Dissociative amnesia is a condition linked to stress in which you can forget information about yourself, events from your life, and even learned skills. In reality, it’s mercifully rare—the US hospital network Cleveland Clinic (opens in new tab) says around 1% of men and 2.6% of women in the general population are affected. But among videogame protagonists, prevalence is much higher, and the loss of memory is usually extensive. 

Geralt spent two games getting around to remembering who the love of his life was—making use of the intervening time to explore a romantic relationship with one of her best mates instead. Knights of the Old Republic’s entire plot hinged on a total lack of knowledge of who you were and where you came from, teeing you up for a famously gnarly twist. And this year, the parkour FPS Neon White (opens in new tab) used the forgetfulness of its titular anime killer to create a sense of unease around companion characters who may or may not have been manipulating you. To paraphrase Guy Pearce: Don’t believe their lies.

(Image credit: 2K)

From a game developer’s point of view, the practical benefits of the condition are clear. Amnesia explains how a character might start from the bottom and quickly climb a skill tree, achieving mastery of acrobatic and magical abilities that were completely alien to them just a couple of weeks earlier. By and large, relearning is easier than learning.

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By nmybx

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