Review Fix Exclusive: Inside ‘Japanese Romaji Adventure’

Review Fix chats with the creators of the new steam game, Japanese Romaji Adventure, to find out what inspired it and more.

About the Game:

Released half a year ago, Japanese Romaji Adventure is an epic adventure set in the 1800’s that will teach you about Japanese history and the language using romaji characters i.e. English letters.

Join Harry and his crew who are among the first westerners to set foot on Japan after the prolonge

Review Fix: How was this game born?

Jason BowenRomaji Adventure was born from a passion for Japan. And the desire to share learning. Who does not want to watch an anime in Japanese before the English dub is rolled out. Plus, so much is lost in translation that adds an extra dynamic to anime. Also, communicating with people is a beautiful thing.

Review Fix: What is your role in the game?

BowenI made the game almost single handedly. Pain staking hours of data entry and augmenting the quiz systems was laborious but its worth it so that players can begin their journey in learning Japanese.

Review Fix: What has development been like?

BowenAt times fun at times it was a labour of love. And indeed a learning curve that has inspired me to want to learn more and branch out in the educational game development industry.

Angel Star Studios: JBO Media did all the work and design himself, which he surpassed our expectations being a new game developer.  Once in a blue moon we would step in and make a suggestion for improvements, or collect feedback from players to see how they felt about the game.

Review Fix: What makes this game special?

BowenThere is at this time no other RPG that focusses explicitly on helping people achieve their goals of reaching JLPTN5. There is a game similar that teaches the individual letters of Japanese but not the words. In fact, the designer of said game gave me great advice and encouragement. I do not aim to conflict with their directive my game compliments theirs. The indie game industry is a beautiful one.

Review Fix: What games influenced this one the most?

BowenThe games that influenced this the most was the above mentioned game(Learn kana to survive). In addition a turn based lord of the rings game for GBA and adiboo if anyone knows of that epic educational game. A point and click adventure that pioneered the industry at the beginning of gaming time.

Review Fix: Any fun stories or wild moments during development?

BowenJust gaining a greater understanding of Japanese communicating with friends after a long slog of development. Also, I met Frederick online he helped a lot and he has great games that are free on itch under Moonwriter Therory.

Angel Star Studios: JBO Media literally had his first child, as soon as the development of this game was finished.  It was literally the same day, if I recall. He finished it, and sent it off to us to publish.  The rest was magic.

Review Fix: What were the major lessons learned?

BowenThat making a game takes a long frickin time man.

Review Fix: Do you think preserving older gameplay mechanics in new games is important?

BowenYes, I truly do think so the traditional art and mechanics are something that are precious to our shared gaming history. Indeed if we forget where we began the games will lose something special. For example Final Fantasy was once turn based. Sometimes a turn based game is what a person needs after a stressful day. Otherwise sometimes we are rattling harder than a p90 on COD and have sleepless nights.

Angel Star Studios: I totally agree with that.  If you have ever met any game veterans like David Wise, from the Donkey Kong series or anyone old school, they have a lot of knowledge and things passed down to us lesser experienced people.  It’s really vital to make a good game these days, since less than 1% of game developers actually succeed statistically and theres hardly any sources to learn from.

Review Fix: What’s your favorite memory as a gamer?

BowenMy favourite memory is achieving level 40 on Halo 2 online. After doing so I met the most delightful girl. Her account was hacked by a chauvinist pig. He decreed that girls have no place in video games. I used all my skills some unruly to track him down in every game drilled his accounts level to 17. At the expense of my level 40 that I worked for, for over a year. I was even featured on Sky TV.

Angel Star Studios: Probably playing Earthbound for SNES.  (ironically) My mother bought it for me and it’s a childhood memory.  Of course, I have many favorite moments but that one comes to mind.

Review Fix: How have your previous experiences in the industry helped this game?

Bowen: I have no previous industry experience but what has helped me in this production is learning Japanese at a University and having a Japanese wife.

Also, my late cousin- she gave me lots of encouragement to chase my dream of helping people make their way with the Japanese language.

Review Fix: How do you want this game to ultimately be remembered?

BowenOne man’s effort to impart Japanese.

Review Fix: What’s next?

BowenI am working on JLPT N4 the next level in international Japanese language proficiency. But it’s a long way off nonetheless I am hoping to get a beta out there soon that will help players make a 75 percent progression through the Japanese language proficiency level.

Angel Star Studios: We plan to make more games with JBO Media, and add voice overs next time.  We have a lot of requests from players we look forward to adding in future games.  We also want to experiment with more educational games.

Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?

BowenWith making games, learning a language and anything in life; little steps make a staircase. What do I mean by that? Savour little victories watch them grow until you ascend to where you were meant to be or to what you wanted to achieve. Happy gaming folks. Take care of yourself in body and mind. And why not start learning Japanese its great for the health of your mind to learn another language and to boot you can watch DBZ weeks before you could otherwise. Peace out xx

Angel Star Studios: Yup!  After we played this game, we could follow along anime a lot better, it really does work.  We’re looking forward to expanding the series and adding more improvements for future games.

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About Patrick Hickey Jr. 10466 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of ReviewFix.com and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late Examiner.com. He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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