A Game Killed an Opinion

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Don’t hate me, but I didn’t like JRPGs. I remember when I was a kid and I got a game called Final Fantasy 7. What I can say about that game, I really dislike it. Okay, I was a kid and didn’t speak English yet. I think understanding the game’s storyline and plot in a RPG is especially important. Unfortunately, a few games come out in my first language, so most of my friends don’t even play those games because they don’t speak English. Besides the language itself, I found Final Fantasy 7 boring as hell. I was a kid, so my opinion doesn’t count. Crash Bandicoot was my thing at that time. I grew up on gaming pretty much excluding any JRPGs from my library. I think the only JRPG I played was Pokemon Leaf Green and Fire Red.

However, a couple months ago I bought a PS Vita and loved it a lot. I still use my Vita mostly for playing indie games, but reading reviews about the best Vita games pretty much every reviewer was recommending Persona 4 Golden. So, I decided give it a try. The first day I played Persona, I got to play it for only 2 hours and have to admit I didn’t like it. When I went to bed that day, I was really regretting my purchase. Just to clarify, the first 2 hours were just a bunch of conversations setting up the tone to the rest of the game. It was the same feeling I had when I played Final Fantasy 7 several years ago. The only difference was probably that I could understand the language they were speaking on the game.

Even though I didn’t like the first two hours, I gave it a second change later. The second time playing the game was totally different from the first time. I started getting into the storyline. The first combat was just amazing; a catchy music was playing while I beat some shadows. The characters were becoming special to me, I felt very attached to the plot and to the world itself. I played Persona 4 Golden for around 100 hours. It’s already one of my favorite games of all time. What I learned from this experience is that we cannot judge a game based on previous experiences. I was missing out an exceptional genre, and totally want to come back and play other JRPGs such as Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Final Fantasy X.

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Being in a Podcast was Awesome!

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Today I’m going to write about something totally different from my usual blog posts. I wanna share with you guys an awesome experience I had a few weeks ago. I was interviewed in a podcast. For those who are not familiar, Real Life English is a website/platform engaged to spread the English language to anyone who is interested in learning. Beyond the website/platform, they have a monthly podcast talking about several subjects related to the English language. They do a pretty consisted job that inspires thousands of people around the world in learning English. I’m not kidding, thousand of people listen to each episode, and other thousand access their website looking for content in English. The hosts and founders of the platform, Justin Murray and Chad Fishwick are two amazing English teachers. What I admire the most about Real Life English and these two dudes is the passion they have about teaching other folks. I have lived in the USA enough time to realize not everyone is willing to help you learning their language. I don’t understand why some Americans decline in helping other mates. I feel so good when I met people trying to learn my first language. I have helped some folks learning Portuguese in the USA in some Portuguese meetings they hold at Indiana University every Friday evening.

When I was struggling learning English, I used to listen to podcasts about the language itself. Nowadays, I found it boring as hell. Real Life English is the only english-related podcast that I still listen. I listen to some podcasts yet, but most of them are related to Playstation and Comedy. What differentiate Real Life English from the other podcasts is that they are not concerned with the language itself. They talk about pretty much about any other subject they feel like chatting. On the episode featuring me (#112 available on Itunes), they asked for some advices for English learners. One of the most important advices that I can give someone learning any language is to try living in that language. We can do that with some small attitudes like changing the cell phone language, watching movies in the target language with subtitles at the beginning and without subtitles when you reach a certain level, and basically listen to the target language everyday. It’s not a big deal when you got access to the Internet. Podcasts are my favorites source of listening content.

However, my biggest advice and the most effective in learning any language is more difficult to attain: acquiring relationships in that language. I cannot measure how much English I myself have learned from my friends. It’s not about the language anymore when you got a strong relationship. I skype my friends in the USA, of course we chat in English, and I’m not concerned with what I’m going to learn with them, but I really care what is going on in their lives. I got a girlfriend when I lived in the USA that we only speak English. I can’t speak Mandarin and she cannot speak Portuguese. I became fluent in English because of these relationships. Going to any English class was not as effective as playing games with my roommates or going out with my ex. I have the advantage of living abroad that not everyone has access. However, it is not so difficult finding people to chat in English in websites as Real Life English or any other platforms of your choice. Real Life English is just an example, there are websites related to any language you are learning (busuu and gospeaky are both great). We have the privilege to live in an era that is so easy get to know amazing people all over the world.