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// article by Jeff

Being the decadent and noble explorer that I am, I have applied my full safari gear, and I have hiked to the top of the tallest mountain of unlicensed bootleg games I could find, just for you. Donning my patented sampling glove, I reached deep into that pile and pulled out something at random to quench the appetites of bootleg fanatics everywhere. It was a cartridge with the name "Dong Dong Nao II" written on it. My first thought was that, with a name like "Dong Dong Nao II", it might be some sort of pornographic game for the Famicom (the Japanese model of the NES, for that one person not yet in the know). To my surprise, it's actually not dirty at all. In fact, it's an EDUCATIONAL game!

But I use the term "game" very loosely.

The full name of this game is "Dong Dong Nao II - Guo Zhong Ying Wen", but many online users know it as "Middle School English - Dong Dong Nao II". I still don't know what this dong business is, and I probably never will. Maybe the game will teach me.

It's very simple software, really. Basically, you can choose from any list of up to ten words or phrases, and it will give you both the English word and the associated symbols in the game's native language. I'm not sure whether it's Mandarin or Cantonese (never call me an expert on this); I'm guessing it's Mandarin, considering the game was produced in Taiwan, where Mandarin is the official language. You can also take a look at the master list, which features all vocabulary in the game (no worries, it's less than 90 terms to recall).

After a very quick review — see also: stare at the list and hope you can remember something — you're immediately quizzed, where you are given the Mandarin term and are asked to input the English equivalent. THIS IS HOW I LEARRRRRRRRRN! Actually, I was quite horrible at it, partially because I wasn't quite up to the challenge of learning parts of a new language at 11:00 at night, but mostly because I haven't the capacity just yet of remembering the minute details of Mandarin symbols at a single glance. Maybe if I sat there for an hour and stared at them intensely until they burned their images into my retinas, I could then use that singed pictoral as a cheating device to beat the game. That didn't happen, so I ended up putting in random words I thought were funny, and I was reprimanded with a score of zero.

If Sachen had hired personnel with an actual educational background, they might have had a chance at making a worthwhile effective educational tool. ...Oh, who am I kidding? Sachen couldn't make a good game if they invented the Sachen Magnificent Amusement Development Device™. And if they did, it would probably be a bootleg of Nintendo's model.

Dong Dong Nao II has little presentation value and even less entertainment value. The most fun you'll get out of it is saying its name. Let's look at how much fun I had:


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