Amnesia (video game)

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Amnesia 1986 cover.png
Publisher(s)Electronic Arts
Designer(s)Thomas M. Disch
Programmer(s)Kevin Bentley
Writer(s)Thomas M. Disch Edit this on Wikidata
Platform(s)MS-DOS, Apple II, Commodore 64
Release1986: Apple, MS-DOS
1987: C64
Genre(s)Interactive fiction

Amnesia is a text adventure written by science fiction author Thomas M. Disch, programmed by Kevin Bentley, and published by Electronic Arts in 1986 for IBM PC compatibles and Apple II. A Commodore 64 version was released in 1987. Disch's ironic, rich writing style, is in distinct contrast to the functional or tongue-in-cheek tone of most text adventures. Over half of Disch's novel-length manuscript had to be cut from the published version due to the storage limitations 5¼" floppy disks.[citation needed]


The game begins as the player's character awakens in a midtown Manhattan hotel room with absolutely no memory. He has no clothes and no money, and doesn't even remember what he looks like. The player soon discovers he is engaged to a woman he cannot remember, a strange man is trying to kill him, and the state of Texas wants him for murder. From here, the player must unravel the events in his life that led him to this point [1].

In addition to being a text adventure, the game simulates life in Manhattan. Disch's model covered every block and street corner south of 110th Street. A hard-copy map of the streets and subways of Manhattan is included in the packaging. Players move from place to place on foot, and have to reach destinations at the correct time of day to initiate plot developments. Stores open and close at the correct times, street lights turn on, and other aspects of New York City life are simulated. Almost 4000 separate Manhattan locations, including 650 streets, are part of the game.


Programmer Kevin Bentley implemented the game using the King Edward Adventure game authoring system, which was developed by James Terry.[citation needed] The game was acquired and produced by Don Daglow.[citation needed]


Scorpia of Computer Gaming World described the game as being "too much like a novel", giving as example the need to answer the phone in the hotel room. The review also noted the main character would collapse after an unrealistically short amount of time if he didn't eat or sleep frequently.[2] Charles Ardai called Amnesia "a brilliant, witty, and intriguing story", however,[3] and stated that "the text is so rich and the story so interesting that one hardly notices that this is probably the least interactive piece of interactive fiction ever made".[4] Compute! stated that the combination of Disch's writing and Electronic Arts' software "makes Amnesia a text adventure well worth exploring".[5]


One of the last major text-based games published by a major games company other than Infocom, Amnesia is also the only all-text adventure ever published by EA.[citation needed]

Disch also wrote a screenplay based on the game's characters and story line and it was optioned to one of the major Hollywood studios, but the film was never made.[citation needed]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Scorpia (January–February 1987). "Amnesia" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 34. pp. 44–45, 64–65. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  3. ^ Ardai, Charles (December 1986). "Year in Review" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 33. p. 21. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  4. ^ Ardai, Charles (May 1987). "Titans of the Computer Gaming World / Part II of V: Ardai on Electronic Arts" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. No. 37. p. 28. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  5. ^ Trunzo, James V. (May 1987). "Amnesia". Compute!. No. 84. p. 46. Retrieved 9 November 2013.

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