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Gleaves

The Grand Gaming Project

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yersi

Yeah, when you mention it, it does bear some resemblance to the golden age JRPGs. I mean, I once had this impression of Final Fantasy VII as a grand, dark tragedy. At that time I hadn't played the game since I was twelve years old. A few years ago, I replayed the game and found it to be almost unbearably bad, more like a cheesy low-budget anime than anything else. Nostalgia is a powerful emotion, and will make everything ten times better than it really is.

As for grinding, here's your vocab for the day: 修改器. Thank me later.

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Gleaves

I very much appreciate the honest take on Castle. It is on my list of Chinese RPGs to try out because I have seen its name pop up a few times as a must play. It's pretty tough to find reviews of these games without a heavy influence from nostalgia.

For those interested, this youtube poster has about six walkthroughs of Chinese RPGs, inlcuding Castle, if folks just want to check out the art style of some old school Chinese RPG goodness.

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yersi

I gave up on Castle and started a playthrough of Sword of Xuan Yuan IV: Millennial Destiny (轩辕剑外传:苍之涛). I bought this game when I first started learning Chinese six years ago, but back then I couldn't get it working properly. I probably wouldn't have understood a whole lot even if I did get it working.

0ffae9b89361261ec6298d2dc449490f.jpg

This is a side-story of Sword of Xuan Yuan(轩辕剑), which is one of the two classic "Sword"-franchises of Chinese gaming, the other being Chinese Paladin (仙剑奇侠传). Like many of these games, the plot is a mixture of fiction, fantasy and history: It takes place during the Spring and Autumn period, and at the start of the game, the (real) state of Jin is invading a small (fictional) city state called Linghu.

The main character is a fourteen-year-old girl called Che Yun. Her entire clan is framed and executed by a corrupt official, who convinces the ruler of Linghu that the Che clan's tradition of making wooden contraptions (机关木甲术) is heretical and will invoke the wrath of Heaven. She is spared, but only after the family servant bribes the official, and even then she has both of her legs hacked off as punishment. Pretty brutal stuff, really.

As she grows up, she quickly learns the ins and outs of her family's craft, making a pair of prosthetic legs and even a robot fox. It sounds silly, but I promise it makes sense in the context of the game. Apparently, the crazy wooden robotics stuff isn't just something the writers cooked up. During the Spring and Autumn period, the Moists actually invented things like rapid-firing crossbow chariots.

Of course, there's some heavy historical symbolism going on here, right from the get-go. In the story booklet that comes with the game, the writer mentions the Opium War and how the technological inferiority of the Chinese brought about decades of shameful losses and concessions to the Europeans. He points how this was partly brought about by the Confucian bureaucracy and examination system, which emphasized tradition and rote learning at the expense of scientific progress.

I'm really liking this so far. It has a kind of mature restraint to it that I usually don't see in Chinese RPGs, and the writing has been surprisingly sharp and on-point so far. There are also some creative twists on the usual nuts and bolts that make up Chinese RPGs. Language-wise, I'd say this is accessible to most second- or third-year learners, meaning those of you looking for an entry-level CRPG would do well to check this out.

It's not for sale anymore, but a simplified version can be downloaded at VeryCD if you're so inclined. Again, I recommend this with all my heart.

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murrayjames

Looks very cool. Is there Chinese audio in the version you're playing, or is it all written text?

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yersi

Nope, it's all text. The only Chinese games with voice-acting are Gujian Qitan and Chinese Paladin 5, which I finished recently. I can do a write-up about CP5 if anyone's interested.

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Gleaves

I was actually curious about CP5 because of the voice acting. I briefly saw some lukewarm to not good reviews from the web a while back, so I'd defintiely be curious on your thoughts. I'm about 10 hours into CP1 (the XP version) and am enjoying it, but haven't made any progress as of late.

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yersi

In short, I thought it was braindead and painfully linear, but quite attractive visually and very accessible. I would consider it a good "gateway drug" into Chinese RPGs for people who are interested in the genre.

On another note, here's a riddle I encountered ín Millenial Destiny:

有五只小鸟排成一列。小鸟的毛色不同,名字不同,叫声不同,品种不同,喜欢的食物也不一样。

大大的毛色是灰黑色,美美说的是人话,小丑的品种是乌鸦,毛色是花色的站在彩色毛色的左边。

毛色为花色小鸟的品种是麻雀,吃肉小鸟的叫声是鸣。

毛色为米色的小鸟吃小米,站在中间的品种是鹰。

名叫小眼的是站在最左边,吃虫的小鸟站在叫声是叽的隔壁。

叫声啊的隔壁是吃小米的,吃瓜子的小鸟品种是鹦鹉。

阿胖吃杂粮,小眼站在黑色小鸟的隔壁。

白文鸟则站在吃虫的隔壁。

请问,哪只小鸟的叫声是啾

Anyone up for solving it?

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bagz007

Check this one out for ipad, y'all -- WELL worth the piddly three bucks. Good story, audio (at least for the female characters), graphics, etc. A bit overdone on all the sentimentality, but that's just more language for you to study, slackers...

http://www.shushao.com/app/game/item/103489-%E5%8F%99%E4%BA%8B%E6%9B%B2hd

(Or search

叙事曲HD on itunes (make sure you're in the china store)

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michaelS

anyone got any tips for games that would be suitable for someone with a pretty limited vocabulary (1000 characters ish, haven't lived in China for a couple of years)? I like the sound of all these games but wouldn't be able to understand them...

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feihong

@michaelS: The only games I can think are the Castlevania games for GBA. Fairly minimal amounts of dialogue. You will have to consult the dictionary to read item names and item descriptions.

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Gleaves

MichaelS - I think GBA or SNES games might be a good bet. They might be a bit above your level, but you could try some RPGs. Final Fantasy or maybe Zelda. Chrono Trigger on SNES. Pokemon games are easy, I think, but I haven't really played any.

Yersi - I did take a stab at the riddle (even drew out a picture of five birds), but the circular logic stumped me.

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feihong

I wouldn't recommend starting with Zelda or most RPGs. You need to know close to 2000 characters to play a typical RPG, otherwise it will get pretty frustrating with all the dictionary lookups. When I finished playing the GBA Super Mario RPG, I discovered I had gone up to 2400 characters (according to my flashcard program). That being said, the target audience for Pokemon games is a bit younger, and the language really reflects that. When I tried playing Pokemon I found it pretty easy language-wise, but the game was not fun at all.

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imron
请问,哪只小鸟的叫声是啾

阿胖

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yersi
阿胖

Correct! This riddle becomes very easy once you've figured out who the first few birds are (I won't tell you why, though).

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imron

I used to play these sorts of riddles all the time when I was a kid, we had a great big book of them. All you need to do is make a grid and start cross-referencing everything, and before long you have a check list of the characteristics for all birds. There appears to have been a certain lack of imagination when coming up with this particular riddle

i.e. half the characteristics are basically what you'd expect for the birds in question

But even if that wasn't the case it's still easy enough to solve just by cross-referencing. That's all I did to solve it - more for nostalgia reasons of playing these puzzles than anything else, I'll probably never play the game.

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dusan

Very interesting thread!

I managed to run Cave Story (洞窟物語) using Wine on Ubuntu, it runs perfectly.

I've used this command in order to see the Chinese characters properly:

env LC_ALL=zh_CN.UTF-8 wine Doukutsu.exe

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weregoingunion

I really like the Google spreadsheet idea but I have one suggestion. Perhaps we could add a column (or two) to state whether the game is an unofficial fan translation or an official release. That would allow people to know whether they have the option to buy the game or play it via another method. Second, it could state whether the game was an original Chinese game or if it was translated from another language (usually Japanese or English.)

If anyone is familiar with those complete DS rom sets that organize games by release date and have a 4 digit number followed by the name, there are also some games not numbered that were actual Chinese releases for mainland Chinese in simplified characters. I believe they were for the iQue DS. There weren't many, and I don't think any of them were games not available in Japanese/English, but some might prefer these versions or just like to know out of curiosity.

I'm not sure how many consoles have ever had original releases by Chinese developers, but I know there are barely any, so they will mostly be translations. The PC and mobile are probably the only platforms that have many significant original releases. PC will probably be the only platform I will be concerned about for the future, as consoles become more and more protective of their IP (and attempt to destroy 2nd hand sales) and push digital downloads as preferable over tangible discs or cartridges. The future is bleak for people who like to archive and even for those who want to play the games they bought 5 years down the road (think: games that force an online verification - when they shut down those servers, your games are useless unless a "pirate" removes the check.)

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Gleaves

Good suggestions, weregoingunion. I haven’t updated that list in some time. Next time I do, I’ll try to incorporate your suggestions. If anyone else wants to take a crack (or offer other updates), feel free.

The only game I’ve played in Chinese recently is To the Moon. 《去月球》. It is a newish indie game in old school RPG graphics about time travel and aging. I haven’t gotten too far, but it is interesting with a good sense of humor and mostly driven by dialogue. English review here. Pic below.

post-23129-0-05927100-1333724182_thumb.jpg

The little time I’ve given to gaming over the last six months has gone to Dark Souls, the console RPG. It has a Chinese subtitled version (黑暗靈魂), but since the game is sadistically hard, I went with the English version.

Edit: @dusan - good tip.

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feihong

Basically no DS games you find online are official releases (yes, there are a tiny handful, but you probably can't find those original cartridges anyway). The column might be more useful if it were called "Commercially available in" and list the languages that you can buy the game in, if you do choose to support the publisher. Although it's usually obvious which ones are available in English and which ones are only available in Japanese -- the ones with weird names or that are visual novels tend to only be available in Japanese.

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Serinir

Great topic! I recently played the chinese version of Baldurs Gate (but the fact that I played the english version before helps me massively).

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