DS Horror: When You Want Scares to Go
Do you love the film "The Ring" so much you wish you could play a video game version of it? Well, guess what, you're in luck... sort of.
Jean Snow at Wired's Game|Life called attention yesterday to a new Nintendo DS game called "Nanashi no Game" ("The Game With No Name") that is slated for a July release in Japan. Snow doesn't have a ton of details now, but describes the game as an original horror title that introduces the idea of a cursed game. The gameplay will be similar to "Hotel Dusk," which had players turn the DS sideways to engage with the point-and-click adventure style. Square Enix, one of the true powerhouses of game production, is on the case, so we can and should expect a real quality product. For more information, the website for "Nanashi no Game," is here, but don't bother if your Japanese is a little rusty.
The idea of horror on the DS might seem a little odd to some, but the unique control capabilities actually make Nintendo's portable champion a worthy platform for scares. "Dusk," which I've not played, was more of a noir/suspense setup, but the DS has hosted other horror titles. There was a port of the first "Resident Evil" game that got decent reviews, and an original title, "Dementium: The Ward," was actually pretty well received. In the latter game, players were asked to use the stylus to control a number of items, including a flashlight.
The DS has really brought point-and-click gaming back, rescuing it from the oblivion of PC nostalgia, and reinventing it for a whole new generation of gamer. By positioning the player closer to the action—in this case, literally controlling the flow with a touch—some may find that this style of play actually enhances the tension in horror gaming. From what I've seen, "The Game Without a Name" should be an interesting experiment in designing horror experiences for the portable market as well as in pushing at the boundaries of how players engage with a narrative. If you don't have a DS yet, it's probably time you joined the club.