I was inspired by the recent Warcraft chinesepod lesson to give video gaming a go as a Chinese language learning tool. I'm not much of a gamer, but a year ago I did some Windows Mobile gaming and a couple weeks of World of Warcraft to get my Spanish study jump-started, and I'd found it quite effective.
For Chinese, Warcraft 3 seems quite good, since the volume of text isn't too overwhelming, and most all in-game text is stored in a log. It was hard at first, slogging through it with the help of Pleco on my ipod touch and every so often appealing to the staff of the web cafe, but this is a great way to harness the addictive power of video games! Age of Empires III: Asian Civilizations and the recent Sims games look great as well, among the games that I've sampled at my local Internet cafe (in Taiwan). The original Starcraft isn't translated into Chinese, as far as I know, but I've played the beta version of Starcraft II is, and I'll probably play that a bit as well - might wait until it's published, so I can get the tutorial and story content.
For language learning, it seems best to only casually play any single game, play it until you're comfortable with the lingo, and then either move onto a different medium (movies, novels, etc.) or a different game, so that you're always being exposed to new environments and fresh language. I'll eventually do a stint on World of Warcraft or another MMO (massively multiplayer online) game, but that can be tricky for anyone who lives on the mainland, because they almost always require a PRC id. In Taiwan or Hong Kong it's not that hard - I've successfully gotten TLBB (天龙八部, an MMO based on a famous martial arts novel) and World of Warcraft id's, though once I got playing I found them a little beyond my Chinese comfort level.
Has anyone else given this a go? What are some games that you've liked for language learning purposes? I'm especially interested in original Chinese games, ideally ones like TLBB that have English versions.