I'd already seen the other 3DS games at the Nintendo booth at PAX East 2012, but I made a point of getting my hands on Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir because I do love a good horror game. Of course, playing it on the show floor kind of killed the horror, but what I saw convinced me that this game is worth checking out when it releases on Friday, April 13.
The demo had you talking to a ghost, but first you had to find her by holding the 3DS up and moving it around until she was centered on the screen. The system's cameras recorded the background, so it appeared that the ghost was hovering next to the other guy demoing the game with the next 3DS. Naturally, this will be much more effective if you play it in your own home and not a crowded convention floor. She instructed me to examine the book, which is included in the game. I went through it page by page twice before finally giving up and asking someone working the booth to help me out. You're supposed to use the camera to examine the pages of the book until something reacts, but nothing was. Turns out that lighting is key, and the convention floor lighting was creating shadows that were interfering with it. Again, this might not be as much of a problem at home. An illustration in the book suddenly came to life with writing appearing on it and then the image itself shifted and became more horrifying.
This led into the shooting portion of the game, but I mean shooting as in with a camera. The ghost lurks around you, and you have to turn around and use the 3DS to find it, with the cameras capturing the actual backgrounds for the Augmented Reality. Once you find the ghost, it lurches towards you and you damage it by taking its picture. And of course, the closer it gets to you, the more points you'll get if you can stand waiting that long!
The demo didn't really give much of a feel as to the story of Spirit Camera, but using AR to enhance the ghostly appearances was a whole lot of fun. I'm definitely going to buy this game now, but having played it, I now realize that I'm probably only going to be able to play it at home. It would be really hard to play it on the subway on the way to work! I'd look like a crazy person spinning around in my seat... and I'd probably clock someone accidentally! Better to look crazy in the privacy of your own home!