Anamnesis is a solo journaling game where you “play as an individual who has woken up with memory loss.” The character players inhabit doesn’t know their origins, location, or interests. Prompts and a deck of tarot cards serve as tools to discover the character’s past and what they care about.
You can read my review for this solo journaling game here.
What follows is the journal I created while playing the game. It’s not a highly edited work that will win any awards, but I’m still enchanted with the discoveries I made while creating it.
World and environment – Spaceship, leaning science fiction
Shadow: V The Hierophant
- Tradition, conformity, institutionalism
I am sitting on a fountain ledge in the middle of a crowded terminal. I don’t know how I arrived here, or for that matter, who I am. Taking a deep breath, I smell rot, decay, and something familiar…
The smell makes my fingers feel like they should be tingling, and I suddenly feel parched. While I can’t remember what the smell belongs to, my body seems to remember, and it craves more. Visions linger at the edge of my mind of a violet powder smeared into my eyes. But the rest is fuzzy. As I touch my head, I hear a soft jingle. There is a brooch on my jacket. It’s decorative but I remember it symbolizes a military rank. It shines as if freshly polished. It takes a minute, but I realize I wear it so that the general public knows I’m someone to respect because I enforce the law.
My partner was the one to pin this on me. Who was she? I can’t remember. Standing up and looking around, I take in the cramped terminal. The crowd is much more sparse than I initially thought. They shuffle away from me as I move. I realize they are trying to avoid eye-contact.
I exit the terminal and meander down a narrow hallway with windows that look out to the neighboring planet. It glows pinkish from the distant sun. Once through the hall and around the corner, I know I’m in the main township district. I am lost, but also feel a deep sense of familiarity.
I stumble upon a park of sorts. While the plants are few on the space station, there is art to take in and several statues that signify important figures in history. They are military leaders, weapon specialists, and scientists of great renown. I realize I’ve been here before during a ceremony. I walk a path that I know I’ve walked before, and I meet a statue of my partner. She stands stoic and strong. The plaque reads that the statue is in honor of her great leadership, not a sacrifice that led to her death.
The ceremony was for the installment of her statue. I stare at the statue for a while the world grows quiet. A need for the violet powder hums in the back of my mind while I reflect on where my partner might be, what this statue might represent, and why I can’t remember. I feel warmth or affection and my chest aches with inevitable loss. I touch the statue only to realize it’s a well-done hologram. My hand falls through.
A tear threads down my cheek. I wipe it and step away from the statue. There is a group of people who have come up behind me. When I turn to them, they begin to disperse. Yet, I hear their whispers. “Consequences ,” they say, “Justice.” Beyond them, I feel watched, and my eyes circle the environment until I locate a camera hanging high in a nearby tree focused solely on me. What have I done?
I make my leave of the park and feel tugged in some way to a more secluded sector. I’m surrounded by apartment doors, and one feels like it must be mine. I place my hand on the door scanner, and it welcomes me inside. I recognize nothing and everything. It’s a small quarters, and everything is in its right place, perfectly so: surfaces are tidy, documents are straight, and the bed is made. Except I notice something loose, just under the bed after kicking it with my foot. It’s a sketch book of sorts, and inside are schematics and blueprints. They detail hidden tunnels and offer notes about potential traps. The last page shows the full picture of the location: an air supply creation lock.
These blueprints detail how to destroy the ship’s air supply
I look in the waste receptacle and see a few items within: a mostly destroyed list, the rough draft of a complaint letter, and a congratulatory flier for a promotion. It says my name, I think. It details a “new” chapter overseeing a colony planetside. But, this feels like a false celebration, like it’s less an attempt at promoting me and more of an effort to get rid of me.
As I walk into the narrow kitchen, I hear laughter echoing from my memories. I see ghosts of my military partner and me standing near the ration distribution chamber. We’re half-heartedly discussing sabotage and the best methods for deconstructing the ship from the inside. In the vision, I smear purple powder on my eyes. They glow briefly, but my partner becomes serious, making suggestions for a hostile takeover that could be possible with the right planning and access cards. And I seemed to have had the right access cards.
I sit down on my bed and try to think. My head swirls with the visions and constant hum for the purple powder. I must have been completely addicted. Did it compromise my authority?
This room holds no more answers for me. I leave and seek out the Office of the Justicar — the office promoting me. Finding the elevator to the official military branch isn’t difficult, but surprised soldiers greet me. They call me what I now know to be my name: Officer Threta Cloyn. I consider asking about my partner, but I worry how they’ll hear the question. Instead I ask to be taken to my office. The lower ranking offers are stunned by my request and instead direct me to get some rest at home and prepare for my trip planetside.
But I can’t go home. Back in the public corridors I wander from station to station for a bit before hearing the careful croon of a busker. The song reminds me of my first colony escort in deep space. I feel a sense of melancholy and impending disaster.
I take the brooch from my uniform and hold it in my hand for a while as I walk around the station, mostly lost. I can’t help but feel like I’m supposed to meet someone here. When I come to a large trash incinerator deposit container, I toss the emblem of my military authority inside. The brooch clanks against the sides of the shaft pipe as it’s rushed deep into the ship’s internals where it will be alchemized into fuel. I know it won’t matter soon, but it feels right that it’s destroyed by my hand.
New identity: The strength
I stand on the balcony overlooking the commoner station. I am a Justicar, Officer Threta Cloyn. Or I was. I served the Collective with my partner Justicar Officer Helfie Felkor. Our relationship beyond upholding the law is fuzzy. Even with my memories back, it’s difficult to discern if we were in love or merely an object of coincidence and loneliness. Helfie had hatched a plan to destroy the ship I currently inhabit, the Orien. Destroying it would free us from our military contract if we could get to an escape pod in time. Helfie was devastated by an upgrade to my orders that would send me planetside without them.
When I figured out what Helfie planned to do, I wasn’t immediately for it. But my addiction to Vilinct — the purple powder drug — and their ability to supply me with it, outweighed my interest in fighting them.
At the last terminal in the air supply dock, I decided I couldn’t go through with the sabotage. Helfie was beside themself. We’d come so far, they said. “This ship is nothing, these people are nothing.” Something in me would not and could not agree. They called me dirt before overloading me with their supply of Vilinct, pinning me down and violently covering my face in it. I must have wandered to the main public terminal in a fugue state.
I was not a very fair Justicar. I was manipulative, deceitful, and often a thief of ideas and evidence. I punished where forgiveness would have been better and I didn’t even follow the traditions I so brazenly enforced.
But if I go to the airlock terminal now and jettison the corrupted stations and divert airflow to more populated locales. I could reduce the death toll.
It won’t be easy, and I’ll likely die due to toxicity exposure. But I can do it.
I unbutton my uniform a bit and start running.