What's that (obscure!) game!?

I like this game a whole bunch and a bit, but it’s a game of a genre that’s singularly unfriendly to people who haven’t grown up in Japan. For two separate reasons! So, y’know, it’s a difficult one to recommend!

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Is this OverBlood? I’ve only seen a bit of the game, but what I saw has the same vibe.

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It isn’t, but the vibes are in the same class, aren’t they.

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This isn’t it but if someone told me that was the ingame model used for the lady whose face is on the cover of Dの食卓 I’d believe them.
image

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wild @Karasu sighting

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Alright, time to blow the lid off this baby. I’ve left out what the game, er, is until now:

You can see why it’s kind of a tough sell for people who didn’t grow up in Japan! :grin: Even language barrier notwithstanding, over half of these questions are culturally anchored in some manner.

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Ahhhh it’s a weirdo quiz game! I’ll have to percolate on this

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Oh, I never saw this, but this is Cho Nazo-Oh, right? I love the Nazo-Oh games!

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It’s very much Chō-Nazo-Ō!!! You might notice that there’s a top secret clue in the initial post:

In case people aren’t familiar, it’s a set of two PS1 quiz games, wrapped in an outrageous, surreal science fiction story. Chō is the sequel, which honestly dials down the surrealism a bit – the first game has a visual novel-esque structure in which you almost invariably battle mind-boggling weirdoes, whereas the sequel has you fighting a whole lot of plain walls. Not that I mind too much – that’s a different kind of weird, and the added element of eerily empty 3D environments to navigate is one that mustn’t be discounted.

The first game has visuals comparable to, say, Garage: Bad Dream Adventure. A quick scrub through this video will show you some sights to behold:

Quiz games are already fun as it is, but adding the layer of it being immensely freaky, it’s truly above and beyond. You can imagine what I meant by “singularly unfriendly to people who haven’t grown up in Japan [f]or two separate reasons” – not only do you need to be able to read Japanese quickly enough to answer the questions within the time limit, but you need to be familiar with Japanese culture circa 1999.

What’s your experience with the games, @ninjapresident? And how did you come across them? It’s not exactly a household name!

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I forgot how I came across them in the first place, but I’m really big into PS1 games. I played Nazo-Oh shortly after Ztranslate (machine translation transcription software) was added to RetroArch; I didn’t know Japanese at the time (and I still don’t but I’m actively learning now), so I was testing out the functionality with text heavy games that interested me. I had just played through Yaku: Yuujou Dangi (a full VN) and knew it worked well enough, so I was curious as to what other ways I could push it. I thought Nazo-Oh would be an interesting game to try out, so I did a video stream group playthrough on Discord with friends. (As an aside, quiz games are great group activities, so I highly recommend them for that!)

Since we were working with A) trivia none of us consistently knew much about and B) language barriers, we did have a house rule of pausing the game once the question was translated and ignoring the timer. The other rule was we couldn’t google the answers. We had a great time with Nazo-Oh, getting to the penultimate encounter in the final tower. Unfortunately, the laptop I was using at the time died and we never finished it because I didn’t have an easy way of streaming it again. I did however find my save, so we should really finish it!

I’ve only poked around with Cho-Nazo-Oh, but I loved the ambition of the sequel to move past menu-based trivia gaunlets and include exploration. It’s on my to play list eventually, probably with the same friends. There’s also a Wonderswan game, but I haven’t played it either. They’re weird games, and I dig them! It would be awesome if someone did a loose fan translation and replaced the questions. IMO, this is the kind of project that would be great for Limited Run’s Carbon Engine.

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Wonderful!!! Speaking of wonderful, that WonderSwan version does seem interesting… It’s reportedly a port of the first game, however – not sure how true that is.

How’d you like Yaku? I’ve been wanting to play that lately. Apparently, along with things like Spectral Tower, it’s one of the games that cemented the shared motto of Idea Factory’s fans: Kau na. Ore wa kau ga. Or, in English, “Don’t buy it. (I’m buying it, though.)”

It’s your turn to shoot an obscure screen, beet dubs!

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I can’t fully comment on the writing quality due to how I played, but I had a great time! I’m sure the CGI was/is considered off-putting, but I found it endearing and interestingly stylized. The story is nothing crazy, but it’s a charming experience that I’d easily recommend to anyone who gets excited by screenshots. I’ve definitely played worse and still want to play the sequel.

As for my screenshot…

This unconventional game was designed by an unlikely source. In this game, your knowledge of protocol will be tested, and a variety of dilemmas will be presented to you. Can you do your job correctly? Find out in this surprisingly dry video game!

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Geoff Winter Teaches Typing

now I want Jeff Minter Teaches Typing

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The general look reminds me of System Sacom’s Novelware games…

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…Was this game released in the mid-2000s?

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I haven’t seen a confirmed date (there’s conflicting information on the internet), but I will say it appears to be late 90s regardless!

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thought I’d try and move the needle with a few more screenshots



have I stumped the buffs? :wink:

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This isn’t some fork of Executive Suite (Mobygames), is it? I’m getting 1980s text adventure vibes mixed with a police/corruption setting, especially with the font. But the images suggest something slightly later.

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good guess, but it is later than that! This developer is best known for their work in the 90s

edit: also, I did a little bit of research myself and can confidently say the release year is in the window I gestured to earlier :slight_smile:. While I now know the exact year, I’ve seen some sources mix up the date with a completely different game that has a loosely similar title. Use your best discretion!

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