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Items of Import: Let's RPG - More Words To Learn!



So you've mastered a variety of words to get your import RPG on. You've managed to attack some nefarious evil-doers; cast some magic to heal your party; perhaps you've even worn some new equipment. On top of all that, you were able to save your precious progress!

"Hey, I can do this! Easy peasy Japanesey!" I hear you say. Oh, young grasshopper -- you have much to learn. To be precise, you've another five new words to master. By nature, RPGs are undoubtedly the most text-heavy of all game genres. With its epic narrative detailing a world and its characters, and a menu screen chock full of words describing important stats and what-have-you, there are rarely moments in an RPG one does not look at text.

The challenge of an imported RPG of course comes from the fact that these thousands, if not millions, of words are in Japanese. BUT! Yes, there's a "but." For us as gamers, overcoming challenge is in our blood! And oftentimes, we are used to RPGs in English, so that even in Japanese, we sort of "get it," you know? Nevertheless, knowing what's what for sure always helps, and Items of Import is here for you once again to expand your Japanese RPG vocabulary.

Continue reading Items of Import: Let's RPG - More Words To Learn!

Items of Import: Let's RPG - More Words To Learn! part 2

3. Ability

Your regular sword slashes and fire magic just ain't cutting it for this fight. Or maybe you just want to pickpocket some gold from the creature in front of you, all stealth-like. Perhaps that jump attack your dragoon knight has will just turn the tide of the battle.

That there above, readers, isn't a blogger's typical spelling error. In J-RPGs, our English word "ability" is morphed into abiriti, a friendlier pronunciation for Japanese tongues. And as I've mentioned in the past, the script for the word is in katakana, specifically designed for foreign words.

Always with this word, you will find that selecting it will take you to a secondary screen, with even more weird and wonderful Japanese words. All this blogger can tell you is: Good luck! With any imported title, part of the fun is figuring things out by trial and error -- it's not the end of the world if your Level 56 Hero of Awesomeness dies in battle because you don't have a clue what to do. Experiment! Click away on all the crazy Japanese words. You'll get there!

4. Experience

For an RPG fanatic, seeing your characters grow and become stronger is nothing short of satisfying. You remember those times when he was just a wee boy, wielding a short sword at Level 5. Look at him now! A grown man, all chiseled and weary, holding a great big battle axe. I remember when you came home crying -- all you had on was some simple leather attire, and all the kids at school wore shiny mithril. And, uh, that's enough of my dreams of being the good wife in the small and peaceful village of Dresnia.

We all know and love experience points. As gamers, we are always on the lookout for when our heroes will go up a level. We want it in chart form. So to sate your appetite for leveling up in a Japanese language RPG, behold the text image above. As I repeatedly point out (to the annoyance of the readers possibly!), the first script is the more complicated kanji form. You will tend to find fairly equal amounts of both variants. Often, it will be between some other words. In this case, the phrase can more than likely be translated as "Experience points needed for next level."

5. Load

In our last lesson with RPGs, we came across the Japanese for "save." Sometimes, however, your progress in the game is halted by some horrible mistake you made on the way. Lucky for you, you had an alternate save slot of an earlier time in the game. Call it "gamer's premonition," if you will. But where is that all important "load" button!?

Oh, yes, it's right there on the, uh, right. How convenient of this newfangled column! In Japanese, "load" is fairly similarly pronounced like the English, except for the extended ending. We're sure you will find this word useful to recognize in-game, when you simply get stuck on something.

Closing Off



So now you're equipped with a good variety of Japanese words in a typical RPG to recognize and press away. It still takes months of keike--, I mean, experience, to completely enjoy an imported title. A lot of people will, of course, want to understand the epic story being told (Note to self: Get to writing a "common narrative words in a Japanese RPG" column one day!). Oh, and by the by, a little something called Blue Dragon Plus was released today in Japan. It's time for me, and you, to place an order after posting this! Good luck, and keep persevering! Or as they say in the Land of the Rising Sun, ganbatte!


Items of Import is a fortnightly column dedicated to titles only out in Japan. With in-depth impressions of games long before localization and knowledgeable language how-tos, it attempts to bridge the gap between the import savvy and import fearing. Come on, now! You, too, can make that giant leap! Yokoso!


Items of Import: Rhythm Tengoku Gold



No one should have to burden themselves with waiting for Rhythm Tengoku Gold to arrive Stateside. Aside from the fact that Nintendo of America still hasn't announced a specific release schedule for the game (we're looking at you also, Jam With The Band), any title with rhythm as the main focus of the gameplay lends itself perfectly for importing.

Of course, any game you import from Japan has its fair share of unreadable text. From roleplaying games to intense puzzlers, the fear exists that the Japanese language will overwhelm you and make you feel like you wasted precious dollars on an unplayable game. Fear not! For Items of Import is here for you once again -- to guide you through trouble, and to encourage you to start importing.

Rhythm Tengoku Gold was just released last week in Japan. With its catchy Tsunku-produced tunes and zany visuals, the game could be your perfect import choice of the month. Show it to all your FPS-loving gamer friends; show them what those crazy Japanese call games these days. With merely a handful of Japanese to conquer compared to those icky RPGs, you'll be enjoying Rhythm Tengoku in no time. And who's going to help you through it all? Why, look what we have here? -- another edition of Items of Import to share, educate, and encourage you to take that step!


Continue reading Items of Import: Rhythm Tengoku Gold

Items of Import: Rhythm Tengoku Gold part 2



The final gameplay keyword is the one you see above. Possibly the most important mechanic in the game, flicking the stylus across the touchscreen is used so often in most minigames that it must be mentioned here. As I've written in the Japanese, you'll often find different versions of the "flick" verb, depending on the circumstance at hand. Put simply, "hajiku" is "to flick" literally; and "hajiite" is more like a request to flick -- like, "Please flick the stylus" -- and you will often come across this in the genial tutorial.



Here's a handy graphic detailing the three techniques. Number 1 shows "touch," 2 shows "let go" and 3 shows "flick." As can be seen from the flicking image, it's like writing a tick mark quickly. The note for number 3 states: "Flick with a good sense of force. If the flicking distance is short, or there's no momentum, it will not work."

A quick explanation of the other modes present in the game is in order! Apart from the 50-odd minigame challenges, there are two areas where more rhythmic fun can be had. First up is the Medal Corner. Each time you gain a "High Level Medal" in a minigame -- by being a Rhythm God, of course -- you are awarded a medal which can then be used to buy little extras: "endless games" where the goal is to get a high score (or die trying) in simple one-notion minigames; "rhythm toys," and so on.

The second mode is the Coffee House. This is where you can talk to the barista to gain tips, as well as listen to music and read books you've unlocked through accomplishing perfects. This is meant more to be a time to relax and while away the minutes, just as a nice cafe would. Explore these modes at your own leisure, and you'll surely come across hidden gems.

Closing Off

Containing only a handful of Japanese words to learn and navigate, and being one of the most inventive rhythm games on the DS, Rhythm Tengoku Gold is a title any keen importer should consider to be on top of his or her list. Don't let those unusual scribbles scare you away -- dare I say it, but you might as well use this little humble column once in awhile to help you on your way!


Items of Import is a weekly column dedicated to titles only out in Japan. With in-depth impressions of games long before localization and knowledgeable language how-tos, it attempts to bridge the gap between the import savvy and import fearing. Come on, now! You, too, can make that giant leap! Yokoso!

Items of Import: Let's Enroleplaying Games!



After a lot of deliberation, Joe Player finally decided to try importing a game from Japan. It was nerve-wracking, clicking through to an online retailer and perusing the list of unusual titles. With fingers poised above the keyboard, he hesitated -- would his credit card information be safe? Should he choose express post? How long would delivery take?

He was worried -- did he make the right choice? Was his Japanese sufficient to play the game? He'd learned hiragana in classes, and picked up some ninja phrases from fansubbed episodes of Naruto. Would it be enough? He would soon find out.

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Items of Import, a new weekly feature that will make you feel a little less worried about your import choices. Sometimes playing a game in Japanese can seem like a daunting task. But make no mistake: Items of Import is here to nurture you, guide you, and teach you the ways of Japanese games. Keep checking this space for your dose of import impressions and language lessons.


Not-So-Iron Fanboy: Cooking Guide Cook-Off

As soon as the Cooking Guide was released in English, we here at DS Fanboy understood one thing: it was necessary that we put the software to the test in a bloody, violent, no-holds-barred, steel cage cook-off the likes of which would put Iron Chef (both versions) to shame. Sadly, budget constraints (and, uh, laws) prevented the sort of Thunderdome-esque event we hand in mind, though, so instead, we're just having a normal cook-off.

One hobbyist cook. One bachelor. One shot at three recipes, supported by the Cooking Guide. Will they be able to produce the same meal, with the same results? Will the Guide serve as a workable cookbook for the knowledgeable, and an aid for those who aren't? We put it to the test.

Continue reading Not-So-Iron Fanboy: Cooking Guide Cook-Off

Show and Tell: Surviving Civilization Revolution

This week is a bit of a departure from the regular Show and Tell format, but if you think about it, we're not really making much of a turn. We've celebrated the products of all sorts of fandom in this space, but there's one devoted group we haven't addressed: the writers of guides and walkthroughs and FAQs of all sorts.

Maybe you've looked a few things up now and again: a short cut, a question about deleting a save, or a hint when you were stuck. Guides are freely available, and there are all different sorts ... and most of them are written by just plain folks. So why are we bringing it up? The folks at WiiHD recently put out a preview of sorts for the recent release Civilization Revolution -- a preview that includes vital game information. There's no Civilopedia in the DS version of the title (for the uninitiated: the massive information files common in Civ games). Even veteran Civ players might miss the information in the new handheld for its descriptions of unit capabilities, terrain types, and resources.

Luckily, fans have swept in to fill the void. WiiHD isn't the only site working to provide information to new (and old) Civilization Revolution players. We've got a list of a few of the guides after the break, and we offer our hearty thanks to the people who work to put them together. That's really all this week is about: the people who take the time to help others with their gaming. Next week, we'll be back to the stuff.

Show and Tell is all about your stuff, so long as it's Nintendo-related. We love to see your collections, your crafts, your frosted creations, your t-shirts and swag of all sorts. Just snap a few pictures, tell us what's up, and send it all to showmeit [at] dsfanboy [dot] com. We'll take care of the rest.

Continue reading Show and Tell: Surviving Civilization Revolution

On a roll with Mister Slime

Mister Slime makes his DS debut this week, and in his honor, we've got a little follow-up to last month's gameplay preview. If you're looking forward to getting your goo on -- microphone-blowing notwithstanding -- then let DS Fanboy give you the lowdown on a few more techniques for success in the land of slime.

Gallery: Mister Slime

Continue reading On a roll with Mister Slime

Skin that On Tour peripheral


Now here's a neat video. For those of you who have picked up Guitar Hero: On Tour and want to add a little bit of your own personal style to the included peripheral, the above video will aid you in doing just that. It's surprisingly easy to create your own skin insert for the thing. While the video doesn't showcase the most artistic replacement, we're sure you creative folk out there wont have much trouble coming up with some really badass skins.

Anyone going to give this a try?



[Thanks, Max!]

Submerge yourself in the world of Mister Slime

We may not have LocoRoco or even World of Goo on the DS, but we do have a sludgy platforming hero of our own: Mister Slime. Little Slimy will be setting out in his self-titled platforming adventure next month, and we've got some exclusive gameplay tips for all future gamers looking to protect the gooey guy's home village from the invasion of evil Axons. Stretch out and get comfortable -- we've got all the info you'll need after the break!

Gallery: Mister Slime

Continue reading Submerge yourself in the world of Mister Slime

Homebrew: Using the DS as a PDA

One thing that's been brought up countless times in DS-related discussions is "if only it could be used as a PDA." Well, with the right combination of hardware and software, it can! But just how well does it stand up to other devices with that classification? Read on as I take the DS through its paces to see how it performs as a personal digital assistant.

Continue reading Homebrew: Using the DS as a PDA

DS Fanboy's (semi) ultimate homebrew guide


Where there's a system, there's a community of hobbyist programmers willing to tear it down, build it back up, and make it better, and they've been doing it to the DS from nearly the moment the handheld hit shelves. As the necessary hardware has grown cheaper, easier to use, and more widely available (when not sold out), the DS homebrew community in turn has grown stronger, producing some applications that are so good, they rival (or better!) similar commercial products.

But with all of the homebrew solutions available, how does someone new to the scene know where to start? A quick search for guides returns information that can seem complicated and confusing, and many DS owners are wary of spending money on hardware that may not work with their particular system or with the applications and homebrew games they're interested in trying out. The reality is that homebrew on the DS is much easier than it seems, thanks to breakthroughs in the scene, and DS Fanboy is dedicated to helping you navigate the ocean of user-generated content available. From searching out Slot-1 solutions to taking you through them, we've got all the information you need to get started, no matter how little you know about DS homebrew. If you're really lost, check out our handy homebrew glossary for help.

It's worth mentioning that we're focusing solely on the newer flash carts for DS homebrew here. With the advent of the all-in-one Slot-1 flash cart, there's little reason for anyone to go with the more complicated Slot-2 devices. While we cover some of that terminology in our glossary, we do so only to help provide a guide for those DS owners just getting started, who may encounter such terms as PassMe and wonder just what it might be.

From here, you can hit the jump to see an index of this article's contents, or simply follow the arrows if you'd like to go through step by step. Comments are open on every page, but you can always return here to the main discussion by way of a DS Lite icon on each page.







CycloDS Evolution

Continue reading DS Fanboy's (semi) ultimate homebrew guide

Need to repair a broken power switch?

For the majority of us, repairing a broken DS Lite (which is a fairly rare thing, unless you happen to be friends with G4 or something) is accomplished through doing nothing more than picking up the phone and calling Nintendo. But, some are more brave than us, taking the responsibility of maintaining the integrity of their precious handheld upon themselves.

Enter flickr user shalf, who has a daughter that broke the power switch on her pink DS Lite. Like a good dad, he isn't going to make her wait for the time it takes to ship the handheld to Nintendo and get it back repaired, he's done it himself! And, thankfully, he's taken tons of pictures and placed them on his flickr page for all to see. Hopefully, some of you out there thinking about taking apart your DS Lite can learn a thing or two from his efforts.

This isn't the first time we've featured other folks repairing their handhelds. You can check out how to replace a screen here, as well as how to take apart the whole thing here. Heck, you can even make your own Rumble Pak! Some people love the DS so much, they even try to turn other handhelds into one.

Are you a bad enough dude to replace your DS Lite's screen?

Having problems with the touchscreen on your DS Lite? Are you also a crazy person? If so, you may want to attempt to replace the touchscreen yourself using an aftermarket screen. To help future DS repairers (or perhaps just to document a successful replacement), selectbutton forum member Sushi K has created an illustrated guide to the process.

Since we have some experience replacing screen covers on handhelds, we'll offer one warning. Unless you live in one of the clean rooms used to manufacture computer chips (and you don't, because it wouldn't be clean with people living in there!) you are going to get dust under your screen. This is a certainty unless you are profoundly lucky. Still, if you can't get Nintendo to fix your DS, a speck or two of dust is a small price to pay for a working touchscreen, although there's always the potential cost of completely wrecking your system.

Become the Dr. Frankenstein of the DS world


Let's get down to business: you can rebuild it. You can make it stronger. You can fix your own DS. Not that you would, since Nintendo has such amazing customer service, but the relative inexpensive price of the handheld means that you can feel free to tinker and disassemble your old one with no fear and get your learn on, as you purchase a newer model to keep you warm at night and actually play games. Replacing a screen, fixing a broken hinge and just about any other major overhaul you could need to do to your DS is covered in this guide.

Handy, eh?

Next Page >

Gaming to Go!We debate the hot topics!

This Month's New Games

Name Date
Bleach: Dark Souls
Oct 6
Legend of Kage 2
Oct 6
Crash: Mind Over Mutant
Oct 6
Spectrobes: Beyond the Portals
Oct 6
My Japanese Coach
Oct 14
Korg DS-10
Oct 14
Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2 Oct 14
FIFA Soccer 09 Oct 14
Populous Oct 14
Rock Revolution
Oct 14
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
Oct 21
Theresia
Oct 21
Spider-Man: Web of Shadows Oct 21
Away: Shuffle Dungeon
Oct 21
Tornado
Oct 21
Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon
Oct 21
What's Cooking? With Jamie Oliver Oct 21
MySims Kingdom
Oct 28
Ninjatown Oct 28

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