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5 Best Language Learning Video Game Series



Besides the hundred or more hours I poured into Dora the Explorer during my misspent youth, I hardly scratched the surface when it came to actually learning how to help bolster my vocabulary. Other than knowing how to fend off a balaclava-wearing fox in Spanish from a seven-year-old, I was pretty much dead in the water. Fortunately for me, however, my love of video games soon swept in to teach me a trick or two. And now, nearly two decades later, I know how to say map in Spanish. Go figure.

While you wouldn't usually pick up a video game to help learn a new language, plenty of them do offer the appropriate stepping stones to get you on your way. Of course, that's not my way of saying The Witcher 3 will teach you how to speak fluent Polish if you enable the subtitles — but doing so will more than likely point you in the right direction, for sure. Besides that, there are other games that can help get you on the right track. Just take these five, for example.


5. Telltale (Series)

It goes without saying that games that feature a whole lot of text are better than those without. Having subtitles is a great way to kickstart your journey through the language barrier, and Telltale is known for its rich and immersive storytelling, providing all the necessary information to help you learn the basics.

That being said, if you're only just looking to take the first step, then perhaps leave Telltale for after you've mastered the tutorials. It's not that they're overly complex or anything, but more the case that they feature time-based scenarios, in which you need to answer a piece of dialogue before the countdown expires. So, after understanding the basics of the language you're after, be sure to brush up on your skills with one of Telltale's many, many story-driven experiences.


4. Elder Scrolls (Series)

Again, echoing the fact that games with subtitles are your best and most reliable friend on the road to becoming a linguist. Skyrim, or any game that comes under the Elder Scrolls banner, for that matter, all feature lengthy text passages and interactions with thousands of NPCs. And, unlike Telltale, you don't have the time barrier to pile on the unnecessary pressure.

There's an anthology of questions and answers enveloped within the series that yearns to be found. Providing you spend enough time unearthing the pages and going out of your way to read them, then you'll unknowingly pick up the basics of a foreign language without even realising it. It's either a hundred hours of glossing over the holy grail of textbooks, or a hundred hours listening to a bard in a dimly lit tavern. Your call.


3. Dragon Age (Series)

Another role-playing series that gives you all the time in the world to hone your craft is Dragon Age. Again, taking pride in the oceans of content it envelopes in each and every entry, it gives you, the curious learner, an endless class in one of many languages to stroll through at your own leisure.

Between the waves of combat and epic story arcs, Dragon Age has you building and maintaining various relationships across the scattered regions, where talk is anything but cheap. Having all the tools at your disposal for making long-term alliances, you'll be able to spend quality time with your chosen language, and then some. It's clean, it's informative, and it's well worth spending time with if you're serious about loading up on extra languages.


2. Animal Crossing (Series)

Excusing the fact that Animal Crossing relies on gibberish for developing its native language, its text, on the other hand, is another story. Being a game that's suitable for a younger audience as well as a maturer one, it means the text doesn't have to be overly complex at any given crossroads. It's simple, and can give you all the tools to learn the ropes when starting fresh.

While New Horizons and the likes won't be there to give you a practical exam, it will be there to help you brush up on the theory. Conversations are easy to roll with, and in no way require an overdramatic brain to assemble the gist of the subject. So, if you want to learn about island life, as well as how to talk about various types of fish with a giraffe, then this one is for you.


1. Pokémon (Series)

An option that tends to fly under the radar for most is Pokémon, a series that has been for broadening its players' vocabulary and grammar for the best part of twenty-five years now. Although the series itself won't have you becoming fluent in any given language, it does do a pretty solid job at teaching you'd the dos and don'ts.

Spending a good thirty or forty minutes a day working through any of the Pokémon games of the last two decades will give you a hub for which you can rely on. For absolute beginners, it's a place that can give you an insight into the language you're chasing, without all of the unnecessary dialogue to weigh you down. Plus, the fact that you can pick up any of the games in the series and get to work bodes well with both newbies and veterans alike.


So, what's your take? Are there any games you'd recommend to someone who's looking to employ a new language? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.

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Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.