Yukari Umezawa's Easy Go in translation
Suggestion: Use the Firefox add-on rikaichan for mouseover Japanese-to-English language instant popups.
Note: At the bottom of many screens, there are labels for the B button (in red), and the A button (in blue). These mean, as you might expect, BACK and FORWARD.
Note: This game is aimed at Japanese 10th graders; i.e., high school sophomores.
Enter your name!
The first screen users encounter is the standard hiragana layout, and you are expected to enter your own name — in Japanese! After getting past this obstacle [Hint: Don't enter ぼく, boku, meaning "me" (boys only), or わたし, watasi, same meaning (esp. girls), then click the character third down on the far right to conclude. No, use your own actual name — Umezawa-chibi will sometimes address you by name during games and study], you advance to a screen with five main buttons.
- Go Lessons 講座
- Rules of Go
- Play on the Intersections
- Surround Territory
- Taking Liberties
- Making Eyes
- The Ko Rule
- Life & Death
- Play a game! 対局しよう
- Your color (black or white)
- Board size (9,13,19)
- CPU Strength (Strong, Medium, Weak)
- Handicap (Even, Sensei (no komi), or 1 to 9 stones)
- Komi (None, Half, or 1 to 9)
- Play Game with Commentary 手取り足取り Play with two small boards on the upper screen. These show your move on the left, and the CPU's move plus your predicted next move on the right, with territorial analysis. Umezawa-chibi comments, especially if your play is boneheaded or deviates significantly from the line predicted by CPU. If you don't speak Japanese, take heart and simply observe that most of this "commentary" is boilerplate. The visual feedback on the other hand is immediate and obvious — and of course you can take back a move!
- Play Against CPU CPU対局 Click twice to place a stone on the board.
- Play Against a Person 対人対局 Use the Nintendo DS as a goban. This would seem to be the perfect place to put the standard DS wi-fi feature, but I haven't found it.
- Replay Game Record 棋譜再生
- Umezawa-Sensei's Go Challenges 梅沢先生に挑戦
- Begin Challenges Work through a graded series of Go problems, from tenth grade (the hardest) down to first grade (easiest). These are simple life-and-death problems for the most part. The number in each grade seems to vary by your performance, and you may occasionally get a harder bonus problem; Grade 11 is the toughest I've seen so far.
- Practice Mode The buttons on the right are, top to bottom: Hint, Give Up, and Menu
- Strength Certification !! Judging from the application form which you fill in and send off to Nihon Kiin, what you get back is a genuine official document certifying that you earned the rank of [your rank here] on a Nintendo DS.
- B Rank Certification
- A Rank Certification
You must pass B Rank before you attempt A Rank.
- Change name
- Background Music (on/off)
- Board click (on/off)
- Clear data (Challenge, Practice, ALL) Current user only.
|Begin each game by selecting its parameters:|
Buttons to the right of boards in play are, top to bottom: Hint, Take Back, Pass, How to End the Game (see below), Resign and Menu.
Click twice to place a stone on the board, and pass the stylus.
|End your game (see above) by negotiating the "Save Game Record?" dialogs. These can be confusing or even frustrating if you speak no Japanese. Japanese kids breeze right through them ;-)|
If the two fields on the screen contain short words, the top word (はい) is YES and the bottom word (いいえ) is NO. IS YOUR GAME TRULY OVER? If so, click on YES. (If you click NO, you will return to your game board, with the opportunity to take back one or more moves.)
The next two fields are also YES and NO. SAVE GAME RECORD? If so, click on YES. A screen with two slots appears. Usually, these contain a date in the form YY/MM/DD HH:MM, indicating when the stored game was played. Select one or the other. If there is no date (未登録), the slot is unused and available for storage.
Only two game records can be stored at one time.
Select the game you want to review. A blank board appears. Click the top right button, and your first move is played back.
The buttons on the right side, top to bottom: Forward, Back, Forward 10 Moves, Back 10 Moves, Go to Beginning, Go to End, Resume Play, Menu.
After you complete the entire series, a photograph of Umezawa-sensei appears briefly. If you did lousy, she avoids eye contact while congratulating you in perfunctory fashion. If you did better this time, she gives you an appraising, slightly approving look. The best I've seen so far is a rather excited "Omedetou!" with hand gesture. I don't know what the top end is like (haven't scored that well!)
Umezawa-chibi's directions for each problem are straightford (although the actual Japanese terms are a titch more bloodcurdling):
"Find a way for black to live."
"Rescue the black stones marked with a triangle."
"Remove the white stones marked with a triangle."
"Reduce the size of white's territory."
"Play black's single best move."
The information in the box (top panel) gives the grade level, and suggests the number of moves required to solve the problem. Also tells the number of hints Umezawa-chibi may give, usually one or two, but sometimes none.
Official judgment is based on problems, not games against a CPU, so it may be fairly accurate; I'm not in a position to know for sure. This is probably a lot more fun than having igowin think you're a 4 kyu, huh?
By "you," of course, we mean that only the first 500 Japanese kids who qualify need apply. Lighten up, it's only a Nintendo DS game!!