I love Another Code: Two Memories for what it sets out to do, rather than for what it necessarily achieves. It's a tremendously imaginative game, and contains at least two spellbinding puzzles. It's also peculiarly flawed, not just by an extremely short playing time, but also the madness of including English comprehension tests at various intervals.
'Resurgence' may be too strong a word, or even the wrong one entirely, but the DS and Wii have certainly encouraged developers to treat adventure games as a viable option again despite the waning fortunes of the genre on other platforms. Perhaps most significantly, the Nintendo formats have put adventure games together with Japanese developers, who only rarely engaged with point-and-clock games or more traditional adventures on previous systems.
What comes to mind when you think about the DS? Endless Brain Training knock-offs? Patrick Stewart with his funny beard in the TV advert? Various disturbing budget games in which little girls look after genital-free babies? The DS has become so successful, so ubiquitous, in recent years that it's easy to forget that when it started out, pre-Lite, it was something of a kooky oddity. We wrote an entire love letter about how delightfully strange it was just two years ago. Now the DS' image has suffered; we've forgotten that it's the console that inspired weirdness and creativity like no other, because all we see is endless, imagination-devoid shovelware aimed at either your mum or your daughter.
Ever since the DS came out it was fairly obvious the touch screen console leant itself perfectly to genres that - up to now - had worked best with the mouse and keyboard input system. In particular, wouldn't the DS present an absolutely perfect opportunity for a publisher to reawaken that sleepiest of genres, the point-and-click adventure?
While all of us older gamers dream of LucasArts getting back to what it did best (fat chance), it seemed inevitable that someone with a bulging, classic-ridden back catalogue (hint: LucasArts, get your act together) would at least port some of it to make free money and entertain a whole new audience into the bargain. But this vision of puzzle-driven, narrative rich immersion finding a new home has come along far sooner than we had imagined - and from an unlikely source.
CING when you're winning
Nintendo of Europe has sent out one of its happy little periodicals announcing a few release dates. The latest Q2 schedule doesn't tell us very much we didn't already know, but there are a couple of date announcements for the DS, which is good news as we're enduring something of a drought at the moment.