||[Apr. 28th, 2006|06:40 pm]
Went into a gaming store today and was joking, as usual, with the storeperson about how they don't stock the games I play. Developed into a discussion on Japanese language and my level of competence, found out that he was studying Japanese as well. He mentioned possibly reading manga to advance his lingual skills, I mentioned that it didn't help much with novels, things were going fine... then he tells me he isn't interested in learning kanji.
O-kay. Well, I've heard that before. From a second year student, a little unnerving, but whatever. I tell him he's unlikely to be able to play many games, then.
"Well, my friend knows Japanese, and he doesn't understand kanji, and he plays them just fine."
"Not RPGs, then?"
"No, RPGs. They all have the pronunciation over the kanji anyways."
. . .
"I'd have to disagree with that. I can't think of the last RPG I played that had furigana. Final Fantasy XII has some, but it's at the level of commenting that the kanji for 'ningen' should be read 'hyu-m', which, while useful to an English speaker, doesn't happen for anything but the vocabulary that they're playing with."
"Well, my friend says..."
The conversation ended relatively peaceably regardless of the disagreement, but just earlier today I saw an entry in RPGamer's Japandemonium that claimed the same thing. Are these people playing a version of the games I'm not? The only time I ever see furigana in games is when the scriptwriters are trying to be cute, or decide to invent new words out of whole cloth.
I guess you could get more or less most of the plot from the voice-acted sequences, but... weird.