I played a pretty neat game over Christmas vacation for the Nintendo DS: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors. All I knew about it before playing was that IGN gave it a glowing review and it was sold out on Amazon for a while after (it eventually had a second printing). It’s actually more of a visual novel than a game, though. By far, you’ll spend most of the game reading (backed by pictures and sound effects). That sounds pretty boring, but the mystery of the story was very engaging (9 people locked in a ship and given 9 hours to find the way out). The actual game parts are escape from the room puzzles. None were that hard (I never felt supersmart solving any of them), but again it was really the story that kept me glued to it. And you have to play the game through multiple times to see all the story, making different choices each time (most of them leading to disastrous consequences). There are six ending total, and you’ve only really experienced the whole game when you’ve seen them all.
Oh, and special props need to go to the localization team as the game is mainly text and made in Japan, and yet it didn’t feel like a translated effort at all.
Anyway, it was a pretty unique experience, and there is a sequel “>a sequel out for the 3DS (and Playstation Vita) which is said to be even better as its voiced (if you’re too lazy to read all the text) and makes the multiple play throughs easier (when playing 999 again, it lets you fast forward through text you’ve already seen — stopping when you got to new stuff — but that still took a long time and you sometimes had to replay puzzles you’ve already done). I’ll definitely pick the sequel up later, but after getting tons of games on sale on Steam, paying $40 for one game just seems like a lot.
BTW, one thing I noticed is that I would have thought the nine people in the game were American, but all the actual names you find out for the characters are Japanese. That seems to be true with a lot of Japanese games (and anime) that Japanese people in them never seem to look Japanese. Am I racist for noticing that, or are the Japanese racist for doing that? I dunno.