MT and see how far tools could aid in making a human translation. Mind you this was before I studied any Japanese. I set up my computer to pass words, write romaji furigana and hovering over a word would look it up in a dictionary. I also had found a paper online with all the particles explained, which I had next to me. Using this setup I went ahead and translated 20 lines in Musumaker. After that a real translator to correct the lines and I studied the changes. It resulted in:

  • A number of the lines could easily rival MT translation in accuracy
  • only 3 lines had completely missed the point (and I knew that. I kind of gave up)
  • complete lack of knowledge of grammar was the cause of most of the issues
  • After around 10 lines I could start to recognize words and had an idea of the meaning before looking them up

Now take the hours it takes to figure out how to set up a machine translation and use those hours on studying Japanese, then even if the MT gets as perfect as possible, your own translation could rival in quality and unlike the machine, you will get better with practice.

You will need to study. For instance hiragana is a must in the long run, but I don't think it's a good idea to start by studying them. The problem is that just memorizing them is hard and no fun and if you don't use them, you will forget them again. Read VNs with romaji furigana and in parallel with that study hiragana. This way you will see the hiragana you just learned and this will greatly increase the chance of remembering them.

7 hours ago, borisjoker said:

Does that mean i should learn japanese from english or german, as in, my mother language?

You often benefits the most from using your native language. While most study material is only available in English, the amount and quality available in German is supposed to be good and better than most non-English languages. Try googling in German.

You did reveal one good start, which is the fact that you know a foreign language. Going from one to two languages is really hard. Going from two to three is easier and after three you sort of cracked the idea of handling languages.

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45 minutes ago, tymmur said:

Going from two to three is easier and after three you sort of cracked the idea of handling languages.

Not really, I think you are oversimplifying. Perhaps the above could be said for European languages that have a common Latin thread, but going from German - English to Japanese is going to be especially difficult. 

I know English, Korean and Japanese. You'd think I'd get the hang of Mandarin. I've been in China for 5 years and nope, I still can't get past the basic "How are you?" dance. (it doesn't help that I can't differentiate between the effing tones)

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You remind me when I really want to play JRPG and there's no english localization. I try it for several minutes and after that abandoned it, simply because I play the game for the story.

I think it's the same with visual novel. In fact I think it's worse since there's no game play.

But at the same time, once I also forced myself to read online manga with google translate using romaji. For better or worse, I think I can grasp 30% of the story.

Of course, both of them cannot really be compared since for game, you need much more efforts. And I doubt I can do it even using google translation.

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12 hours ago, tymmur said:

Going from two to three is easier and after three you sort of cracked the idea of handling languages.

11 hours ago, milkteebaby said:

Not really, I think you are oversimplifying. Perhaps the above could be said for European languages that have a common Latin thread, but going from German - English to Japanese is going to be especially difficult.

There are two concepts in knowing languages, which benefits when learning a new one. One is the obvious one of learning related languages, such as it's easier to learn Dutch if you already know English and German. Obviously going from any European language to Japanese will not benefit from this. The other is less obvious and that is training your brain to the concept of multiple languages. When you learn your first foreign language, it's hard because at the same time you have to develop the skill to understand that you need to have more than one "library" of words and grammar and be able to switch them on command. Once you have that and learned a foreign language, the next one will benefit from this skill even if the language is totally unrelated.

 

Not to bash other people, but I have encountered a number of native English speakers who speak only English. You can speak languages closely related to English next to them and they get nothing, often not even loanwords because without training in the concept of multiple languages, they notice it as a blur and aren't even trying. It's not because they are stupid or have ill intensions, it's just lack of training. It is possible to learn a new language at any age even if you only know one, but it might take a bigger effort to get started.

12 hours ago, milkteebaby said:

I know English, Korean and Japanese. You'd think I'd get the hang of Mandarin. I've been in China for 5 years and nope, I still can't get past the basic "How are you?" dance. (it doesn't help that I can't differentiate between the effing tones)

When I learned about the four tones in Mandarin, I figured it must be the hardest thing in a language to learn. However I was wrong. Apparently Cantonese has six tones, two of them being low pitch versions of two of the others. I'm puzzled to how the locals even understand that considering each person has a unique voice with a unique default pitch. Another reason why I view Mandarin as very difficult is because it's my impression that the natives speak very fast. I once encountered a Chinese girl and while she spoke decent English, she did it in a Chinese way, meaning she was speed talking. Not only was she saying each word much faster than anybody else around her, she also skipped the pauses between words, making it sound like each sentence ended up as one long word. This got even worse when she got nervous during a presentation and while I could hear English words, the speed made it impossible for me to turn them into sentences and understand them before she was half way through the next sentence. If people around you speak anything like that, then I fully understand if you don't get it at all.

 

Still if you have lived in a country for 5 years and still don't get the language at all, you might have to rethink your strategy for learning the language. There are examples of people living in a country and everybody around them switching to English because it's easier or they view it as friendly or whatever and as a result people can end up not coming into contact with the local language at all, which naturally prevents learning it. A real worst case scenario is an American, who met a local woman on a business trip to South Korea, got married, had children and after 20 years he still couldn't understand any Korean because he lived in an English bobble and didn't come in contact with Korean at all. I have tried being in such a bobble and I didn't realize it at the time. The people who made the most comments about how I should have learned the language were actually the people responsible for creating it, but nobody at the time realized the bobble. It doesn't matter anymore because I'm not going back for other reasons, but it was so not fun while it lasted. However part of the problem is that you can't shatter the bobble without having even a basic understanding of the language, meaning it becomes a chicken and egg problem.

 

Besides when I wrote about getting started with Japanese, it was human translation vs machine translation. This mean the goal (short term) is to beat MT in quality without using way more learning time than MT requires for a "proper setup" (whatever that is). This mean you with aid get the meaning from say the particles, but you will not be told which particles to use in your own sentences. The same with word ordering or even choice of words. For instance "I have never seen it before" is more likely to be said as "it's the first time I see it" in Japanese, at least according to my impression. In other words it's not about learning to speak Japanese, but rather a path to be able to read something without spending years studying. It will be a long journey to reach a decent level, but that's less of an issue if the journey itself becomes enjoyable. Maybe there are better ways to study, but people tend to quit if they aren't having fun while studying. I will also point out that it's not a replacement to studying, but rather an addition. If you study and read say some grammar and then go back to continue on a VN, you could notice what you just learned being used and then it's used again and again. Since you from that point will be reminded with each reading session, you have a better chance of remembering what you studied.

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I’d say the only case in which not knowing the story is when basically everybody who’s played the game with story agrees the story is a complete dumpster fire, which is naturally a really rare occurrence in “awesome games.” In any other case, you’re missing out on a large part of the experience, and since I highly doubt you’ll want to come back to the game and play the entire thing when you can understand the story (whether you’ve learned Japanese or the game’s been translated), you’re essentially ruining the experience for yourself. Even if you do end up liking the gameplay enough to go through the game a second time, it’ll still be noticeably worse than if you played the full experience the first time. So yeah, I’m gonna second the general opinion of no.

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7 hours ago, tymmur said:

 

nichijoupunch.gif

Touche. 

In addition, I guess I should say that I've never had an interest in learning Chinese. Unlike Korean and Japanese which I grew up with at home (and the English outside of the house), Chinese never got my interest, even though I have Chinese relatives :/ 

My SO speaks Chinese well. He studied a hellish amount in our first few years here. It kills me that whenever the natives try to talk to me, they're replied to by my SO, but they still reply back to ME. Like I've got this expression on my face "WTF ARE YOU SAYING", but they can't comprehend that the white guy can speak Chinese. 

(Or maybe it's just here they do that. We live in the asscrack of China. )

Going back to the original topic, though, going through the hardships of learning a new language just for the sake of reading a VN seems like a waste of time to me. If you want to continue reading VNs in JP, then by all means learn the language, but if it's just that one and you have no other interest in the language...

Meh. 

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22 minutes ago, milkteebaby said:

My SO speaks Chinese well. He studied a hellish amount in our first few years here. It kills me that whenever the natives try to talk to me, they're replied to by my SO, but they still reply back to ME. Like I've got this expression on my face "WTF ARE YOU SAYING", but they can't comprehend that the white guy can speak Chinese.

 

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I knew that Himegari story is pretty much a cliche one, although it's have the interesting twist though namely we control the remnant of the demon king who possessed a very weak boy. As for the question in regard of Himegari I would say maybe you can do that considering that it's just the gameplay, but I would suggest you that it's still better if you play awesome game while understanding the story. So my answer for the title would be 'No, it's not worth it'.

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