Kanji Samurai Target Audience Analysis
Kanji Samurai is a challenging educational game that tasks players with tracing Japanese Kanji on their mobile devices in order to perform attacks against opponents. Players learn various and more complicated Kanji as they progress from peasant to powerful samurai warrior in a traditional Feudal Japan setting. Kanji Samurai is intended to be an entry level experience to writing Japanese Kanji that is both enjoyable and accessible to players.
Kanji Samurai is appropriate for an audience aged eight and up who enjoy playing unique games that offer more than just a fun experience. They see videogames as a medium for learning and discovery. We believe eight years is a good starting age for our target market because, according to PBS.org, age eight is the time when children want to start solving problems independently, have increased curiosity and eagerness to learn, and are able to concentrate on tasks for longer periods of time. Children below the age of eight have more difficulty concentrating and may get frustrated with the game if they do not write the Kanji correctly the first time. Eight year olds have more patience and are at the age where they are practicing handwriting in school. Kanji Samurai will reinforce that handwriting education by tasking kids with writing out Kanji characters with precision. Glynis has also tested the game with the students in the afterschool program she works for, and found that most third graders and up could understand how to play the game without excessive explanation. Kanji Samurai will appeal to eight-year-old’s first as a game and end up introducing them to the Japanese language along the way. Anyone older than eight years who has an interest in Japan and its language will enjoy our game as well.
Fans of our game will have to be fans to an extent of the Japanese culture; why would they be playing our game otherwise? Players of Kanji Samurai will likely be fans of games produced by the Japanese, such as the Pokemon or the Persona series. They may also be fans of popular Samurai movies like Yojimbo or the Seven Samurai, as well as television, and anime series such as Samurai Champloo and One Piece. According to one estimate from MIT, over half the world’s animated television shows originate in Japan. Many Americans have more than just a fleeting interest in Japanese culture. Americans have been buying up Japanese video games like Pokemon and the Final Fantasy series, and consuming Japanese media since the introduction of anime to the US with Astroboy in the 1960’s. There is a large market for Japanese media in the United States, and with that comes a general interest in Japan and its culture. The biggest fans of Japanese media today are teenagers and young adults, according to the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation (Gardiner). Many young adults grew up watching and playing Pokemon which fostered an interest in Japan that’s lasted into adulthood.
Here at Radiant Ronin Productions, we believe we are equipped to create a successful Japanese language educational game for young Americans despite not being Japanese ourselves. Glynis has been a fan of Japan and it’s media since age nine, and is currently enrolled in Japanese 4 at Champlain College. She is extremely knowledgeable about the language and culture. Not only do we have Glynis as a great resource, but we can also use her connections to the Japanese language courses at Champlain to playtest our game on students actually learning Japanese, as well as her connections to the local elementary school afterschool program to test out the game on a younger audience. Although the rest of the team does not have Japanese language experience, Maddie has taken art history which had a section about Eastern art. She has also researched traditional Japanese art extensively in order to establish our art direction. We are committed to producing a game that is culturally accurate–we are conducting research so our samurai masters are depicted appropriately. We want to stay true to the Japanese culture and people. Players will enjoy Kanji Samurai for it’s Japanese theme and practical application–players can use our game as an introductory tool to Japanese Kanji.
Our players can be examined through many lenses, one of which is Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences. Gardner’s theory explains that different students learn through different means. The two primary learning styles Kanji Samurai will appeal to are visual and linguistic. Kanji Samurai will appeal to visual learners because the game involves direct drawing on a mobile screen. Visual learners learn best through images, diagrams, and drawing. Linguistic learners will also find value in this game because they love learning new words and their associated meanings. These visual and linguistic learners identify as achievers under Bartle’s Player Taxonomy, meaning they derive the most pleasure from mastering a game’s mechanics. They favor games that offer them concrete progression. Kanji Samurai is made for these player types because they will have to master a set number of Kanji before they are able to proceed to the next samurai master. Another lens to examine our players through is Lazzaro’s 4 Keys to Fun. Players of Kanji Samurai enjoy hard fun rather than easy fun, meaning they derive the most fun from games that bring about emotions of frustration followed by relief upon mastery of a game mechanic. Players will no doubt experience frustration in Kanji Samurai as they fail complicated Kanji strokes, but upon mastery of the Kanji they will feel a rush of accomplishment from completing a difficult challenge.
The target audience for Kanji Samurai is wide, but primarily targets children who aged eight and up who enjoy a challenge and have an interest in Japan. It is intended for achiever gamers who get a rush from mastering a challenging game mechanic. Visual and linguistic learners will be the most drawn to Kanji Samurai due to it’s style of learning–tracing a foreign language’s characters on a mobile phone which is both a visual and linguistic experience. Finally, Kanji Samurai will appeal to those interested in the Japanese culture–inspired by Japanese anime and video games or even personal travel experience. Kanji Samurai is intended to appeal to an audience of Japanese fans who enjoy learning and appreciate the challenge that comes with mastering a new language.
“Approaches to Learning.” PBS Parents. PBS, n.d. Web. 11 Oct. 2016.
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Lazzaro, Nicole. “The 4 Keys 2 Fun.” Nicole Lazzaros Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Oct.
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