Tuesday, April 22, 2008


While kanatest isn't a game in any real sense, it does have the virtue of doing what it's supposed to do. It's a flashcard game: it shows you 'kana' characters and you type in the 'romajin' equivalent.

As such, it's not an enthralling game for someone who a.) doesn't know any Japanese characters, and b.) wants to play a game, and not learn Japanese characters. If, however, you are someone studying Japanese and need something to assist you in memorizing the characters, rock on. You've found your saviour!

In all honesty, it's pretty full-featured. You can choose between what appear to the illiterate-in-Japanese-eye to be the two styles in which the characters are rendered, and further choose which characters you want to be drilled on, either by using one of the pre-created 'lessons' or by creation your own lesson.

Sure, there's no sound, and the graphics (read: fonts) aren't awe-inspiring. They don't have to be. This is an educational tool, and not a game, and while you can make educational tools as pretty as you like, their foremost function is... to function. As far as functional designs go, kanatest is great. Simple, clear, easy to figure out without consulting a manual or the internet, and best of all, in fully working order.

For the record, the version included in the repositories is two releases out of date. Click the link above to go to the website for kanatest and download the latest version. All of you broke otaku desperate to learn Japanese characters so you can feel elite, here's a great tool for ya. All others need not apply (except, obviously, non-otaku who still want to learn Japanese).

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