Sunday, December 27, 2009

Project: RPG-o-thon


It feels like I've been away from this blog forever, and for the most part, I have. However, that doesn't mean I've been away from my studies - nooo, sir. As of the past few weeks, I've been working harder than ever toward my ultimate goal, and things could hardly be going much better (at least, given the 24 hour day cycle I'm sorta forced to deal with...).

Most of my little updates, thoughts and so forth have been reported via Twitter, a tool I once loathed but now embrace, albeit after a lot of kicking and screaming - but that's the way we do things around here.
My urge to scribble like a mentally impaired chimpanzee with a box of crayons write tends to overlap with my SRS time, a very delicate few hours time of the day where I'm feeling my sharpest and most creative, which can present a bit of a problem if I get too distracted. Whereas spending an hour or more writing a long, semi-coherent (at best) blog post branching from one of my random thoughts/insights/rants could easily (and often does) knock my study momentum off course, a few short messages on Twitter takes hardly any time at all. Whether or not those messages actually contain anything of value, well, that's up to debate...

Anyhow, things are going swell, and tonight I'd like to talk about my latest "project".

I've recently acquired a PSP, which I promptly put to good use by hacking the heck out of, slapping in an 8GB memory stick pro duo, and going nuts with. It's now my portable study station of choice, with the ability to play any drama or anime I encode and throw on it, the ability to read PDFs and comics, to play any PSP or PSX RPG (and most other games from emulatable systems)... and this all comes at an opportune time when my motivation is incredibly high and I'm really wanting to dig into Japanese media. Bangin'.

So where does this "project" come into play? Pretty simple - I plan to complete one full RPG in Japanese every month.
Perhaps a little too simple? 30 days gives me more than enough time to get through all but the longest, most drawn out RPGs around. On the other hand, it's a goal I can easily obtain with nary a second thought, and can easily adjust once I get into a groove. I'm guessing that I'll eventually push that quota up to two RPGs a month, or one RPG every two weeks, but I'll worry about the boring logistics later. For now, it's friggin' RPG time.

My first play through will be Lunar: Harmony of the Silver Star on PSP, the second remake of one of my favorite RPGs of all time, Lunar: The Silver Star. Being a game I'm quite familiar with, it's already been quite easy to get into, and now that my Japanese skill is at a good enough level to understand the "gist" of most everything in the game, I can see just how cleverly and skillfully Working Designs translated the original games. It's quite a treat for an old fan of the series such as myself.
I'm only a few hours in, so far... and even having completed the previous two Lunar: The Silver Star games multiple times, I've already managed to get lost. I can't even blame it on my lousy Japanese, either - this is just the kind of oldskool RPG where puzzles can and will screw you and make you lose an hour bumbling around and battling respawned monsters the entire time. I love these oldskool RPGs.

Yes, there are far better native materials to dive into than video games, that I'm aware of. But when it comes to things that draw me in for hours at a time, nothing beats RPGs. While I have trouble sticking with manga or dramas or anime consistently (and tend to get frustrated too easily yet to stick with a novel), RPGs are an almost instantaneous addiction. Consistency is key to success, and playing an RPG from start to finish is something I rarely have trouble being consistent with (unless that game is Final Fantasy 10, oh god). This is an addiction I'll gladly give into it when I get so much out of it.

I needs my fix, man.

Turning a weakness into something I can exploit to my benefit? You bet I'm gonna take advantage of that! To be fair, I've been playing very few games these past few months, and really haven't felt the desire to do so very much short of a few short sessions here and there. ...
And that's why it's time to awaken the dormant beast once again and get my game on! Can I get a hell yeah.

Of course, that won't be the only thing I focus on this year. I continue to partake in all the drama, anime and manga I can get my grubby mitts on, not to mention the blogs I read regularly, and the hour or two of SRSing I do each day. As time goes on, I also find myself naturally increasing my immersion as I'm able to understand and enjoy more and more, with Japanese slowly but surely beginning to overtake English as the dominant language. Such a feisty one, that Japanese.

How far will this RPG-mania take my Japanese skills? Who knows, but I know that I'll be enjoying every minute of it and getting a heck of a lot of needed exposure. Besides, how awesome is it to SRS words such as 経験値 and 幻獣? Eh, eh?!


Thomas ( said...

"Yes, there are far better native materials to dive into than video games, that I'm aware of. But when it comes to things that draw me in for hours at a time, nothing beats RPGs."

I disagree. I think the very fact that they draw you into Japanese for hours makes RPGs the *best* native materials for you.

Plus, real Japanese kids play them growing up so its authentic. I've learned a lot of Japanese from playing games on my DS. Great way to spend your time in Japanese!

Burritolingus said...

Haha, exactly!

I may be encountering more vocabulary and grammar points if I were to read a novel, but it would take me several times longer and a heck of a lot more frustration to do so. Perhaps I might be spending a lot of my ingame time wandering around or battling monsters, but it's still a great deal of exposure and something I easily become glued to. A recipe for success.

Actually, one of the biggest reasons I became interested in reading and writing at a very young age was thanks to RPGs. Simple as the stories and dialogue may have been back in the 8-bit and 16-bit days, there's little doubt in my mind that they helped pave the way for my native language skills. It's really a nice feeling to repeat this process in Japanese, this time as a grown'd up.