Wii 2005

Calling is a very bad game that holds a special place in my heart. Calling was a Wii horror game taking place in Japan in 2009. The special feature of the game, it's starring premise, is that it uses the wii-mote as a cellphone, because that's the gimmick.

Cellphones are your way of swapping between levels, recording voices, taking pictures,and browsing the internet. While we were enjoying our Razr flip phones, Japan's flip phones were browsing the internet way faster, exchanging phone numbers via infrared, paying for train tickets and electric bills alike. Hell, cellphones are still connected to email accounts, with PC email accounts being their own seperate thing in Japan. With a good connection and a decent phone plan a young girl used a chatroom (remember those) to alleviate her loneliness in her tween years. She promises to go visit a hospital-bound chatroom friend, but it hit by a truck on the way there. She wakes to discover that her friend, long trapped in the hospital has been discharged just before she awoke, but she never returns to their mutual chatroom. Then the hauntings start...

You play as Kagura Rin, now a college student, waking up in a strange school building all alone. It quickly becomes apparent that this school is haunted. You can't fight a ghost, all you can do is run before the terror and stress sends you into cardiac arrest. But not all is hopless. You encounter another person trapped in this nightmare, one who doesn't go running from you with fright and refusing to interact, a reporter named Makoto. Makoto is following a lead from his recently deceased partner Amano Sadao regarding a string of deaths related to a chatroom called The Black Page. It just so happens you were on this Black Page before you woke up here, looking for your old internet friend....

Like many japanese horror games of the time, espcially those for the Wii, the Calling controlled like trash. Walking was very slow. Paths felt meandering. The speed of movement made any backtracking a hassle. Any problems you may have had with the wii-mote interfece certainly wouldn't help things when ghostly boss battles came up. This is all compounded by the fact that you couldn't get the true ending on the first playthrough, meaning many would see a dissapointing ending and never replay to see the bonus section or the real end of the story. For all these reasons, The Calling was a passing memory for many that played it. The phone was closed; the call was over.

The Call was not over for me, however. I was a baby weeb who loved ghost stories, so long as they didn't frighten me too badly. As such this made the perfect cocktail to get someone who abhored the idea of owning a phone at all into the technology. As such I deigned to own a phone with the caveat that it had to be a flip phone! I rejected every android. I turned up my nose at every blackberry. Any handset that didn't CLAT when you snapped it shut was off the table. I wanted cute pictures. I wanted neat noises when you closed it. I wanted endless phone charms! I wanted it all! Eventually I ended up moving away from my neccassary burner phone and then away from my razr and I got my SH03E and I never looked back.

Even years later, I love my japanese flip phones. Certain frequencies belonging to certain phone service providers mean I can only use certain phone services, ever since 3G was discontinued in the Uunite Dtates in July of 2022. The advancement of technology has, quite approriatly, made a ghost of my beloved niche technology. Flip phones are now the phone of the grandma in japan, only for the older folks who can't work a smart phone. Not many new ones are released and they don't have many of the old, fun features like felica or decoden or radio tuners. But as long as there's one idiot buying these things, it's me. I'll be there, buying whatever is compatible, layering o phone charms and hauntings in equal measure.