Acquire new vocabulary by immersion with video games.

Okay, I am en route to Canada for vacation and I figured I would share a successful vocab acquisition process I have been using with games as of late. This is a tip for PS4, PS VITA/PSTV, and PC gamers that are immersing in their target language (read Japanese) and use an SRS (read: Anki) for review.

The best part is you get to just have fun playing games while you do this! I am a VITA owner and I play my VITA consistently since it has such a large Japanese library (and best of all, VITAs are region free!). However, I have confirmed that PS4s also have the ability to capture in-game screenshots, so this method is also helpful for PS4 players.

  1. Play games in your L2 (target language). Duh.
  2. While you are playing a game in your L2 (target language), take in-game screenshots on text when you see i+1 sentences.
  3. Upload or transfer those to your PC.
  4. Input the i+1 sentences as flashcards and add the screenshots to the cards.The screenshots will give you visual context for the sentence and give you more clues to recalling the meaning and reading of the vocabulary you are testing yourself on.

UPDATE: I bought a recorder to rip audio for SRS cards as well.

So for those of you who would like to grab the audio for your cards, it is doable on PSTV and (I'm pretty sure) also PS4. It will require some investment though.

Unfortunately, PSTVs have HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection). This means that the output cannot be intercepted for copying/recording. However, you can bypass HDCP with certain HMDI splitters.

So to rip audio I bought:

  • basic HDMI capture box recorder - GooBang Doo HDVCB1 - $90 USD
  • HDMI splitter switch - CKITZE BG-520 HDMI 1x2 3D splitter v1.3 HDCP - $20 USD
  • USB drive/external HDD with USB connection - Sandisk CZ48 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive - $30 USD

TOTAL: ~$140 USD (or ~$120 USD without buying a USB drive)

I suggest 16GB or more for your USB storage device, 8GB at minimum, because you aren't going to be able to record much video with less space than that.

The recorder I bought is very basic and won't allow you to twitch stream your gameplay or anything. It just has a button to start and stop recording to the USB device. If you want to stream, you gotta pull out the big bucks and get yourself a real capture card.

My SRS card-making method with audio

I use two tools to create cards using my recorded gaming video files. Both are free and widely known. In fact, you may already have them installed.

After a gaming session,

  • connect the USB drive to PC and start playing a video file in VLC
  • when I see an i+1 sentence, I screenshot the subtitle text with VLC (using shortcut Shift + S)
  • drag video file into Audacity
  • in Audacity, select the audio where the dialogue is spoken
  • go to File > Export Selected Audio...
  • type in a name for the audio file and export it somewhere you can find it on your PC
  • create a card in your SRS with the text, the screenshot image file, and the audio
  • WIN