So I was asked a couple of things concerning design decisions on Friday which I kind of had answers for, but are really important to note. So here are my clearer answers:
1. Why just teach kanji?
Japanese sentence structure and grammar is actually a lot simpler than English, and there are many great, well-worded internet sites out there that can help you with this part of the language through testing and ‘gamified’ learning structures. Kanji, however, is what makes being able to read the language difficult, as there are about two thousand kanji in common use, each with between one and five different pronunciations. Many students choose to give up when faced with this hurdle, and the characters themselves are complicated enough that they deserve their own focus.
2. Will you promote this as a game, or as an educational app?
I stand by the fact that if you are creating anything as a game, it needs to be designed game first learning second. However, considering the game’s audience I feel that promotion should come from the educational side. This is because students are generally advised (and generally do, as it is easier) to learn hiragana and katakana before learning kanji, and they often have at least a basic grasp of how the language is laid out. So, as self-taught learners, the students have already come a considerable way towards learning the language before even considering kanji. This means that they are motivated to go further, and are looking for the easiest and fastest way forward – thus a game designed to teach them what they need to learn would be appealing to them, primarily as a learning tool.