Nanashi no Game

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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) 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.

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

Tropes used in Nanashi no Game include:
  • Abandoned Hospital: The third level takes place in one. It's also where the ghosts start appearing.
  • 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 or investigate the curse himself.
  • All in a Row: Me uses this with your party members.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Regardless of which ending you get, in the end, you survive, but all of your friends are dead.
  • Bland-Name Product: The TS, which is a dead ringer for a Nintendo DS (right down to the menu).
  • Blood Is the New Black: Your encounter with "the Bloody Man" a.k.a. Yutani.
  • Bloody Handprint: All over the place during the ghost chases.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Once your character plays the game, they find it impossible to escape from it - see Clingy MacGuffin below.
    • Also, Prof. Ohyama decides to do an experiment - while the main character plays the game and attempts to solve the mystery directly, he ignores the game completely. It doesn't go well for him.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The lighthouse picture you see drawn in Odaka's apartment.
  • 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: Asahi doesn't really count, as she doesn't appear before The Reveal. However, a group of them 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.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Riko.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The Regrets are monochromatic save for their clothes. For instance, a common female Regret has a vibrant red dress.
  • Dramatic Irony: Drives the whole plot of the first game: Asahi hated the game and all associated with it because her father was working so hard on it. Unbeknownst to her, Ikuta was turning Project Sun into a loving tribute to their happier past as a family.
  • Exact Time to Failure
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • Foreshadowing: The RPG scene of a bench overlooking the sea. In the 'real world', that's your ultimate destination.
  • 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.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: In the bad ending, the cursed RPG is transferred from your hero/ine's TS to yours.
  • 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.
  • Ghostly Goals: Asahi waffles between Type A and 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. 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; it's where the corpse of Asahi is.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Right when your hero/ine is cornered by a Regret, Ohyama appears in the game and pulls a You Shall Not Pass.
  • It Got Worse: Chapter 1 ends with your character finding your friend Odaka dead in his apartment. Chapter 2 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.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: The lighthouse.
  • Jump Scare: 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.
  • Let's Play: By GhostCar, located in the LP Archive here.
  • 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.
  • Meaningful Name: Asahi, "sunrise".
  • Mister Exposition: Professor Ohyama serves this role.
  • 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.
  • The Most Dangerous Video Game
  • Multiple Endings: 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.
  • 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!"
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Ooyama.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Utasoft, 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.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Yutani. OH GOD QUIT FOLLOWING ME HELP.
  • One-Hit Kill: If a ghost so much as 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.
  • 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...
  • Shout-Out: Ooyama states that there have been plenty of odd deaths related to media, such as newspapers, pirate radio broadcasts, and notebooks.
  • Sinister Subway
  • Smoking Is Cool
  • The Stinger: Changes depending on the ending.
  • Stoic Spectacles: Yutani. What makes it scarier is that his eyeglasses are drenched in blood due to him just killing Tomoka.
  • 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.
  • Vocaloid: The voice of Hatsune Miku is used in one shop in the mall to sing the store's theme song.
  • 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.
  • X Meets Y: The Ring with a bootleg Dragon Quest instead of video tapes.
  • 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...
  • 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.