Rumors have been circulating about a Role-Playing Game for the TS (a game system that looks suspiciously familiar) that's recently grown in popularity; people say that the game has been cursed. The rumor goes that whoever doesn't complete the RPG in a certain number of days, will die.You are one of those who have played the game. You didn't put much stock in the rumors at first until you visit your friend Odaka's apartment and find him dead. Suddenly, you realize that the things that happen in the game are happening to you in real life and death is approaching you. As the clock ticks, can you find a way to escape the curse?Nanashi no Game (The Game with No Name or The Nameless Game) is a Survival Horror game by Square Enix for the Nintendo DS that takes place in two worlds: the real world and the eightbit game world of the cursed RPG. The actions done in the game world give clues to what's happening in the story while the real world has you exploring places while avoiding the ghosts of previous victims. A sequel known as Nanashi no Game Me (the subtitle translating to "Eye"), featuring a new protagonist, the cursed RPG, and a cursed platformer, has also been released for the DS, as have independent versions of both cursed games—subtitles Chi ("Blood") and Goku ("Prison")—on DSiWare.In January 2012, Square Enix also released new spinoffs of the series called Nanashi no App and 774 Deaths for iOS and Android, which follows the same pattern of story of the previous games but now with an unavoidable downloadable app for your smartphone which messes around your camera and mail apps where you need to try to resolve the mystery and trying to save your life.It is also suggested for those who truly enjoy horror games to listen to the game with earphones.
This game provides examples of:
Abandoned Hospital: The third level takes place in one. It's also where the ghosts start appearing.
Since Me has some relations with the original game regarding to the plot, the hospital plays a role in the 6th day again... but it gets so much worse thanks to Akane's double personality, it also gets present in the game as well.
Adults Are Useless: Sort of. Prof. Ohyama is far from useless, but he does sort of leave you to do everything for yourself — at least, up until he pulls a You Shall Not Pass to save your life near the end. Possibly justified by the fact that he was trying to find out what happened if he didn't play the game and/or investigate the curse himself.
During the playthrough in Me, you find two kinds of these: ones are white and the others are red. These are helpful to release the RPG or the platformer modes, respectively, to resolve some puzzles and to keep going on your way. The white help you resolve and investigate around in the RPG world; the red are in there to don't leave you advance in the platformer levels.
Cutscene Power to the Max: Sort of. The only time in the original game where you get to actually runis when Riko chases you. The rest of the time, the protagonist is never concerned enough to do more than a brisk walk.
Downer Ending: In Me this is what happens mixed a bit with a Gainax Ending, once you play the whole game AGAIN, your reward is "making" a new proxy for the cursed game's entity/spirit (which happens to be something else, a digital 'soul' without a body) and makes you wonder that the game was alive and cursed from the beginning, not exactly from Asahi or Akane in the second game), the hero gets killed, Ren is the new body of the game, and the game is distributed not only to YOU, but ALL. ALSO, the ending song of this evokes a familiar sentiment, too. What.
Dramatic Irony: Drives the whole plot of the first game: Asahi hated the game and everything associated with it because her father was working so hard on it, and because it indirectly caused the death of her mother. Unbeknownst to her, Ikuta was turning Project Sun into a loving tribute to their happier past as a family.
Fate Worse than Death: Victims of the game reappear later as ghosts. The dev team fits this trope, though one programmer takes solace in that she can "listen to the song I wrote".
Say, you have a dark and sad past? You feel resentment towards someone? Is it involed in some way with the game? And now you are in a coma/dead? Sure, no problem! You can be the next host of the game itself!
Flashback Effects: Tomoka's murder is reenacted in the RPG. The layout of the house is the same, down to the placement of doors and the stairwell.
In Me, the story of what happened to Akane and her friends is not only reenacted in a typical RPG style (with also unpredictable results), but also in a way resembling the real world, as what happened with Asahi.
Foreshadowing: The RPG scene of a bench overlooking the sea. In the 'real world', that's your ultimate destination. The first scene of Me as well neither you nor Ren, nor Yuuta are the ones of the party, it's the story of Akane and his friends' deaths, you are going to revisit this scene some times.
Four Is Death: On the second day, the creepy, bloody abandoned train cars that Riko walks through are all labeled "Car 4". The hospital on day 3 has been closed for four years. UTA-SOFT is on the fourth floor of Nakano Broadway, and it has also been closed for four years, which you find out from the fourth e-mail you receive on the fourth day.
Even the title plays on the association between four and death - it can be read as na-nashi no game, The Game with no Name, but it can also be read as nana-shi no game, the game that kills you in seven days.
The ultimate Downer Ending of Me gets so much worse. Where after getting killed the hero, the cursed RPG is transferred from his TS to not only to yours, but ALL.
From Bad to Worse: Chapter one of the original game ends with your character finding your friend Odaka dead in his apartment. Chapter two shows the last moments of Riko's life and her death by the ghost of Odaka's hands. Near the end of Chapter 6, your ally Professor Ohyama finally falls victim to the game as well.
Me follows the same pattern. In Day One you go to investigate a previous victim of the game (Odaka)'s department to investigate about this cursed game, your eye gets cursed and werid stuff start to happen, then your best friend dies because of the game and the game got downloaded to your TS. Thanks to Story Branching, things may or may not get easier, but eventually you find out about this other 'bad' spirit, and the game is getting more bugged in some sort of way then Ren falls victim of the game, you realize that the spirit in question, Akane, has two different personalities and is trying to destroy you AND HELP you.
Genre Deconstruction: Oh boy. It's deconstructed to the point that the cursed game isn't actually an RPG - there's no battles, no leveling up, no buying items, no resting at inns. Just walking around and talking to people and finding hidden items to unlock the best ending.
Technically in the sequel it's also a deconstruction but it also averts it since Akane's story is in sort of way represented as if it is an RPG: you have your party, you fight monsters and you have conflicts with one of your team members, all in 8-bits glory.
Ghostly Gape: These show up with the hostile ghosts as enemies.
Ghostly Goals: Asahi waffles between Type A and B. Akane fits as well with both of her personalities, 'white' is a bit of Type A, the 'red' one is the one that mostly fits in Type B.
Golden Ending: A trope within a trope. In the original game, collecting all of the hidden items unlocks a meta ending, which appears as a hidden message in the cursed game: Ikuta dedicating the game to his daughter.
Haunted Technology: The RPG, complete with glitchy graphics that let you know something is seriously wrong with the game.
One very noticeable one is when the ghost of Riko attacks you in the hospital. Cue one of the scarier chase scenes in the game.
The scene where Ohyama gets transformed into a Regret as well. It's even worse since Ohyama is running to YOU, compared to the previous Regrets and your useless running, he is pretty fast.
Typically expected from a horror game, both games present this. Me is even more jump scare productive, though.
Kill 'em All: Asahi attempts this. She succeeds in the bad ending, with the possible exception of the protagonist. The intentions of red!Akane in the second. BTW,the game's TRUE intention is to live within a cycle over and over of killing, it eventually succeds in the ultimate bad ending, no one is saved.
Laser-Guided Karma: Yutani, who murdered Ikuta's beloved wife, gets his comeuppance when he's cursed by the very game he was so obsessed with finishing.
Let's Play: When the game didn't have a translation, there's one by GhostCar, located in the LP Archive here.
After the fan translation patch has been released, there is this one as well, made by AesthethicGamer.
Nanashi no Game Me also has one by MikaruMenoko here. It's not fully translated (it has some notes here and there to understand it, but pretty useful in what to do in it).
Love Triangle: Depending on the gender you select in the first game, your hero/heroine learns that either Odaka was jealous of your friendship with Riko or Odaka found Riko irritating and was secretly pining after you instead.
In NNG Me, this is pretty much what envolves Akane and her friends Naoki and Kenta. The three start as friends, Akane has feelings for one of them, and in jealousy (and it seems below the influence of the last day of the cursed game, the other kill the one in the relationship and "accidentally" murders Akane.
Mister Exposition: Professor Ohyama serves this role. In both of the games, even. He was truly investigating about his whole theory of the game during the week he was experimenting away, if the notes he left around in some places he went to are something to believe.
More Than Mind Control: Odaka. Let's just say that if you're planning to get possessed by an evil video game, work out your relationship issues first. Implied with Naoki in the sequel.
Multiple Endings: In the original game, there are two endings, a good end and a bad end. Getting the good ending requires you to find all six hidden items in the RPG. In Me though... it's both a Bittersweet Ending and a Downer Ending, the last one is possible to reach once you complete the whole game again.
Murder Is the Best Solution: "My company's going under and only this game can save it! Hm...I know! I'll brutally murder the lead developer's family so he can focus all his attention on finishing it! That'll work!"
Mythology Gag: The bad end of the first game has a song that reminisces the earlier RPGs for the NES, meanwhile the good end has one that it's pretty much like a orchestral song from Square-Enix 2000s games. The end of Me uses the first one on either ending, indicating that something bad is going to happen at the end...
Old School Building: One of the scenarios in the sequel. It was either abandoned or it's just the old building of the school that got left behind because of a certain incident that happened there some years before.
One-Hit Kill: If a ghost/Regret so much as touches you, it's game over.
Fridge Brilliance: You witness that scene through the eyes of a little girl who was already under a severe emotional strain, and who is looking at the man who butchered her mother. Of course that scene would look Bloodier and Gorier than it actually was. (This also explains why the murderer in question seems to have Offscreen Teleportation powers - he doesn't, but it sure as hell seems that way to the Player Character).
The name of the game in reality is Road to Sunrise, 'sunrise' which is an alternate meaning of the name 'Asahi'.
Purely Aesthetic Gender: Your gender has a minor effect on some early dialogue, mainly determining whether Odaka is jealous of you or secretly in love with you.
The Resenter: Yutani resented Ikuta Ushio's for having a family and a life beyond work. So they murdered his wife so that he'd have to devote himself even more to pulling Utasoft back from the brink. That didn't work out so well... Naoki and Akane fits this as well in the sequel.
Shout-Out: Ooyama states that there have been plenty of odd deaths related to media, such as newspapers, pirate radio broadcasts, and notebooks.
The Ikuta residence has a staircase that bends around a corner. If you're even mildly familiar with Ju On, you will expect a scare involving it. It does happen, but not in the way you expect. Instead, you yourself flee frantically down the stairs, playing as a little girl escaping from the man who butchered her mother.
The ultimate bad ending of the sequel has an almost a cappella of the original Nanashi no Game music track that evokes a certain series with a Gainax Ending too.
Speaking of the music, the bad ending is much more reminiscent to the music of old Square or Enix games' for the NES. The good ending, however, sounds like it could come from any of the 'Final Fantasy 3D games, making it much more heartwarming.
Yandere: In the RPG, the psycho Bride/Groom who mistakes you for their fiancé(e).
Then there's your friend Riko, who isn't too thrilled that her boyfriend secretly preferred you/she died before she could tell you how much she really loved you...
Implied in Me where Naoki gets overjealous of Kenta and kills him. If you go to Kenta's tomb grave, he affirms that Naoki was under the influence of the cursed game, and that he died inside the game...
You ALL Look Familiar: In the RPG as well as with the Regrets. In the latter case, it's implied the recurring Regrets were the developers themselves.