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January 12th, 2011 by zohar

Categories: DS

I just finished playing a somewhat obscure DS game called “9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors.” At first, I was expecting another weak, shovelware text-based adventure, but I was thoroughly proven wrong! 999 is probably the best visual novel I’ve played — beating both the Ace Attorney and Hotel Dusk series.

999 has much more mature and dark themes, and it’s been marketed as a mystery/horror text adventure. In a very SAW-esque manner, the premise of the game is that 9 people are trapped on a sinking ship, with bracelets strapped to their wrists that will detonate a bomb inside their stomachs if they do not follow a specific set of rules and find escape. The story is extremely character driven, and -without spoiling anything- as things develop, you realize that the 9 seemingly unrelated people are somehow connected after all.

There are many parallels to LOST, if you’re a fan of that show. In addition to the character-driven narrative, there is a history to the ship that predates the current setting of the game, much like the Island. There are also very supernatural yet pseudo-scientific themes, much like LOST’s vague focus on electromagnetism and fictional theories like the Valenzetti Equation.

The “game” part of 999 are the puzzle rooms. Like the title suggests, there are 9 doors you can go through, and each is a “closed room” puzzle. Meaning you have to find objects in the room to solve a puzzle in order to escape. The puzzles are not too tough, and like the story, are just long enough to not become frustrating. (Disclaimer: The very first puzzle was the most annoying IMO.)

Finally, this may or may not be a put off to some — but the game has branching paths ultimately leading to 6 different endings (and only 1 “true” ending). Each story path reveals different histories and perspectives of the 9 characters, and with the exception of one, they all feel extremely rewarding. You will have to play the game from start to finish to see each ending, but there’s a fast-forward feature that lets you skip through scenes you’ve already played through. Initially, I thought this would be a chore, but surprisingly enough, I was actually excited to see what each new playthrough would reveal. The writing is extremely well-paced, but I have to admit that either the original script or its translation is rather shoddy and awkward at times.

Highly recommended game, especially to visual novel fans 🙂 Pick it up directly from Aksys Games if you want a recreation of the in-game bracelet.


Awaiting Pokemon HG/SS..

February 27th, 2010 by zohar

Categories: DS

Anyone else get the Game Stop event Jirachi!? They’re distributing them from now until March 13th. 😀 I am so psyched for HeartGold/SoulSilver. I have no idea why either because I haven’t been that into Pokemon since the RBY generation (and I was what, 13?). I think it’s because the GSC set of games is the only generation I haven’t played at all. (Played Emerald but didn’t finish, and currently playing Platinum.) And yes, this is total guilty pleasure territory. >_>

So. I’m getting SoulSilver. If anyone here plans on playing it, let’s share Friend Codes 😉 AND WE SHALL CATCH THEM ALL.

Jirachi Wonder Card


The Last Time Travel

August 23rd, 2009 by zohar

Categories: DS, NES

Saw this on, thought it was pretty cool… 🙂


Club Nintendo Rewards

July 18th, 2009 by zohar

Categories: Merchandise, Wii

Anyone join Club Nintendo and register their games? They announced annual rewards earlier this week, and I claimed a nice plush-looking Mario hat replica, which apparently, one size fits all! I hope that doesn’t mean “all” children. I haven’t gotten it yet, but it should be coming soon!!

The other “platinum” annual reward was an exclusive WiiWare version of Punch-Out!! which features Doc Louis, Little Mac’s trainer. The “gold” annual reward was a Nintendo-themed calendar, but the design isn’t done yet so there aren’t any screenshots of it.

If you haven’t joined already, I highly recommend joining it. It’s basically FREE Nintendo stuff that you cannot find anywhere else. (Well, besides eBay.) Earlier this year, I also got a nice set of Nintendo-themed Hanafuda cards (no idea how to play), and I’m aiming to get the Mario Hat DS Rack and cartridge/stylus holder next… 😀

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April 18th, 2009 by zohar

Categories: DS

So, in an effort to stimulate the economy, I sold my DS Lite and picked up a DSi last week. 🙂

Unfortunately though, I have to admit I am not that impressed.

First of all, the new matte material feels rough and kind of cheap. I prefer matte surfaces over anything else (got a matte grey PS3), but the DSi just feels weird. And although it is smudge-resistant, I foresee it being more scratch-prone — kind of hard to describe it, but I think you can understand if you ever see/touch one in person.

The new UI is also a bit weird. Instead of crisp clean displays like the old DS menu, you get this awful looking, poorly anti-aliased menu. And it’s not like the bigger screen is trying to stretch anything — they just decided to anti-alias everything and do a bad job at it. The whole experience is also much more like the Wii. You’ll see a lot of similarities, especially in the system settings and DSiWare menus.

As for the two cameras, I never expected much in the first place. They are both 0.3 megapixel, so … we’re talking cell phone quality from 5 years ago. But, along with the voice recording, I can see it being a possibly interesting feature in future DSi-exclusive games. Nintendo always does something innovative with this kind of stuff 🙂

The web browser — ABSOLUTELY horrible. I thought they might have improved it over the first DS Browser, but no, not really. The main problem with it is that it’s slow, slow, slow. Text-based sites, like craigslist, load alright. But throw any site with images on it, and prepare some coffee on the side because you’re in for a long wait. Disappointment again 🙁

All negativity aside, I am excited about one thing (and it’s primarily the reason I got the DSi): DSiWare. Right now the available downloads are very few in number, but I really hope this attracts more “bite-size” games and more independent developers to the DS platform. I haven’t bought anything yet with my 1000 free points, but I’m looking forward to PiCOPiCT, D-CODE (yes I am a nerd), and of course Dr. Mario, whenever they come out in North America. And of course there is the potential for NES/GB/GBC emulation. 😀 However, the prices do bother me, which brings us back to the negatives…

Games come in 200, 500, 800 point intervals, which translates to $2, $5, and $8 — all cheap if you compare it to $30 DS titles and $50 Wii games, but… I got an iPod Touch 2G a few weeks ago too, and I have to say that it completely blows the DS away in terms of casual gaming. It might surprise you, but there are a lot of addictive games in the iTunes app store. And the best part is that they’re all cheap, the vast majority priced at $0.99. The most expensive games are the ones from well-known game developers like Namco, Square-Enix, Konami, etc., and the highest I’ve seen is $7.99 for Metal Gear Solid Touch.

The iPod/iPhone targets the same consumer market as the DS. As this Kotaku article points out, Sony and Nintendo should be afraid. Nintendo, moreso. I can already say that I use my iPod more for gaming than I do my DS. And that’s just a bit sad.

DSi: Simply not worth the transition … yet.