Calling is a supernatural horror game made for Wii, and the first and only installment in the Calling franchise, developed by Hudson Soft, a game developing company centered in Japan. The game revolves around The Black Page, a mysterious website with a counter showing, supposedly, the number of people who have died from visiting the website. The game focuses on the characters Rin, Shin, Chiyo, and Makoto as they try to make their way out of the Mnemonic Abyss, a strange realm between the living and the dead, formed by memories of the deceased. The game was released in March 2010.
The game was originally unveiled when gameplay footaged was leaked on the internet in September 2008. Hudson Soft reported that the footage was stolen from a PR company's servers. The game was officially revealed in Famitsu in July 2009. A demo was available, but is no longer issued. Calling was Hudson's first attempt at a survival horror game, and is received greatly among players.
The game runs in a first person mode, using a flashlight (or candle, in some cases) to explore areas of the game. The game features a red dot to point at certain objects and at the screen, allowing the player to move and turn around without using any buttons on the Wii's controllers.
In early builds of the game, the game was shown to be in a first person mode and on-rails, using a different style of menus and the flashlight.When exploring the game, it is required to run into ghosts, or the main enemies, of the game. Shaking the Wii Remote helps shake them off if you miss pressing the A button while it is flashing. Exploration in the game is one of the main concepts, opening and unlocking doors to receive keys and other objects used to further the game. When opening doors or drawers, the Wii Remote is pointed and used to drag the certain object open. Calling's gameplay is well received because of the easy interactiveness and ease of use.
The game opens up in a chatroom. Numerous people, including Rin Kagura, are on 'The Black Page', a website rumored to allow the use of visiting the dead, which also contains a counter table reporting, supposedly, the number of people who have died visiting the website. Suddenly, a new member logs on, and all of the members receive a phone call in a montage. Rin Kagura answers her phone, and the image of a ghost-like girl is shown watching from behind her.
Shin wakes up in a one-store house, which eventually runs out of electricity. Finding a cell phone, he is attacked by a ghost after attempting to open a door. After escaping and opening the locked door, the apparition of a girl in a pink hospital gown holding a cat-like stuffed animal attacks Shin. It is unknown what happens to him after this. It should be noted that this takes place after Shin meets Rin at the school.
Rin wakes up in the music room of her school, questioning how she ended up there. She finds a phone (the ringtone played is an adaptation of Canon in D) and receives a grisly stalker-like call from a young girl, threatening to come back to find her phone. Rin eventually peeks into a room and discovers three students looking at a magazine with a glowing blue orb on the other side of the room. The girls then disappear, and then Rin is attacked by a the ghost of the girl seeking her phone.
Escaping to the first floor, Rin investigates and discovers that all of the exits to the building lead into blackness. Rin then encounters a journalist named Makoto, who explains that the reality that they are in is the Mnemonic Abyss, an alternate reality between the worlds of the living and the dead. Makoto also reveals that you can call other people's cell phones as a way of 'transporting', but, strangely enough, you cannot call your own cell phone. Makoto leaves, attempting to search for the ghost of his dead colleague, who stumbled upon the Black Page and died mysteriously.
Rin stumbles upon Shin who, after Rin tells what Makoto said, calls a phone number and transports (apparently to the one story house at the beginning of the game). She then makes her way to the locked room she peeped through earlier, and is forced to call a phone number in order to escape three ghosts of high school girls who have died mysteriously, apparently from visiting the Black Page earlier.
In the next scenario, Rin wakes up in an internet cafe and stumbles upon news of a man who died, apparently, from playing games too long at the computer without rest. Rin discovers a business card in a box scattered with doll parts, and transports to a house.
The house that Rin awakens in is the same one that Shin found himself in at the beginning of the game. Rin meets Chiyo, an elderly lady who was exploring the internet and who heard rumors about the Black Page and decided to investigate the website. Rin tells Chiyo to wait as she hears a cell phone ring. After investigating, Rin is attacked by the ghost of Shin, who, apparently died in the Mnemonic Abyss. Rin makes her way to the hospital and discovers accounts of a child named Reiko Asagiri who was admitted to the hospital after falling sick. After making her way to the house that Shin died in, she discovers that Reiko also apparently made friends on the internet through numerous chat rooms and forums. Reiko's nurse was Kayoko, a ghost who Rin previously sees in the scenario.
At the beginning of Chiyo's scenario, she narrates about her husband's death and how she wished she had the technology to communicate back then when they were in love. After Chiyo's husband, Michio, fell sick and came disabled, Chiyo took care of him, though Michio felt like a burden.
After Rin leaves, she decides to follow the apparition of a young man in a suit. She follows the man through a wood-like setting in the Mnemonic Abyss. Chiyo makes her way to the hospital and encounters flashbacks of an elderly man who talks to a young girl in a pink hospital gown, Reiko. After following the strange apparition, she discovers that she can really meet the dead through The Black Page. Chiyo also realizes that the apparition of the young man was the younger self of her husband, who tells Chiyo that he is sorry for burdening her with his disabilities, and that she should move on and take care of herself. It is then revealed that the one story house featured belonged to Chiyo and Michio.
The game has received generally mixed reviews. Though most are negative, many are positive and praise the game for its interactiveness and the first person modes in the game, as well as some of the gameplay elements introduced.