I'm absolutely rubbish at learning new languages. Actually, I'm pretty sure a lot of people are if they have no daily practice and no reason to speak the language on a daily basis. So, looking at Glass Joe's XBLIG offering German 101, I definitely have to say it's worthwhile for people already starting to learn German. Which, unfortunately, isn't me.
German 101 is the XBox version of someone sitting across the room and holding up flash cards. Obviously you can't just say the word and have the 360 magically know what you just did so you're given three English word choices to pick from for your answer. You can start off with a handful of words, mostly pronouns, and then work your way up to numbers, nouns, verbs, and whatever modifiers find their way into the 1,000 words included.
The presentation of German 101 goes for the schooldesk motif, with a notebook and writing utensils on top of a wooden desk. It has its charm but still comes off a little simple. Than again, when you're staring at about one-sixth of the screen for 15-30 minutes straight it doesn't matter much. Outside of the test, you're given graphs and charts detailing your progress, and everything is nice, clear and readable.
The upside of German 101 is that it's great if you're learning German already and need a little help with your vocabulary. You can mark words that you don't want to come up anymore, see how many times you've gotten certain words correct, and adjust the amount that will be in the word bank. In that, German 101 is an alright help. If you don't speak a word of German, however, it's not so helpful. There's no pronounciation guide or lessons on sentence structure, so you feel somewhat like you're just thumbing through a German to English dictionary that happens to have a multiple choice section. More relevant to the title as a whole, there are a couple other problems. One, the random generator isn't all that random. Out of 100 words, I got the same word twice in a row and then again after one other word. And two, I wish there was a way to pick certain categories of words, such as nouns or animals or anything. Instead, you're stuck with ich, die, and other pronouns until you mark each individual one so you're not getting them later on. Not a horrible thing, but sometimes I just want to focus on numbers or verbs.
In short, if you want a little help outside of your German class, German 101 is here for you. If you want to learn German, I suggest some classes or computer software and THEN using this to help when you're not having mock conversations or watching Finding Nemo dubbed in German.