Friday, October 17, 2008

My Japanese Coach reviewed

As I mentioned previously on this blog, I was the lead programmer on My Japanese Coach and My Chinese Coach. While My Chinese Coach has been out a while, My Japanese Coach seems to have a lot more buzz surrounding it, and was just released on Tuesday Oct. 14th. The first reviews are in, and the overwhelming majority seem to be pretty positive. While the larger review outlets have yet to say anything about the game, I found the following links on some more obscure websites:

http://diehardgamefan.com/2008/10/17/review-my-japanese-coach-nds/

http://robgalbreath.com/2008/10/16/the-first-my-japanese-coach-review/

Now, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. No one is more eager to read reviews of games than the people who worked on them. Most of the people on my team google "My Japanese Coach review" nearly every day. We want to know what people think of our games. We are very interested in knowing what parts you liked, or didn't like so we can use that knowledge to make the best possible product in the future. I will most likely be the lead programmer on future language coach titles, so I will definitely take into consideration a lot of the things people write about these games. We even read message boards, like on GameSpot, or user reviews on Amazon.

I have noticed, in reading reviews and comments about the game, that there are some issues that keep coming up. I would like to address some of those here:
  1. There are 100 scripted lessons in the game. My Spanish Coach and My French Coach only had 40 scripted lessons, but Japanese and Chinese both have 100. There are about 1000 lessons total, but after the first 100, they are pretty much just vocabulary lessons made up of random groupings of words from the dictionary, with 10 words per lesson.
  2. There has been some misinformation in the reviews regarding how the stroke recognition system works. No, it does not just count the number of strokes, but actually uses stroke recognition to compare your strokes against the stored strokes from our artists. Obviously this system can be hit or miss, causing it to be somewhat confusing as to how it actually works (Brain Age anyone?). The stroke recognition system did not change between the Chinese and Japanese versions of the game, so any reviews that say otherwise are simply remembering it wrong.
  3. There have been complaints that people want to use kana/kanji earlier on in the game. Unfortunately, the first time that it defaults to something other than romaji is at lesson 30. At this point, you can go into the options and switch it back to romaji if you wish. For more in-depth kana/kanji prior to lesson 30, you can always go into the writing comparison module and practice these anytime you want.
  4. The review on diehardgamefan.com mentions "...with the DS lite, you will find some severe stylus detection issues." The stylus detection system did not change in the slightest. I think the reviewer's DS lite is just defective.
  5. Some reviewers/commenters have noted that some of the characters (VERY few, from my understanding) require you to use the wrong stroke order to get them correct. With thousands of characters in the dictionary, there were bound to be some incorrect strokes that would get overlooked. Unfortunately, I speak Spanish, not Japanese, so I was much more helpful on My Spanish Coach than on this game, as far as the language itself is concerned.

If you have any desire to learn Japanese for any reason, then I highly recommend this title (I hear it's a great companion for imported Japanese games). But you don't have to take my word for it. The reviews speak for themselves.

If you have any questions about the game, or wish to discuss a specific aspect of it, I'd be glad to facilitate those here on this blog. And if you want to meet our Japanese expert, his blog can be found at:
http://darkeneddreamsgame.blogspot.com.

60 comments:

Christy said...

When are you going to do My German Coach?

Kii said...

I tried this title out, and I also found some detection issues on my DS lite. (Although it has forced me to have better handwriting, writing yu still only works 60% of the time unless I take about 10 seconds to write the character. Yo and katakana e are no better.)
I was hoping to use this game as a way to refresh my Japanese-- I've studied the language for six years and I've needed some serious kanji practice. I was disappointed that when I finished my placement test I was put into lesson 11. 11! I'm curious to know the highest lesson you can be placed in at the beginning, and if I somehow did something wrong.

Alex said...

Just to let you know, Ubisoft sent us two copies of My Japanese Coach to review. We've tried them on three different DS lites now (compared to two in the review), along with 2 old model DS'.

The stylus detection issues occur only on the DS lite's and not with the old model DS'. For it to be four DS Liter's having this error (and our readers have actually said the thing happens with their games after reading my review) it's either a DS lite screen issue across the board or it's MJC.

Again, the issue only comes up if you're on you're back with the DS lite raised in the air. It's a very minor thing because not many people play that way (I'm weird I know), but it's definitely something to look into both on our end, as the first site your publisher gave the game to, and you as the developer.

I hope it does turn out that it's either the DS lite or we just through years of hard reviewing useage have three lite's with the same exact error that seems to only happen with this game, rather than it be a software issue ala SNK's Cardfighter's clash where the game was fine save for a certain print run.

Anyway, aside form that one odd issue, you probably noticed I loved the game. I just wish other sites would plug the Coach games because they really do deserve the attention. You guys do an excellent job and you're filling an important niche in the industry.

-Alex Lucard
EIC, Diehard GameFAN

Nemesis said...

Hello!
I've been studying japanese for a few months now, and a couple of days ago I managed to get a copy of my japanese coach. In a nutshell: this game is pretty good. It helps me to refresh words that I've learned and to push my japanese forward.
Now I'm in lesson 20, and as many other people have said in the gamefaqs messageboard, it would've been nice to be able to read hiragana/katakana straight away.

But so far, I've found the game very interesting.
Felicitaciones por el juego!

Shew said...

Hi there.

I'm currently studying and higher level education in the UK in Graphic Design (I imported your game first chance I had). I've applied for the JET program along with my Lecturer who has spent 12 years living in Japan. Upon showing him this game, he was eager to note that it will be more than enough to tide you over, and was generally very impressed.

I've been studying using (do I call it "your" game? haha!) "My Japanese Coach" and I can rightfully say that this program is wonderful. It is taught in a very good way.

In regards to the reviewers comments, I'd have to say they really are looking over what the program is designed for. In its job as both an introductory lesson and an accompaniment to further study, it more than satisfies its role. The minor mistakes in stroke order can be rectified easily with a little tuition and I personally have had no trouble with the stroke recognition aspect. But the general consensus is still brilliant! Hopefully with this program, I'll be able to extend my profession to another country.

Overall, I love it! Thank you so much for you and the teams work!


Regards from Overseas fans in UK and eventually Japan!

CD Relacion said...

I've studied japanese for a while prior to this game and I can say that I'm liking this game.

The problem I have though as with all my language coach titles (I have my spanish coach) is that there is no minigame that is made specifically for learning verbs and verb forms. I would have liked a minigame that is a combination of fill-in-the-blank and multiple choice where you choose the appropriate verb form to fill in the blank in a sentence.

I like the minigames for teaching kana and kanji though, especially the scrolls and write cards minigame. I think they are the most helpful minigames for learning kanji.

Funny thing is that think that flash cards with kana/kanji on in easy mode is the hardest because imho, it is more difficult to read japanese.

Anyway, I like the game, but I do hope that there will be a My Japanese Coach 2 that will be like an extended version of My Japanese Coach plus new minigames and more focus on kanji (I didn't care for the intermediate version of the other language coaches). This game might make me confident enough to try taking at least JLPT level 4.

thegameprogrammer said...

Considering the stylus detection code hasn't changed, I would bet that your problem with DS Lites is inherent in the actual hardware. Perhaps the DS Lite screens are just not as sensitive as the screen on the original DS.

Alexxx said...

I hope that italian version will be well done as the english one.

I found this a wonderful game to learn or practique the japanese.

And I hope that will be a new version for advanced students.

Anyway is missing a game for only kana (write a kana without examples) and write a kanji ( but maybe i have to wait for more lessons).

And a question i did not understand wich games became in kana after lesson 30.

phauna said...

The main problem seems to be not being allowed to use kana from the start. I mean, some people may even want to use kanji from the start, depending on their level. Surely it would be relatively easy to have an option which toggles romaji, kana and kanji.

The other annoying thing for non-beginners is the placement test which doesn't really judge your level much higher than a beginner. For someone who would like to start half way through all the lessons, at least, I'm not sure if I can be bothered going through all the easy words such as car, person, etc. just to get to my level.

I mean, most people who buy this game will not be absolute beginners.

Alain said...

How many kanji there are (more or less) in the game?

Felicidades por el juego.

thegameprogrammer said...

There are 1950 kanji in the game.

Annabel said...

The Game Programmer wrote:
> Some reviewers/commenters have noted that
> some of the characters (VERY few, from my
> understanding) require you to use the wrong
> stroke order to get them correct. With thousands
> of characters in the dictionary, there were
> bound to be some incorrect strokes that
> would get overlooked.

It was really bugging me that some of my kana characters were being marked wrong even though I knew I was writing them correctly. So I sat down with MJC and a reference book, and this is what I found:

In the hiragana, wrong characters include:
ka na mo ya yo

In the katakana:
e ka chi ne no hi me ya wa

Pardon me, but that's not VERY FEW. That's 14 out of 94--just shy of 15% of the basic kana characters have either wrong stroke order, wrong stroke direction, or wrong stroke count (!) This is really inexcusable--especially considering that hiragana "ka," "mo," and "yo" are all frequently used particles.

What's even more discombobulating is that some of the characters listed above are shown correctly in their first introduction but graded differently in the mini-games. Hiragana "ka" seems to be the most egregious example. In one game, "ka" has the wrong stroke order while "ga" is correct... in the same word! Katakana "wa" is correct in the example (two strokes, short one first) but requires you to write it as all one stroke in the mini-games.

Haruka-sensei harps on correct stroke order, and she's right--it's really important in Japanese. Every standard reference book on the kana gives correct stroke order. I'm at a complete loss to understand how so many mistakes appear in the most basic character sets. No amount of rationalization can explain it. Honestly, this has eroded my confidence in the entire game. One can only imagine the quality control on the kanji, if that many errors made it to release in the kana...!

I'm sorry if this sounds like a personal attack on you, TGP... it's not. But really! The right thing to do would be to hire someone to do a thorough assessment of all the characters (in the mini-games as well as in the lesson proper, please!), correct the errors, and re-issue the damn thing.

(No, I'm not holding my breath.)

Annabel said...

(Darn, can't edit the previous post.)

Let me say, however, that the conjugations and table of bases for verbs in the dictionary is a way cool feature. But tainted with doubt... are they really correct?

phauna said...

I've come back after doing the first fifty lessons or so, and yes the kana stroke order is so wrong, so many characters are wrong. I, like annabel, can understand a few kanji errors, but kana are *so* basic, and so often used in the game that I just can't use those minigames that require me to use them anymore. I don't want to practice wrong stroke order.

The many Japanese produced kanji training titles that I have are extremely accurate, I haven't come across any errors in kanji stroke order, and certainly not in kana!

The other problem is too much romaji. I've got to a lesson level where most games are now using kana, for example multiple choice, but do games such as bridge builder ever use kana? What about spelltastic, I imagine with the format it will never revert to kana, so what is the point of it? Surely a kana keyboard would have been just as easy to put in as an alphabetic one. There is no need to ever learn romaji spelling of words at all once you've learned kana.

Alain said...

Annabel, you are OK about too many kana writing errors in the game but the ka hiragana is correct in the game.

It is a big problem because i thought that i was wrong because i forgot the writing ways but the incorrect was the game.

Anyway, the mistake is not TGP responsability as he said: "I speak Spanish, not Japanese, so I was much more helpful on My Spanish Coach than on this game, as far as the language itself is concerned".

Unfortunately, these mistakes force me to stop learning japanese with this game.

Alain said...

I hope these mistakes to be corrected in the european versions of the game (specially in the spanish version)

Annabel said...

Okay, here's my systematic list. A couple of changes from the previous one.

Lesson/screen/syllable:

10/2 na
10/10 pu
13/2 mo
17/4 ya yo
17/7 kya cho
17/11 e
20/4 ka
20/6 me
22/4 chi
22/5 ne no
24/4 hi
24/7 wo
24/9 (fading characters game: wa=shown correctly but graded wrongly)

In mini-games, hiragana bu is also wrong (see manafu, 21/7).

I swear I saw hiragana ka written wrong in one of the minigames, but I can't find it, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Also, in my previous list, I had katakana ya, which is a mistake on my part. However, since two of the six y-row characters are wrong, that also means that many of the combining-y characters are also wrong (kya, kyo, sha, sho, cha, cho, etc.)

I think anyone would agree: this is a crazy high number of mistakes in a very basic and fundamental area of the program.

Annabel said...

Dammit, I meant "manabu," not "manafu" :-P

TSlip said...

In the character recognition phases of MJC, I have dead areas where I cannot trace the given character. I have a DS, and 2 DSlites, and the same characters have the same issues on all 3 handhelds. Recalibrating the tuoch pad worked only for the first 2 repeats of the characters.

thegameprogrammer said...

I have never seen that before. I guarantee the drawing area doesn't change between characters. Not sure what could be causing your problem. Has anyone else had this issue?

jayjaywalker3 said...

Well I was reading comments on the games on DS Daily:
http://www.dsfanboy.com/2009/01/08/ds-daily-fluent-yet/#comments
I purchased My Chinese Coach to help me master the writing of many characters. I pick up the reading and speaking fast but the writing has always been hard for me. One thing I noticed in the game is that the traditional characters in the dictionary are extremely small and I can't seem to find a way to open the entries so I can see them decently. Another thing a bunch of people mentioned on the website including me was the lack of precise selection as to what characters to include in the games. I wanted to review writing characters that I was supposed to have mastered but the game kept giving me numbers and days of the week which I have definitely mastered. I was also wondering if there was a stroke order problem on My Chinese Coach or if it was just me knowing the characters wrong. I have been overriding what I thought was right before with the stroke order from the game.

thegameprogrammer said...

There are several features (and fixes) we would definitely put in any future titles (which are up to Ubisoft). As far as reviewing mastered characters from previous lessons, I would suggest going to the lessons that teach those characters and playing the minigames there, or go to the writing practice section to practice the characters. Otherwise, you're just going to wait around until the game randomly gives you the characters you've mastered.

Todd said...

I have been trying to find out at what level of 'mastery' you proceed to the next level after H.S. Sophomore. It seems I am at around 1700 words mastered now, but havent changed from a Sophomore in at least 500-600 words. Is there a breakdown somewhere of how many words need to be mastered before moving on to the next level?

thegameprogrammer said...

Unfortunately, you still have a very long way to go. Once you hit the open plan (lesson 100) the ranks are spread out quite a bit. There are only 6 more ranks that cover the rest of the open lessons. H.S. Junior will be unlocked at lesson 270. You can check out the post that details the cheat if you want to move ahead a little faster.

Todd said...

Is there a table that lists the different levels and what lesson they are unlocked at? (Senior, College Freshman, etc) I plan on going all the way without the cheat. :) Love the game though.

thegameprogrammer said...

Next rankings at:
440
610
780
949
1145 - University Senior, final rank

MarkN said...

I am a beginner and like the game. It's helpful in learning, especially the kana (I havne't gotten to Kanji yet). But I have one problem not mentioned yet here. When selecting games to practice what you are supposed to know, the "mastered" selection doesn't work right. If you select it the machine doesn't give you games just using mastered words. It gives you games with words mostly from the current lesson, which you haven't learned yet. This means you can never just do a review of random words that you already learned.

MarkN said...

I should add, this is a bigger problem than it may sound like. It makes it really hard to study using the DS.

thegameprogrammer said...

When you select Mastered, make sure you unselect Open, because the game allows you to do a mixture. If you only want mastered words, only select Mastered. It will give you a random mix of mastered words, some of which could be from the current lesson.

MarkN said...

It worked! Many thanks.

aaron said...

It would be nice to be able to skip more lessons at the beginning for intermediate learners. Having said that I was surprised by some of the vocab that came up in the earlier lessons. Perhaps there could be feature that once you have skipped a certain number of lessons a list of vocabulary from those lessons could appear on a different screen.

As stated by others it would be nice if kana were used in the mini games (e.g. bridge builder and spelltastic) and in particular if the dictionary featured a combination of romaji, kana and kanji.

Minor point...but frustrating. Okinawa isn't included in the map as you travel about Japan doing the first 100 lessons. I was looking forward to seeing it but disappointed to find that it had been omitted (like it all to commonly is).

Overall though a useful and motivating study tool.

MarkN said...

Having made it a little farther in the lessons, I have another comment for you, which I hope is helpful. The lesson on informal verbs is very confusing and hardly teaches them at all. The one example it shows are actually the formal forms! At first I thought they look just the same as the formal ones, and checked a previous and that was true. But then, a few pages later, a list of informal endings was given and they were clearly different than the example. To make matters more difficult, the new game introduced for verbs, Bridge builder, seems to only use the formal form in it's sentences. I tried checking the dictionary and clicking on the V's that are supposed to be next to verbs, but the V's are only available when you select the entire dictionary, rather than when you select the dictionary of mastered words.

I recommend fixing the lesson, and making bridge builder more specific to the lesson it is used with. I also recommend making the V selection available in the mastered dictionary. Another feature that would be very nice is some way to look things up in the dictionary. Maybe you could use the write screen to write characters to help find the word.

I think the game is really useful and I like it a lot, so I thought I would give you this feedback.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you might like to know why I and many others didn't buy the game.

I had been looking forward to the game a long time and many people I knew were too. So I was really disappointed with a few things.

After reading lots of reviews, my impression is that it is for beginners and is a nice introduction to the language. I have studied for over 3 years.

The problems with having to get to level 30 or so before using kana also put me off. Many commentators said they had to go through so many easy words they already knew.

Up to now, many Japanese learners have been using DS software that is intended for Japanese Native speakers like Kanken DS 3(provides tests, training, games to practice for the kanken test which thousands of Japanese people take each year. Many blogs and forums rate this very highly). It focuses on reading example sentences and having to write the readings of the kanji, or read the kana and write the Japanese. You can take a 10- min test or 40 minutes. Any wrong answers can be saved and reviewed later, and all kanji can be looked up, with readings and example sentences provided. If you had this kind of format included with English translations...you'd be on to a real winner.

Also, there is only one recognized Japanese test which is taken every year, all over the world, by thousands of students and increasing. It's multiple choice format. It's called The Japanese Language Proficiency Test(JLPT). With various levels. If you incorporated practice tests(like kanken DS 1,2, and 3 do for the kanken test.) you would greatly increase the number of people who bought your product! Believe me, word of mouth would get round the forums and many people would buy your product just for that part. Maybe for my Japanese coach 2?

One more thing. I and a lot of others would love you to include a SRS: Spaced Repetition System like Anki (you can google it, and download for free). It's basically a flash card system, you make your own cards, and it asks you a question and then after you see answer, you rate how easily you remembered it. So if it was Very easy, you press 4 and you won't be asked that question for 3 days. Press 2(very difficult) and it asks you the same question in 8 hours. The more you click that the answer was easy, the more time passes until you are asked the same question again.

Look around many of the forums and blogs right now for those studying Japanese and you'll see that they all recommend using an SRS and rave about how useful and convenient it is. They also lament that it’s not on the DS which would be ideal for it.

Well, that's my 50 cents. And if you're looking for new ideas for a MY Japanese Coach 2...I believe if you add in these suggestions you'll get many more people to buy your product.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you might like to know why I and many others didn't buy the game.

I had been looking forward to the game a long time and many people I knew were too. So I was really disappointed with a few things.

After reading lots of reviews, my impression is that it is for beginners and is a nice introduction to the language. I have studied for over 3 years.

The problems with having to get to level 30 or so before using kana also put me off. Many commentators said they had to go through so many easy words they already knew.

Up to now, many Japanese learners have been using DS software that is intended for Japanese Native speakers like Kanken DS 3(provides tests, training, games to practice for the kanken test which thousands of Japanese people take each year. Many blogs and forums rate this very highly). It focuses on reading example sentences and having to write the readings of the kanji, or read the kana and write the Japanese. You can take a 10- min test or 40 minutes. Any wrong answers can be saved and reviewed later, and all kanji can be looked up, with readings and example sentences provided. If you had this kind of format included with English translations...you'd be on to a real winner.

Also, there is only one recognized Japanese test which is taken every year, all over the world, by thousands of students and increasing. It's multiple choice format. It's called The Japanese Language Proficiency Test(JLPT). With various levels. If you incorporated practice tests(like kanken DS 1,2, and 3 do for the kanken test.) you would greatly increase the number of people who bought your product! Believe me, word of mouth would get round the forums and many people would buy your product just for that part. Maybe for my Japanese coach 2?

One more thing. I and a lot of others would love you to include a SRS: Spaced Repetition System like Anki (you can google it, and download for free). It's basically a flash card system, you make your own cards, and it asks you a question and then after you see answer, you rate how easily you remembered it. So if it was Very easy, you press 4 and you won't be asked that question for 3 days. Press 2(very difficult) and it asks you the same question in 8 hours. The more you click that the answer was easy, the more time passes until you are asked the same question again.

Look around many of the forums and blogs right now for those studying Japanese and you'll see that they all recommend using an SRS and rave about how useful and convenient it is. They also lament that it’s not on the DS which would be ideal for it.

Well, that's my 50 cents. And if you're looking for new ideas for a MY Japanese Coach 2...I believe if you add in these suggestions you'll get many more people to buy your product.

NapoleonsOwner said...

I love this game SO MUCH

NapoleonsOwner said...

I'm addicted to anything Nintendo DS. How do people get to review the games and have the games being sent to them? That sounds pretty interesting.

Micah Cowan said...

One additional note on kana stroke ordering, since it hasn't been mentioned yet (and yes, getting so many kana wrong is a very serious shortcoming).

I note, though, that in some cases—particularly hiragana "na" な and katakana "ne" ネ (in both cases, a quick top-jot follows what's underneath, rather than the other way around), I just can't bring myself to believe that the original artists wrote the strokes that way. I've found a few others who agree that it would be difficult to imagine how someone would come to believe that's the correct stroke order: it's not only wrong, it's counter-intuitive.

Is it possible that some of the strokes got swapped around a bit or something?

Also, katakana "wa" ワ is demonstrated correctly as a short down stroke and a longer second stroke across and down; but the recognition apparently only accepts a single stroke (up, across, down)... so apparently the demonstration and recognition don't always agree.

I'd say that probably little-to-none of this is development's fault (if some strokes got swapped or something, some of it may be), but I would like to state my hope that this will demonstrate to Sensory Sweep that they ought to carefully rethink their QA strategy: this is exactly the sort of thing that ought to have been caught fairly early on in QA testing. Perhaps not enough people actually familiar with the language were involved with testing the product?

NapoleonsLunch said...

I blogged earlier about this and I must say ... I have advanced further into the game of My Japanese Coach and it is simply very addictive. I highly recommend it to anyone.. although it would help if you have a prior light knowledge of hiragana and katakana before starting through the lessons.

Some stroke orders are a bit off the mark however it is easily overlooked. :-/

otherwise, its a fantastic game!

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Justin Stressman said...

A few comments and questions...

First off I'm wondering if Annabel is still keeping a running tally of the errors as she finds them? I'm looking at putting together a wiki page on our website to keep track of the errors so that people (like myself) can try to work around them in the game.

Second, I do have to say that I'm very disappointed that this game appears to have such incredibly poor quality control. :( These are incredibly basic errors that any native Japanese person would have caught immediately.

I've caught a few other errors myself in playing... for instance:

lesson 21 - page 3 (actually shows vocab from lesson 19 page 5), and page 5 (actually shows vocab from lesson 19 page 12) - text talks about informal forms, but the examples are the formal forms from the earlier lesson 19.

lesson 40 - page 10 - the voice says "kore ga" but the text says "sore ga/それが".

I've also noticed a number of other bugs and quality issues such as sound file issues (pops, clicks etc... "でも" being an example), bugs or problem with the design of the Bridge Building game (pieces won't go into place causing the clock to run out and game to end, but then they work fine the next game), or where the car sounds drown out the voice reciting the sentence, defeating the purpose of saying the phrase.

A few issues with an occasional screen flicker... which only happens for a split second. It looks like a split second of slight video memory corruption. I'll try to watch for it to see if it only happens on a particular part of the game.

I get the button tapping problem very frequently... where the game will make the sound as though you tapped the button, but the button will not actually activate and you have to tap it again.

I'm only on level 40 currently, so that's all I have for now.

I do really enjoy playing this game and really wish there weren't so many errors. I was very excited to be able to learn how to write the kana and kanji, but after seeing how riddled with errors that part of the game is, I've had to completely avoid using that feature. :(

I really hope that Ubisoft will either consider releasing a revised version of the game, or being MUCH more careful on quality control in the future (which doesn't help me at all right now with my game), and maybe that they might consider some of the other desired features such as SRS, content geared toward the JLPT (which moves to a new 5 level system as of the Dec 6th test this year) and so forth.

This game has incredible potential, but as Annabel says, these egregious quality control oversights really poison the well and make using this as any sort of real learning tool questionable at best. :(

Justin Stressman said...

Also, the comment preceding my previous comment is obviously spam. Please delete/report it and then delete this comment as well (which is why I posted this separately from my real comment about the game).

Thanks. :)

(Death to spammers!) >:(

thegameprogrammer said...

Mr. Stressman, you certainly live up to your name. I left that company a long time ago after they stopped paying me. So, while I'm sure you spent a lot of your valuable time crafting this exquisite essay pointing out all the flaws in some random language training game, you should know that I, as the programmer of this title, don't care, and neither does anyone else.

Justin Stressman said...

Thanks for the exceedingly polite and helpful response. ;)

However, despite your attitude a lot of people do in fact care about this. And as the head admin of a Japanese Language Learning website, such information is rather important to what we do.

With that said, I've figured out one of the other "bugs" that was bugging me as well.

The problem I was having with tabbing on navigation buttons seeming to only work sometimes was because on the navigation controls only you can press on the button and without lifting the stylus, slide it off of the button before letting up. This will highlight the button and make the activation sound, but will not actually activate the button.

On all the other clickable buttons tapping on the button will activate it regardless of whether or not you slide the stylus off before releasing it.

So as the navigation buttons are generally by the bottom edge of the screen, it's easier to tap toward the top edge of the button and have the stylus slide slightly upward and off of the button before lifting again, thus highlighting the button and making the activation sound without actually activating it.

Another booboo I noticed was on lesson 43 on page 3 it introduces candy as キャンディー, but page 5 for the example sentence is uses おかし, which does actually mean candy, but isn't the word introduced, and isn't the word they use in any of the lessons for that chapter etc (nor any of the next several yet that I've seen).

So while you might not care at all about these things, a lot of us who went out and bought this game DO actually care about... and many of the users on our site DO care about them and are helping to compile a list of such things so that we know what to work around.

I just got this game a few days ago and I know many other people who either just got this themselves, or are planning on buying it... so it's not like this is irrelevant ancient history just because YOU moved on and neither give a shit about the game now, nor apparently did very much even then.

じゃ~

Justin Stressman said...

For those who actually care and might be interested in contributing to the list and finding out more information about other errors or bugs as we find them, I've started a thread on the topic on our forum:

"My Japanese Coach" Nintendo DS game errors and bugs.

It's still a really fun game and I'm currently on level 45. :) And the grammar and vocabulary information seems sound... so it's still worthwhile to have fun with and does help learning those things and keeping one active in their learning, which is a key thing for learning a language. :)

がんばってね! :)

Califer said...

Justin. What do you hope to accomplish by posting bugs here? I'm sure that it's helpful for you to know the bugs for your Japanese site, but the owner of this blog is specifically a programmer and not an expert in Japanese.

Justin Stressman said...

I was just posting them for other people who run across this blog while looking for this type of information on this game, as I did.

I was looking on google for information about the bugs etc, and this is the site I found. So for others that do the same thing, they can find helpful information and now a link to a more appropriate place to continue the discussion.

Doesn't seem like it's doing any harm.

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ErikaT said...

So I'm super late to this post but I've been playing on and off for about 2 years as well as taking Japanese at a community college. I think the game is great, it expands your vocabulary while teaching important basics. My only real complaint came after renting my spanish coach. I wanted to see how different they are and the only thing I wish was in the Japanese is the fill in the blank mini game. You did a great job of using conjugation in a timed test. Maybe I'm not far enough, lesson 95, but I feel the Japanese fill in the blank doesn't go anywhere. Most of the time I avoid it thinking I won't improve. If ubisoft continues with these I think modeling after the Spanish version is ideal for this mini game.

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