🇯🇵🏌️ Gauging Interest: A Japanese Game Club…!?

Unrelated to my participation I just was readin and saw mention of Digital Glider Airman and I wanted to say hellll yeeaaaaa. I recently bought this on a whim and am highly pleased with its fidelity, depth, content, feel and style. (Also you gotta play Panekit if you haven’t, but you prolly have heard that from me indirectly already)

Also for y’alls consideration is 蒼天の白き神の座GreatPeak (そうてんのしろきのくら), a mountain climbing sim that is part rts part oregon trail. You can get by pretty minimally language-wise and everyone will have a unique experience. Anyways, I am just a bystander here throwin out an idea you’re welcome to ignore.


I think you’re the only other person I’ve ever seen mention Sōten no Shiroki Kami no Za [edit: apparently it is actually read Sōten no Shiroki Kami no Kura]. I played that for about an hour a few years back, got the impression that it was some sort of menu-based educational shovelware (à la those digital encyclopedias you’d occasionally get on PS1, such as UFO o Oe!) – but I suppose I was wrong, and it’s menu-based educational good stuff? I need to give it a second chance. Can’t tell you how happy I am to read that recommendation.


I’m a learner trying to find a way to make a regular input habit stick, so put me down as a maybe! I get pretty bogged down with work from time to time but I just finished a bunch of big projects in a row so I’m hoping I’ll have some time opening up :-O


Oh boy you’re in for a treat. It initially seems like a buncha nothing indeed but it really is that someone went and designed a dynamic-squad-deploying, character-stat-tracking, mountain-mountain-weather-simulating, mountain climbing game cuz they really gave a shit about real mountain climbing. Language wise I can see it as a fit because if you just need to play theres not too much that blocks you, but if you wanna read it all you’re gonna learn all sorts of technical language about mountaineering.

(And not sure if thats the accepted reading when the game’s listed online, but the spine of the game explicitly has the last character with kura as the furigana; which as I was typing my last post seems to be a super oddball reading, cuz I couldnt get it to come up when typing)

Ed: Oh and if you’d like gimme a shout and I can at least send you a scan of the manual. Not super needed if you follow the initial video tuts but might help you get over the hump. Final tips are: rename your climbers so you have the true Oregon Trail “Oh no my brother is lost on the mountain” experience, and try to not save scum too much.


To me, that sounds pretty unique game-wise and language-wise. Thanks for the recommendation! If we get this off the ground I’d be glad to dive into it.

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Ah, you know what I think has happened there? I think they’re using 鞍 (kura; saddle) for the poetry of the word, but writing it as 座 (za; seat) to better convey what they’re going for. Kanji as explanation for the furigana, rather than the furigana specifying an actual reading of the kanji.

It’s always boggled my noggin something fierce that this secondary type of furigana – the type that doesn’t simply inform the reader how an established word is read – can go both ways. Typically, the kanji would specify the meaning, while the furigana offers the cooler (though more inscrutable) way in which it’s actually said (as is the case with this kura) – for example, attack names in manga often come in the style of “烈火コンフラグレーション”. It happens, however, that the furigana instead is the explanatory element – take, for example, “お天道様たいよう”. In this example, people may not be aware of the idiomatic meaning of Otendō-sama, so the author might interject the furigana as an unobtrusive explanation.

What’s particularly interesting to me about this duality is that both cases can be argued to function the way standard furigana (that specifies a regular reading) does: the former because it specifies the reading, and the latter because it’s a comprehension aid.

Incidentally, this is the second time I’ve been highly excited about your taste in PS1 games, hahah. (The first time being your Panekit thread, of course.) You’re so legit…

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Panekit is great, I need to check I actually finished it tho. My memory ain’t what it used to be.

Kuniaki Watanabe went on to create the games in MaBoShi on Wii (they all existed as prototypes and flash or hot soup processor games before they were corralled into one game, let me know if you want them). For me MaBoShi’s Circle game is one of the greatest of all time.


Maboshi was originally part of the games which were greenlit with the Game Boy Micro in mind, similar to the BitGenerations games, Tsūkin Hitofude, Rhythm Tengoku, etc.

The GBA version eventually got cancelled but they were ported to the Nintendo DS and made available through local download via the WiiWare version. There was a cool mini-documentary / developer interview covering this story on the Wii PR* channel (*forgot its exact name, the one that gave some news and exclusive trailers about upcoming games). Unfortunately, I don’t think it was ever archived on a currently available video sharing site.

Great Peak is a great choice for this topic’s endeavor: peak (heh) SCEI producers doing whatever goes through their minds and not caring about what a video game is supposed to be and being greenlit thanks to the astonishing success of Parappa the Rapper and Gran Turismo-Era. Nature games in general are a good choice for their vocabulary.

Animal Crossing is also an amazing daily Japanese lesson if you commit to playing it in Japanese – and in the case of the Switch game, you can still play multiplayer with friends or family members who have their own game set in a different language.


Ohhh, this is a great point. Maybe I’ll have one of the earlier ones as a daily thing.

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This is amazing info i was not aware of, and I just checked with my little birdies and learned a bit more about this. yes it’s all true, and some.

The search is on find the video in question.

Here are screenshots of the two prototypes (stick game never had a prototype)

  • mosser (square game aka flame tail)
  • circular (circle game)


Wow, that is a superb idea. Now I’m racking my brain trying to consider other games that encourage you to play them in daily, bite-sized chunks. (The upcoming Persona 3 Reload day-by-day challenge comes to mind…)

Here’s another idea for would-be Nihongo Game Clubbers: Clyde Medellin of LegendsOfLocalization customized some emulators and wrote some plug-ins that let you play some games in English while also showing you the original Japanese, as well as other translations, on the side of the screen. It’s called WanderBar and you can find it here. That could be a good resource.

Of the games he wrote plug-ins for, I’d say these would be text-y enough to learn from:

  • Breath of Fire 2
  • Final Fantasy 4
  • Final Fantasy 6
  • Super Mario RPG

The best feature of the program, if you ask me, is that if you mouse over the Japanese text, a pop-up dictionary gives you the rundown on the vocabulary.

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My experience has always been that experiencing a piece of media in Japanese with English subtitles amounts to little in the way of learning – your brain seeks refuge in the familiar when the option is present, rather than absorbing the new. I’d wager that playing a game in English with the Japanese script beside it would be much the same! I’d imagine that Clyde’s software is more useful for comparing scripts as a cultural-historical pursuit, or to, say, become a better translator – but that’s a different beast than learning the language.

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Wouldn’t it be perfect if the software had it reversed, so it was really a Japanese ROM with English on the side? (Or better yet, a Japanese ROM with the pop-up dictionary feature. Plain text on the side for example, that you could highlight.) If only!

I don’t think so! That’d still act as English subtitles. That dictionary look-up, however, would probably be a humdinger of a feature. When I was getting off the ground with Japanese novels, the feature built into most e-readers that lets you look up a word by selecting it – in a dictionary in the same language – was a real boon. It helped me become more comfortable with using Japanese-language dictionaries as well – there are plenty of words of which you’ll get a misleading definition (or no definition at all) using Japanese-to-English dictionaries.

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