Amnesia Alternatives

April 17th, 2009 | Posted by Ben Abraham in Uncategorized

I was searching my long list of bookmarked webpages earlier today and came across this entry from Corvus Elrod’s Man Bytes Blog. In ‘Amnesia Alternatives’ Corvus outlines two ways that a storyteller (read: anyone setting up their game) can overcome the initial barrier to a players knowledge that a brand new world they’ve never experienced presents.

It's unreasonable to expect every player to read a hefty manual explaining their character's back story, or worse—to subject them to a lengthy game intro which delays their entry into the game itself.

So dumping the player into a situation where they know nothing about the character or world is a perfectly reasonable means of setting them up to learn things within the game narrative proper.

He suggests two approaches, the first is “Relocate the player”, that is, have them start in an area that actually is new to their player as well. The second approach that Corvus suggests is to start the player as a Child or as “child like” characters, which also seems a very untapped alternative. There really is very little excuse for the “amnesia, lol” approach, if there ever was.

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4 Responses

  • I would say relocating to a “foreign environment” does not necessarily need to mean physical environment. The first person film Le Scaphandre et le Papillion takes place in a familiar setting, but both the protagonist and audience share the exploration of the physical limitations of paralysis.

    You can also drop the player into an environment that the character is familiar with, but then introduce some events that shake up their perception or habits. The Longest Journey, for example, begins in an area where April Ryan has lived for years, but she is quickly reduced to the same level of understanding as the player as the world literally begins to change around her.

  • Corvus says:

    Much like the hero passing through the veil, eh Michel? I believe I’ve advocated similar in other posts or conversations.

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