*a korean version of this article is available here.
I want to begin this by saying that you don’t have to be an avid gamer to enjoy this. I’m not much of a gamer myself, yet my limited experience with gaming has done nothing to diminish the joy I was able to derive from these story-based adventure games. They don’t take much to get into, I can promise you that, so if you clicked on this thinking you don’t know enough about gaming to make much use of these games, hear me out.
So what are adventure games? They are, quite simply, story-based games with a central plot that plays out in several episodes (not unlike TV shows). Players get to explore the story as the protagonist and influence the plot via certain actions and dialogue choices. It’s kind of like watching movies that you can interact with.
So how exactly do these games help with language learning?
Learning Vocabulary in Context is Never a Bad Thing
You’ll be learning new words in context and you’ll be seeing the same words cropping up throughout the game, half of which you will probably end up using yourself while you’re choosing between the dialogue options (I recommend reading them out loud for immersion), which helps reinforce your memory of them… All this contributes to the likelihood of you retaining these newly acquired words, which will be a lot higher than if you were to memorize them off a deck of flashcards. And that’s just the vocabulary.
It’s Great For Practicing Listening and Reading Comprehension
Like movies, these games usually come with subtitles that you can turn on. You can also pause the game, the way you pause a movie, when you feel like the characters are speaking too fast and you are unable to keep up. In this regard, it is really similar to studying a language using movies. It makes for great listening practice. The only difference here is – you can’t zone out, the way people tend to do sometimes when they’re watching movies. Since the game requires you to actively participate in moving the plot along as the protagonist, you’re going to have to pay attention to what is being said and react accordingly. The interactive nature of these games makes them much more engaging, and I’d wager that helps you retain things better, especially the new words that you come across in the dialogues.
Meet People Who Love the Same Games As You Do
There are communities out there for nearly every game on earth. Join them and discuss the plot and characters that you love and hate the most. Read fan fictions, browse through fan art of your favourite characters and have a heated debate (maybe not) on whether or not a dead minor character deserved the tragic demise they met. The possibilities are endless.
I think everyone should give these games a try, regardless of whether they are into gaming or not. It’s a fun, interesting way to learn some new vocabulary and get some listening practice done while you’re at it. If you’re getting a bit tired of studying movies and TV shows, this could be a fun way to switch things up a little.
If you’re new to adventure games, I recommend you to check out Telltales’ website. They have some pretty good ones, and my favourite is Tales from the Borderlands! It’s a fun, silly sci-fi adventure that has some serious Guardians of the Galaxy vibes. If you’re a GoG fan, you’ll probably enjoy it.