Derek Tillotson


I opted to no do a full debriefing of the digital declutter. I'm not even sure why. It just didn't occur to me that I should. But going into the whole thing, the biggest thing I was curious to learn about was if/how my relationship with video games would change.

As a whole, I don't think it'll be drastically different. I'll probably play less online stuff and I no longer want to buy cheap games purely because they're cheap--they need to be things I genuinely plan to play and hope to genuinely enjoy. I also hope to avoid the trap of turning on an open world game, like Grand Theft Auto or Forza Horizon, and just run around doing nothing of value. Everything I do should have some sort of goal attached.

Oh and also, it should be in Spanish.

I've played through five games in Spanish to this point. One was significantly less text-heavy than the others--but still no slouch (Final Fantasy (GBA)). One was a game I had played before (Pokémon Gold). Two were games I had played so much that I really picked up nothing by playing them in a non-English language (Final Fantasy V, Final Fantasy VIII). And the other one was Final Fantasy IV, a game I hadn't put more than two hours into before trying it in Spanish. Also, I played Pokémon Let's Go Eevee in German, but that's purely because I don't know German.

Most video games today have a Spanish translation. Not all of them include Spanish-language dialogue, unfortuantely. But that's not shocking to me--most games have English voice acting, and Japanese-developed games usually have Japanese voicing. After that, it's all a crap shoot. Some games will have subtitles and fully translated text for over a dozen languages, some will have just one or two. Some will have full voice acting for a large number (Skyrim has voice acting for Russian and Polish, which is neat). And then there's Mini Metro, which has no spoken dialogue, but has written support for dozens of languages, including some big ones often ignored by the gaming industry, like Arabic and Turkish.

But I'm focusing on playing video games in Spanish as a better way to make myself pick up on things in the language. My plan is to always have a text-heavy game at the ready (currently: Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright). For other games, my rule is: If there's voice acting, set it to Spanish. If Spanish isn't an option, turn off the voices (or set them to non-English)--if possible--and turn on subtitles. If there's no Spanish at all, then don't play it.

The one big exception is if I ever get around to playing Myst III. I ain't risking anything getting lost in translation with a game like that.

Written May 13, 2020

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