Video games for young teens to practice Japanese

Playing games can be fun and highly motivating as well to keep up and improve language knowledge.

By
Helen Geyer
Updated on
February 10, 2021
5 min read

How do you keep young teens motivated to practice Japanese, especially when living abroad? Video games being a very popular hobby, especially at that age, they're usually not considered to be educational. However, what if you let your adolescents play and learn a language at the same time?

This immersive method can be highly rewarding for linguistic knowledge, also from the gameplay perspective. To increase learning success even more, it's useful to check unknown words and take notes.

The following games were created by Japanese developers and have a version available in this language. All are entire series of games and their anime-style design makes them also very appealing to young teenagers. Subtitles are usually offered both in Kana and Kanji, which makes for a good reading practice, too! The games are arranged in order of recommended age.

Pokémon

Part of one of the most well-known Japanese franchises, this game about catching and training creatures has already engaged several generations. It's also suitable for less proficient speakers and has a straighforward gameplay. In this RPG, the same words are repeated often, which facilitates language learning. Even though it's recommended starting at age 7, its popularity extends across to teenagers and adults as well.

Age recommendation: 7+

Ni No Kuni

This magical RGP includes artwork by the well-renowned Studio Ghibli and thus makes the entertaining game pleasing to the eye. Young protagonists and speakers keep young teens engaged - in the stoy, a boy tries to bring his mother back from the dead in an alternate universe.

Age recommendation: 10+

Legend of Zelda

This Nintendo series began already in 1986 and still has a growing fanbase. Some of you might even have played it when you were children yourselves. In the newest game "Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity" (2020), the heroes are fighting the evil Calamity Ganon who wants to destroy their kingdom. For the Japanese version, download the respective audiopack.

Age recommendation: 13+

Atelier

All the games in this series have in common that items are collected for practicing alchemy, making the fantastical world a better place. The speech and design are very cute, but fighting monsters is also part of the games.

Age recommendation: 13+

Dragonball Z

Another longtime favourite of many anime fans, this game series centers around the hero defending earth against all kinds of villains. In the latest edition, the gameplay has changed from a combat-focused approach to also include role-playing aspects. If your teen would like to try out Dragonball Z games before getting the newest one, here many older editions are available for free.

Age recommendation: 13+

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contributor

Helen Geyer

Polyglo's content manager with a background in bilingualism and linguistics. She ensures that you get access to the most up-to-date info for raising bilingual children.‍

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