Video Games: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors

Posted on January 8, 2013 3:00 pm

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.

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8 Responses to “Video Games: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors”

  1. trackerk says:

    Why can’t both you and the Japanese be racist?

  2. Mike the Canuck says:

    999? Herman Cain approves.

  3. FredKey says:

    Nah, you’re just racist because you don’t worship the water upon which Obama walks.

  4. Just Some Guy says:

    I think the human brain, when shown a drawing of questionable ethnicity, defaults to assuming it must be whatever race that brain sees the most often. And most anime just isn’t realistic enough to accurately look like any one specific ethnicity. So you see a light skinned human drawing and automatically think “American” while the Japanese look at the same light skinned drawing and think “Japanese”.

    Okay, they actually think 日本人. Because they’re in Japan. But you get the idea.

  5. artvol11 says:

    Hey look 999… *remembers Herman Cain, then is reminded subsequently of the primary, how we elected Romney and not Cain, and how we lost*…fuuuuuuuddddddggggggggggee (but I didn’t say fudge).

  6. CarolyntheMommy says:

    Every time you post about video games, a nerd gets his pocket protector.

  7. Idahoser says:

    “By far, you’ll spend most of the game reading … That sounds pretty boring”

    wait til I tell you about this new portable solar-powered personal entertainment device… You’re going to love it! They’re called “books”

  8. Zeke says:

    I don’t think anyone will call you racist — it’s impossible not to notice. (Also, as racism goes, anti-Japan is currently on the not-so-bad list.) One of the most jarring demonstrations of this phenomenon is live-action adaptations of manga/anime. Sometimes they turn out pretty well, but never do the actors look anything like their characters.

    It’s hard to say any one thing is the weirdest thing about Japan, but this is certainly in the running. They don’t like us Westerners much, but they seem to gear a lot of their media towards us, whether on purpose or not. For instance, breast size is a huge deal in comedy anime; a girl with a small chest will usually have a bit of an inferiority complex about it. Good luck with that in real-life Japan, where nobody has any breasts at all.

    999 is great. It’s a “visual novel” with a bit of old-school adventure game thrown in. Check out Time Hollow for one that’s more self-steered. Visual novels — basically Choose Your Own Adventure books with pictures — are a big deal in Japan; a lot of them are just dating games, but there are some with truly amazing stories. My all-time favourite is Fate/Stay Night, which can be bought in Japanese and patched to English. (The anime is easy to track down, but while very good, it only covers one of the three possible storylines of the game.)

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