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Developer Tom Soderlund explains the frights of Ghostwire

Kevin Kelly

Bumps in the night. Unexplained sounds. A chill up your spine. Extreme terror. These things aren't associated with the Nintendo DSi, unless you unexpectedly leave yours behind in a taxi. But A Different Game CEO Tom Soderlund wants to bring all of that augmented paranormal activity to your DSi with Ghostwire and turn you into a ghostbuster (minus the proton packs). Now you're armed with a stylus and the power of Nintendo.

Originally conceived four years ago for Symbian-powered smartphones, the idea is to turn your handheld into a tool for communicating with the paranormal world. The built-in camera, sound meters, light meters are all a part of the experience, providing a combination of real-world and computer-generated data. Soderlund's team built an adventure game around it -- you talk to ghosts, find out what's troubling them, and either capture them or attempt to ease their pain.

The game was inspired by reality shows like Ghost Hunters, Most Haunted, and rather than "breaking the reality" with things like QR codes or ARG markers, Ghostwire will recognize symbols like pentagrams. Detailed instructions show you the best way to track ghosts, hopefully preventing you from breaking the game if you try to follow a ghost up a wall or spin around quickly with the camera. The gameplay consists of puzzles, minigames, adventure, collection, and usage of the tools. We're not really sure how "adventure" will be crammed in. Will it look like a prize in a cereal box?

The game's ghostd will each have their own stories, and they'll have ties to each other either through family, or from the afterworld. There's an in-game Ghostpedia that will aid you with invaluable research. Soderlund said his three rules for bringing a spooky game to the DSi were suspension of disbelief, robustness, and longevity. He believes he's achieved that with this game, which he also promises to have about five to six hours of gameplay. That'll totally slay your battery.

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