You've probably never heard of Swedish games studio A Different Game, but the company is aiming to put itself on the handheld gaming map based solely on a fantastic idea. Ghostwire, the company's just-announced DSi game, puts players in the role of ghost hunter and allows them to use the camera, microphone and other features of Nintendo's handheld to find evidence of the supernatural.
A Different Game calls the gameplay gimmick here "augmented reality;" Ghostwire basically turns your portable device into a ghost-finding machine. You tune in to ghosts' frequencies then looks through the viewfinder at the room you're in and you see ghouls, phantoms, wisps and other assorted spirits super-imposed on the real world.
As a horror game fan and a fan of the "Fatal Frame" series (a last-gen J-horror ghost hunting game that, at least superficially, bears a resemblance to Ghostwire, a game with a similar plot), I'm looking forward to this one. If done well, augmented reality could be very, very creepy, and it's good to see a company making such novel use of the unique features of the DSi.
The mobile version of Ghostwire won 1st prize in Nokia's N-Gage Mobile Games Innovation Challenge in 2008, and was nominated in two categories in the International Mobile Gaming Awards (IMGA) 2009. Check out the trailer below for the mobile version, and let me know what you think. Is this something cool, or am I being fooled by a cheap gimmick?