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Joystiq presents

Items of Import: Let's Enroleplaying Games! part 2

In this introduction to Items of Import, we'd like to ease you all into import gaming, before we dip our feet deeply into the vast sea of specific titles. Part of the appeal of this column isn't simply reading about the greatest and quirkiest titles being released in Japan. It's also the fact that the feature is about getting through a Japanese-language title, even if the only words you know are teriyaki and katana.

To begin, let's look at getting by in an RPG. Oftentimes, role-playing games are the last to be localized, and they are also the hardest to navigate without some Japanese knowledge. But a part of you wants to try it out -- you need to try it out, before anyone else. Your inner nerd wants to brag. It's okay -- we understand. We've been there, too.

The biggest challenge in an RPG comes not from the story-heavy dialogue. That's just a matter of tapping through it all, right? And in all honesty, we've all seen our fair share of stories with no idea of what was being discussed -- our bygone youth watching badly dubbed kung fu flicks pretty much sums that up. We are all intelligent enough to get at least a grasp on whatever epic melodrama is unfolding.

The challenge comes from the menus. Oh, the menus. How they taunt you with their indecipherable script. Today, we're going to get on top of some of the commonplace menus that most Japanese RPGs possess.
The Five Japanese Words You Can't Live Without

Forget trying to order food in Japan; ignore attempting to catch a train to the right station. There are only five words in Japanese you need to know to get by. Attack, Magic, Items, Equip, and Save -- okay, so we're pushing it slightly, but you all get the idea! If you can read these in a Japanese RPG, you instantly have a firmer grasp of the game than the average Joe Player. This will be the beginning of your beautiful journey through import gaming.


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