In 2004 I was mucking around with HTML like a little dweeb-y kid and along the line tried to make successful interesting video game websites. These of course all failed for various reasons, but the main point here is that their failure leads to me forgetting about the whole thing for a while until researching DS games I found Another Code. The title is what inspired me to create a fan site for the game and continued on dipping my hand into web based creations.
I’m going to continue this article at certain points under the assumption that Nintendo owns the IPs for Another Code and the Kyle Hyde series. I’m unsure who exactly owned the IP in this situation, and it would be great if it isn’t owned by Nintendo that someone else picks it up and continues CiNGs legacy with the IPs.
The major downfall with the DS games from CiNG was the gameplay. This is a weird comment considering for the most part, everything worked. However on the flip side, everything didn’t work when it came to the gameplay element which tied everything together, the puzzles. Puzzles were not the strong suit in the games, yes they did some amazing things especially with the original Another Code title. But these concepts soon got overplayed in many other games released for the DS soon after, and to combat this CiNG never evolved the gameplay concept. As seen in Again, a title which is almost devoid of any puzzle based interaction the games for the most part at their core are interactive novels not video games. With Again having a story quite common of an American prime time TV crime show, the overall story concept within the title was very weak. Compared to the titles they created working with Nintendo, the presentation in the game made the concept feel weaker than what it could have been. Which in return was shown sale wise and reception wise by the gaming community.
Gameplay could easily of been enhanced in later games after the introduction of core elements. For example Another Code could have had a portable Another machine which Ashley carries around and uses to scan memories or something and use it in some kind of puzzle way. Like circling inconsistencies, the whole quiz thing and maybe some basic interaction with the Another memories. This could give the player a kind of Phoenix Wright meets Layton kind of experience with the puzzles, while keeping the games core ideas and principles and expanding them. The Kyle Hyde series on the flip side always had a stronger connection of puzzles with story, however both games really did this at the end of the day, and also had times when this wasn’t the case.
Another thing the games did great was retain themselves to handhelds (except for Another Code: R). The handheld experience of these titles was much greater than the console, looking at Another Code: R it was easy to tell that the experience couldn’t really translate itself to a console game. Especially when Another Code: R retained many of the handheld ideas instead of incorporating more stronger elements console games of this type are known for like voice. Regardless of what console or handheld the games appeared, that always had the problem which would plague it regardless of what it appeared on especially when it had puzzles which are based on device design for the most part.
I liked how Another Code had the DAS. Which was essentially a DS. I really think this concept could have been expanded on much more, especially if the consoles allowed more interactivity with each other. If the ability to use the DS as a controller for the Wii existed, I could see it been one of the primary interactive methods with the Wii game. Or if the Wii allowed downloadable information to be sent to the device, it could have similar features to the DAS. Allowing people to interact with the game in other levels, by picking up their DS and for example on a place which needed a picture and it could be flipped (or simular puzzles) the DS in real life could be used instead of the in game DAS and then it could be used to take pictures of the game screen, flip them around etc. Just random stuff like that could of added an extra dimension to the whole DAS idea, especially for a console version of Another Code.
Moving on from this in general, I feel that any sequel should retain themselves on the 3DS and not on the Wii U (or whatever Nintendo ends up calling it?). I also feel that it should consider other types of distribution methods. Another Code and Kyle Hyde based eShop titles as a premier way to show how eShop games work with various game types could be good for it, especially with the games overall low sleeper hit style sales in the first place. The games could also show how episodic type games could work on the eShop as well. With the good thing about Another Code and Kyle Hyde games is that they don’t need to be a big long title, they can be short and still pack a punch story and gameplay wise. Also with the increase in popularity of simular genres on both the DS and on other platforms it wouldn’t be silly to look into expanding the IP offerings of the company.