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! I have confirmed that the Playstation 4 also has the ability to capture in-game screenshots, so this method could be helpful for PS4-equipped Japanese learners.

  1. Play games in your L2 (target language). Duh. Text heavy games are best. This includes:
    • RPGs (role-playing games)
    • visual novels, which the VITA has a wide selection of
    • any game with an extensive storyline and/or a lot of dialogue
  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.

Recording Audio

I bought a recorder to rip audio for SRS cards as well. For those of you who would like to grab the audio for your cards, it is doable on PSTV and PS4. It will require some investment though.

Unfortunately, these consoles have HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection). This is a protective software layer that prevents output from being intercepted for copying/recording. However, you can bypass HDCP with certain HMDI splitters.

Equipment needed to rip audio:

TOTAL: ~$115–$140 USD

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.

How to extract audio from our recorded PS VITA gameplay videos

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

  • VLC Media Player
  • Audacity or your DAW of choice*
    * NOTE: The following steps in this guide assume you will be using Audacity to record the audio. I won't be providing instructions for other DAWs, but chances are you don't need my help if you know and use your preferred DAW application.

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)
  • make sure you have completed configuration setup for ffmpeg and LAME MP3 encoder in Audacity
  • 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 to either a *.m4a or *.mp3 file 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

PS VITA alternative audio recording method

If you don't own or don't want to shell out for an HDMI recording setup, you can still grab audio with some basic digital audio recording hardware.

Required equipment:

  • an audio interface or digital USB mixer; make sure your interface/mixer has either RCA inputs (the old mono red/white pair) or a stereo input; depending on which input your device has determines the cable you need below
  • a DAW that is compatible with your interface
  • a rudimentary knowledge of how audio equipment connects to a PC and convert analog signals to digital audio
  • one of the following cables that match a compatible input option above on your interface/mixer

How to record from VITA to interface to DAW:

  • connect the VITA's headphone output with cable inputs and record into your DAW of choice. I would suggest my DAW of choice, Reaper. It's super powerful; it's reasonably priced— only $60 for personal and low-revenue use (low revenue = under $20,000 gross revenue per year); the company's philosiphy is awesome; the team's support is unmatched; software bugs are minimal.
  • Open a blank project in your DAW and create a stereo track
  • Route the input(s) you connecting your VITA and interface to the stereo track
  • arm the track for recording
  • hit Record

Works like a charm and you can edit/export the clips to mp3 files to throw into Anki cards, all without ever leaving Reaper.