Best beginner's game in English for non-native speakers

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Gunness
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Best beginner's game in English for non-native speakers

#1 Post by Gunness » Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:38 am

When I was learning English in grade school, my teacher wasn't terribly skilled - so I can say without hesitation that I've learned an awful lot from playing adventure games.

Now my daughter's ten, and she's been learning English for about a year and a half. She's awfully fond of reading (not in English, though), so I thought I'd try and show a text adventure (she's been showing some interest already).
But which one would be a good starting point?

Personally I started off with some of the Channel 8 and Brian Howarth games. They had very basic parsers and limited vocabularies, but on the other hand, the descriptions were manageable for someone with a very limited grasp of English.

Much as I like games such as Wishbringer or a cute title such as A Bear's Night Out, being faced with.

"You are in a dark dungeon"
is so much much easier to grasp than
"Moonlight plays through the window, softly illuminating the bedroom, full of comfortable memories"
Sigh. Dictionary overload.

Then again, the tech side of old games led to too many instances of "Sorry, I don't understand".

What's my best bet if I'd like a game with brief descriptions but a good vocab and parser.

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Re: Best beginner's game in English for non-native speakers

#2 Post by Alex » Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:02 pm

What about a multiple choice game like Danger Mouse in Black forest Chateau. It's not needed to understand every word and it is easier to solve because one can choose a command rather than having to write it oneself. Even without understanding every word you get a general idea of what you are doing. It was one of the first adventures I bought and I quite liked playing that one.

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Re: Best beginner's game in English for non-native speakers

#3 Post by Alex » Mon Jan 26, 2015 2:11 pm

Another game which should not be very difficult to start with if you give her a lists of verbs could be Aztec Tomb. It's not very big and not very hard to solve.

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Re: Best beginner's game in English for non-native speakers

#4 Post by Gunness » Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:56 pm

Thanks for the input :thumb: I had thought about a multiple choice game but didn't know which one to get.
Something along the lines of Aztec Tomb would be nice. I honestly can't remember much of it.
To avoid scaring her away from the get-go, it's quite important that there aren't sudden death situations all the time, and that you can backtrack at any moment - for a beginner there's nothing worse than being stuck because you missed something that has now disappeared.

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Re: Best beginner's game in English for non-native speakers

#5 Post by Gunness » Wed Jan 28, 2015 4:27 pm

Any other suggestions, We've been playing a bit of Danger Mouse, which went pretty okay.
I know there are a number of multiple choice games, but most of the ones I can think of are fairly dull (Mickey's Space Adventure, Gelfling Adventure etc) or too difficult (the Adrian Mole titles)

Other parser based games would be okay, too - just to have a few things to choose from :)

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Re: Best beginner's game in English for non-native speakers

#6 Post by Alastair » Wed Jan 28, 2015 10:56 pm

Jacob, does it matter which dialect of English you wish to teach your daughter?

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Re: Best beginner's game in English for non-native speakers

#7 Post by Gunness » Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:23 pm

If you're thinking about US vs British English, then no.
If it's a more challenging dialect, then... perhaps. What did you have in mind?

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Re: Best beginner's game in English for non-native speakers

#8 Post by Alastair » Wed Jan 28, 2015 11:34 pm

Gunness wrote:If you're thinking about US vs British English, then no.
If it's a more challenging dialect, then... perhaps. What did you have in mind?
Proper English versus that Webster abomination :lol:

One thing I will add is that the BBC was the most popular micro in British schools, so there is a lot of education material available for the Beeb.

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Re: Best beginner's game in English for non-native speakers

#9 Post by Gunness » Thu Jan 29, 2015 9:03 am

Ok, so if the Yanks are out .... ;)

Might you, Sire, recommend any games that would suit my request? Beeb or otherwise?
Cordially yours,
Lord Gunness

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Re: Best beginner's game in English for non-native speakers

#10 Post by Alastair » Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:54 pm

Gunness wrote:Might you, Sire, recommend any games that would suit my request? Beeb or otherwise?
Cordially yours,
Lord Gunness
If thou art a Lord and thou addresseth me as Sire, what doest that make me?

(Returning to the 21st Century.) I wish I could answer your question, but my school never used computers in English lessons so I have nothing to suggest.

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Re: Best beginner's game in English for non-native speakers

#11 Post by Richard Bos » Wed Feb 04, 2015 8:59 pm

Alex wrote:What about a multiple choice game like Danger Mouse in Black forest Chateau. It's not needed to understand every word and it is easier to solve because one can choose a command rather than having to write it oneself. Even without understanding every word you get a general idea of what you are doing. It was one of the first adventures I bought and I quite liked playing that one.
Also... Danger Mouse! How could a game about David Jason's best role not be enjoyable?
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Re: Best beginner's game in English for non-native speakers

#12 Post by Richard Bos » Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:17 pm

Gunness wrote:What's my best bet if I'd like a game with brief descriptions but a good vocab and parser.
You're Danish, right? I don't know how appropriate the language is for your daughter (I find such matters hard to judge), but this one was aimed partly at English children and she should at least recognise the story: http://solutionarchive.com/game/id%2C13 ... C+The.html
IIRC Zenobi published a few more adventures aimed somewhat at children. Have a look at Karen Tyers' games, some of hers might work.

And of course there's Giant Killer, which is still available for download for Windows from http://www.r-e-m.co.uk/topologika/index ... iller.html
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Re: Best beginner's game in English for non-native speakers

#13 Post by Gunness » Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:33 pm

Yes, I'm Danish and yes, she knows The Snow Queen, so it might be an option. I'll give it a go.

Oh, Giant Killer looks like an excellent suggestion - never tried it, so would make for an ideal teamwork project. Thanks!

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Re: Best beginner's game in English for non-native speakers

#14 Post by Richard Bos » Sat Feb 07, 2015 7:37 pm

Gunness wrote:Oh, Giant Killer looks like an excellent suggestion - never tried it, so would make for an ideal teamwork project. Thanks!
Note that it comes with manuals for both student and teacher, the latter containing some pretty clear hints on the way forwards and how to solve the problems. I don't recall whether the standard installation immediately provides both, but they are both available.
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Re: Best beginner's game in English for non-native speakers

#15 Post by Alastair » Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:15 am

Note that although the set-up download for Giant Killer is a Windows executable, the game itself is a DOS program.

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