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Gaming Hacks by Simon Carless

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Play Japanese Games Without Speaking Japanese

Learn just enough Japanese to have fun and avoid accidentally erasing your memory card.

You’ve finally decided to take the plunge and have ordered some hot imported exclusive video games from the exotic Orient. You’ve modified your console system of choice so that you can boot them ( [Hack #49] ), but now you’re a little nervous. What happens if you can’t even play the game because you can’t read Japanese?

That’s not as insurmountable a barrier as it may seem. You might find that you can simply press a button to skip past all the text sections, and it won’t impede your gameplay beyond leaving you clueless as to the finer points of the game’s story. If you need help that the illustrations in the game’s manual can’t provide, the Internet offers vast external resources.

Ignoring Translation Altogether

One great source of help is GameFAQs (http://www.gamefaqs.com), which offers fan-written hint guides for practically every game ever released as well as separate message board forums for each game, even if there’s no hint guide for that game. Thus, from the day of a game’s release, you can find others who own it and ask them for help.

The genre of the game will largely, but not entirely, determine how much help you’ll need. Sometimes a game’s menus will be partially in English. Very rarely will an English-language option exist for the entire game. Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance is one happy example of this.

Sometimes there will be practically ...

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