My level is around JLPT N3 and I played over 15 video games in japanese, most of them for one hour, before switching because I prefered other resources or just playing in english.
I would like to share what are the two rules for me at this level in choosing games to play in japanese:
Play games with high production value : dub, characters animation…
(because context is key in all communication, and 2D retro games is low context)
At first I played a lot of old games or games with low graphics, as they’re the most common in japanese learner circles (lots of retro gamers and Nintendo players at a time when the best options were Nintendo DS because 3DS is region locked), and they are my kind of games after all!
I was struggling in a lot of situations where the language was kinda basic. One day I played Chrono Trigger which I know very well with both versions side by side, and I noticed how much a dialog can be random and hard to understand what the point is, out of context (especially true with optional villagers dialog in JRPGs).
Playing games like Yakuza which have dub and rich characters animations, I was able to understand a lot more of lines which carried richer and weirder vocabulary. Speech intonation is giving such a relief to your brain to know what the dialog shoud be about. Once I got the global context, looking for the specific vocabulary and remembering it seemed much more easy (= cost less motivation) to me.
The only problem with dub is that it sometimes mean dialog can’t be stopped which is the biggest pain you can encounter in the beginning.
- Go for what you WANT to play
Two extreme cases of this rule:
A low intermediate game which has been recommended but I have not real interest to play : I’ll drop it after (for me a good exemple is Little Charo which is basically an english course in japanese, sometimes recommended by japanese learners)
A high intermediate game which I want to play because it matches my taste: I spend hours on it, and each new word seems to stick in my brain. (latest exemple for me: 13 Sentinels Aegis Rim which I’m very interested in and I can only play it in Japanese)
So now I follow my motivation in choosing games, and I just don’t play recommended “japanese games to learn japanese”.
It might be different for the first games you are playing when your level is around N4, but once you become a solid intermediate in the Language Learning Plateau, I definitely prefer to go for things that motivate me.
Sorry it was more of a personal statement than an answer to your question, I personally don’t use self made SRS since a long time ago, only Wanikani and Bunpro. (I honestly don’t know if this is a good idea, it worked for me better until reaching intermediate but maybe I would learn faster with personal SRS now? Difficult to say, it has a motivation cost in the easy-to-keep-on-streak/intensive learning balance of self-learning)
I hope this personal rules can help!