While sorting through some old files recently (definitely not procrastination but research!) I stumbled over some old notes and re-discovered this quirky little language learning game which is just too good not to share.

It’s called Ba Ba Dum, and it’s actually five little games that run directly in your browser, no downloads required. At its heart it’s a fun and simple way to practice vocabulary and pronunciation, supporting more than 20 languages, including German!

This game is already a few years old, and nowadays Duolingo seems to be all the rage, but Ba Ba Dum is different, featuring a unique art style and high quality audio recordings. There are many “language learning games” out there, but they either fall flat because of content (how weird is Duolingo sometimes?), or clunky user experience.

In a world where everything is about sleek design, AI, automated algorithms and optimization, Ba Ba Dum is a fresh breeze of air. It almost feels like something from the mind of Michel Gondry, with that cozy DIY vibe to it and outstanding production value. I think it’s just brilliant.

But how does it work?

Here are the different game modes, as described by the developers:

  • Select one out of four images matching a single written word and a recorded voice reading that word.
  • Select one out of four images matching just a recorded voice reading the word.
  • Select one written word matching the displayed image.
  • Using given letters fill the gaps and type the word matching the displayed image.

The game features nouns, verbs, adjectives and is a great way to expand or reinforce existing vocabulary. You can also create an account to save your progress, but it’s not required.

When it first came out in 2014 Ba Ba Dum won many awards and you can tell that it’s a labor of love by Polish designer couple Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielińscy.