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Video Game: Nanashi no Game

Rumors have been circulating about a Role-Playing Game for the TS (a game system that looks suspiciously familiar) that has recently grown in popularity; people say that the game is cursed. The rumor goes that whoever doesn't complete the RPG in a certain number of days, they 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"), features a new protagonist, the cursed RPG, and a cursed platformer, was also released for the DS, and counts with independent versions of both cursed games, subtitled as Chi ("Blood") and Goku ("Prison") on DSiWare.

In January 2012, Square Enix also released two spinoffs of the series called Nanashi no App and 774 Deaths for iOS and Android, which follow 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, in which you need to try to resolve not only the mystery but also try to save your life.

It is also suggested for those who truly enjoy horror games to listen the game with earphones.

This series of games provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Hospital:
    • The third level of the first game takes place in one. This is also the point when the ghosts start appearing.
    • Given that Me has some connections with the original game, the same hospital plays a part on it as well, until the 6th day. However, it gets worse thanks to Akane's double personality.
  • 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 in the climax. It is 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.
  • All in a Row: Me uses this with "your" party members during the RPG scenes.
  • And I Must Scream: Anyone who fails in completing the game gets turned into a statue inside of it or lives inside it with no escape whatsoever.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Regardless of which ending you get during the original game, in the end you survive, but all of your friends are dead.
    • In Me, after the normal ending, you are safe, and you saved Akane while also helping her reconcile with Kenta and Naoki, but your friend Ren is in a coma after her experiences in Day 4.
  • Bland-Name Product: The TS, which is a dead ringer for a Nintendo DS (right down to the menu of the original version of the system).
  • Blood Is the New Black: Your encounter with "the Bloody Man" aka Yutani.
  • Bloody Handprint:
    • Expect them to be all over the place during the ghost chases.
    • The hansprints get a new role during Me, though, since you find two variations. The ones that ones are white help you resolve and investigate around in the RPG world while the red ones get in your way until you complete the platformer levels.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Once your character plays the game, they find it impossible to escape from it - see Clingy MacGuffin below.
    • Prof. Ohyama, however, decides to do an experiment - while the main character plays the game and attempts to solve the mystery directly, he ignores the game completely, and it goes perfect as you would expect from it.
  • The Cameo: The voice of Miku Hatsune is used in the Mandarake store in the mall to sing its theme song.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The lighthouse picture you see drawn in Odaka's apartment.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Riko.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: Of a sort; your character becomes so freaked out when the ghosts appear that s/he smashes the TS...only for another TS to appear, with the cursed RPG loaded up.
  • Creepy Child: While Asahi doesn't really count, since she doesn't appear before The Reveal, there's a group of them that appear during one of the RPG sequences. They say that all the adults are gone and they never have to grow up now. While definitely a creepy moment, they're never mentioned again.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Sort of. The only time in the original game where you get to actually run is when Riko chases you. The rest of the time, the protagonist is never concerned enough to do more than a brisk walk.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The protagonist in the first game.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Riko.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The Regrets are monochromatic save for their clothes. For instance, a common female Regret has a vibrant red dress.
  • Downer Ending: In Me this is what happens, while it also reaches into the Gainax Ending territory. Once you play the whole game again, your reward is in "creating" a new proxy for the cursed game's entity/spirit (which happens to be something else, a digital "soul" without a body rather than being a "ghost" as Asahi or Akane), so you get killed, and Ren becomes the new body of this entity, and the game is distributed not only to you, but everyone. Also, the ending song of this evokes a familiar sentiment, too. What.
  • Dramatic Irony: Drives the whole plot of the first game since 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.
  • Exact Time to Failure: It doesn't matter if you exceed the time limit of the climax of the first game. You will get another try until you finish it.
  • Fake Difficulty: It's all over the place. but it's especially prevalent during the lcimax of the first game.
  • 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 involved in some way with the game? And now you are in a coma or you are 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, there's a similar scene. The prologue of the game happens as such since it is the story of what happened to Akane and her friends. It's not only reenacted in a typical RPG style (with also unpredictable results), but it also resembles the "real world".
  • Foreshadowing: The RPG scene of a bench overlooking the sea. In the "real world", that's your ultimate destination. The prologue of Me plays similarly the same tone, since it is neither you nor Ren, and Yuuta. The members of the party are Akane and her friends' and the scene of their deaths is something that you are going to revisit some other times.
  • Four Is Death: You can expect this from a Japanese game series that features horror and death.
    • On the second day of the first game, the creepy and bloody abandoned train cars that Riko walks through are all labeled as "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.
    • The title of the game 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.
    • 774 Deaths is quite redundant as a title.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You:
    • In the bad ending of the original game, the cursed RPG is transferred from your hero/ine's TS to yours.
    • The ultimate Downer Ending of Me gets so much worse. After getting the hero out of the way, the cursed RPG is transferred from his TS to not only to yours, but everyone's.
  • 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. 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, just only to get your eye cursed and things start getting weird, then your best friend dies because of the game and the game gets downloaded to your TS. And everything gets worse from there, when Ren falls into a comma and you realize that there is not only one ghost but two from the same person, who is trying to help you and stop you.
  • Game Within A Game: The centerpiece of the plot.
  • 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.
    • The sequel falls into it but also averts it since Akane's story is represented as an RPG story: you have your party, you fight monsters and you have conflicts with one of your team members, all in its 8-bit glory... until you see them die in an unconventional way that never happens in old Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest games .
  • Ghostly Gape: These show up with the hostile ghosts as enemies.
  • Ghostly Goals: The main ghosts of each game have similar agendas. Asahi waffles between Type A and B while Akane's 'white' personality is a bit of Type A and 'red' is the one that fits in Type B.
  • Giggling Villain: The Bloody Man.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix: The RPG starts to seep into the real world as time goes on.
  • 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.
  • Hell Hotel: Misaki Hotel in the sixth level, where you find out the corpse of Asahi.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Right when your hero/ine is cornered by a Regret in the original game, Ohyama appears in the game and pulls a You Shall Not Pass.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: The lighthouse.
  • It's Up to You
  • Jump Scare: Typically expected from a horror game, both games present this.
    • 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. Ohyama is running to you, and it makes it even worse compared to the previous Regrets and your useless running, since he is pretty fast.
    • Me is even more jump scare productive, when even objects fall at your side... when you are in some dark and silent alley.
  • Kill 'em All: This is what Asahi is attempting to do to everyone who is involved with the game, during the first. And she succeeds in the bad ending, with the possible exception of the protagonist. While it is clear that this is also the intention of red!Akane in the second game, this is really the the ''game'''s true purpose: to live endless cycles of killing, and it eventually succeds in the ultimate bad ending, where 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:
    • There is the one by GhostCar, located in the LP Archive here, when the original game didn't have a translation available.
    • There is this one as well, made by AesthethicGamer.
    • Nanashi no Game Me also has one by MikaruMenoko here. It's not fully translated, but it has some notes here and there to understand it and it is also useful to find what do what on it.
  • Lighthouse Point
  • 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 Me, Akane and her friends Naoki and Kenta were involved in one. The three were friends, but Akane has feelings for one of them. While influenced by the jealousy and/or the game itself, the one left kills their friend but accidentally murders Akane.
  • Meaningful Name: Asahi, "sunrise".
  • Mind Screw: When you get available to reach the Playable Epilogue of Me there is a line that will unleash a change in the player's perception of the entire series: WH ERE IS MY BO DY?
  • Mister Exposition: Professor Ohyama serves this role. In "Me", it goes further when the player finds out that he was developing a theory around the true nature of the cursed game when he was doing his "experiment".
  • 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. It is also implied with Naoki in the sequel.
  • The Most Dangerous Video Game: The "Nameless Game" is a game that is nowhere to be seen as "complete", but it is also rumored to kill you in seven days if it gets transferred to your portable console. That is, of course, if you don't finish it.
  • 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...
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Ooyama.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Uta-soft, which went out of business trying to make one more game that could have saved the company... say, doesn't that sound familiar?
  • Numerological Motif: Four and seven appear frequently.
  • Off Screen Teleportation. Yutani, QUIT FOLLOWING ME, HELP!
  • 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 Regret gets either way to close to you or touches you, it's game over.
  • Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: Judging by the room, Yutani might as well have stuffed Tomoka into a blender and pressed purée.
  • Peek-A-Boo Corpse
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    Ohyama The digital curse! Now! I! Will! Experience! It! For! Myself!
  • Punny Name:
    • "Na-nashi" means "nameless", but nana-shi means "seven-death", as in seven day death.
    • The name of the game is "Road to Sunrise", 'sunrise' which is the 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. That way for him to devote himself even more to pulling Utasoft back from the brink. And 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.
    • When Ooyama makes you to link network origins for the cursed game uploads, your options include s-yamamura.ts.ip, a-yamazaki.ts.ip, and r-nishina.ts.ip.
    • 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 a cappella of the original Nanashi no Game music track that evokes a certain series with a Gainax Ending too.
    • The music of the original game's ending. 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 can come from any of the 'Final Fantasy 3D games, making it much more heartwarming.
  • Sinister Subway
  • Sanity Slippage: Everyone that is or become too involved with the game. Especially when they are already into the few last days of the gameplay.
  • Smoking Is Cool
  • The Stinger: Changes depending on the ending.
  • Stoic Spectacles: Yutani's, and what makes it scarier is that his eyeglasses are drenched in blood due to him just killing Tomoka.
  • Story Branching: You can choose two different routes in the sequel depending on the day or chapter you are playing.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: It's a Japanese horror game, so this was to be expected.
  • Survival Horror
  • Taken for Granite: Welcome to the developer's room! Come chat with the dev team!
  • Timed Mission: The climax of the original game.
  • Welcome to Corneria
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Asahi's motivation for haunting the game her dad made.
  • Where The Hell Is Nanto?: Nara? Fukuoka? Tokyo? Some completely made up place with elements of all of the above?
  • Woman in White:
    • Asahi wears a white sundress.
    • Good!Akane uses a short white sundress as well.
  • X Meets Y: The Ring with a bootleg Dragon Quest instead of video tapes.
  • Yandere:
    • In the RPG of the original game, the psycho Bride/Groom who mistakes you for their fiancé(e).
    • 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...
    • In Me, Naoki gets jealous of Kenta and kills him. If you go to Kenta's tomb grave, he confirms 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.

Alternative Title(s):

Nanashi No Game