HK Mist.jpg

THE SCIENCE 

Today's language learning market feels devoid of methods based on contemporary brain science and well-known natural principles. 

 

PARETO’S PRINCIPLE: THE 80-20 RULE

The Italian Economist Vilfredo Pareto observed the 80-20 rule and published his findings in "Cours d'économie politique".

 

For many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes
― Vilfredo Pareto

Applying this to language, if we focus on the most commonly found words and characters first, we should have an outsized return on overall comprehension of the language. 

 

For example, in many languages, “the most commonly used 100 words represent 50% of the total volume of all written and spoken content used by native speakers”

Memory Retention Through Repetition

Repeating core vocabulary words means that the learner is able to acquire and retain words which are most useful for speaking and reading Chinese.

 

Efficient Grouping of Word Sets to Maximise Retention

Based on scientific studies and logic, arranging content in an optimal structure improves an individuals' ability to learn and remember.  Studies have demonstrated grouping similar words together (e.g. car, truck, bike, bus) for learning can confuse and has a negative effect on accurate memory recall.  Thematic groups (e.g. China, red, people, to work) provides the best structure for remembering a given word and the game will leverage this fact.

 

Increasing Repetition Engagement Through Entertaining Content

When you increase repetition in a system or process, often engagement decreases and the risk of boredom increases. Unless the content is enjoyable and delivered in a unique and varied way...

By using an interactive, mobile, shooting format with varied levels, weapons, characters, targets and rewards and punishments, the repetitive nature of the activity would be much more palatable!

Source: Effects of Source Likability on attitude change through message repetition, Jean-Charles Chebat, University of Quebec at Montreal

 

THE GAME

 

OBJECTIVE

Deliver a fun and engaging game which significantly increases the player's ability to recall Chinese words.

The game aims to incorporate principles of repetition (which enhances memory) and the 3 parts to a Chinese word - the character, the pinyin and the English translation. This will be delivered through a fun, addictive game - Mandarin Shooter Quest! which rewards stellar performance and punishes poor performance!

 

Elemts.png

 

GAME STRUCTURE

The player is presented a word (e.g. in English - "I"), and must shoot the target presenting the correct Chinese character. To learn Chinese properly, you must remember the symbol/character, its meaning (English word) and how to say it (pinyin). Therefore there are six possible combinations in which words can be shown and displayed.  (See Game Dynamics Above) 

After you correctly match the first 10 words (English to pinyin) the same words will then be presented but in a different way (e.g. pinyin to Chinese characters). Once the player has completed the six possible combinations, a summary box appears to show their score. Highest possible score is 60 x 10pts = 6,000pts if no mistakes are made.

 

Instead of three gold stars, the player gets rated either 1,2 or 3 golden Chinese lucky cats based on performance. The more cats collected throughout the game, the better.  (And clearly the more random luck you will encounter throughout life**)

 

Fun, fast repetition, a ticking clock and an array of rewards, means users are encouraged to make the right connections and constantly test their memory while advancing through the game. With your help, I’m hoping to change the way we learn Mandarin and provide a super fun tool so everyone from young children and university students to business executives and tourists can engage with the language.

 

CONCLUSION

Mastering the most common 1,000 words in a language would mean you could confidently converse with locals, read general text, gain an overall understanding of newspaper articles and feel a great sense of reward!

 

This may take hours, weeks, or months of game play, but what better outcome could there be, that after conquering all levels, you can now better relate to an additional 1.4 billion of the world’s citizens. A game that's time well spent, and not time wasted.  

 

Imagine filling spare pockets of time with purposeful entertainment! If say, after [200 hours] of playing "[MSQ]", you found yourself reading a Chinese menu and successfully avoiding the rubber-band like tendons of the chickens feet special.  Or switching off the subtitles and still fully understanding who Jet Li is going to demolish.  

 

I would love for you to help me bring Mandarin Shooter Quest to the masses! We will work night and day and use the funds raised here on Kickstarter to build and provide a unique approach to learning Chinese!

 

So for the cost of one Chinese lesson, a textbook, an unused set of Rosetta Stone CDs or a half eaten suckling roast pig^^,  please pledge generously to help provide the necessary resources to make our learning game a reality. 谢谢你!

 

^^ We are unsure of the value of a half eaten Chinese roast pig but figure it should be pretty low. i.e. any support would really be appreciated.