Before I Forget – The Memory of Love
Memories will always stay with us, for better or for worse we will always remember. Our past is what helps us decide our future; to learn from previous experiences and cherish the good times. But the unfortunate reality is that not everyone can remember. This is Before I Forget – the game that takes us through the eyes of Dementia.
What to Expect in Before I Forget
This game was developed and published by 3-Fold Games, a microgame studio by Chella Ramanan and Claire Morwood. Before I Forget is their first game, which won the Audience Choice Award at the XX+ Games Jam. The game has also received a nomination for a BAFTA for its work.
Before I Forget is designed to have a short narrative style to it. It has an average playtime of one hour as to be experienced in one sitting. In that hour, the player will enjoy a story-rich experience through the exploration of a household alone. The isolated location manages to both confine and be seemingly endless to the player and protagonist; as the game surprisingly balances the aspect of claustrophobia and the expansiveness of nowhere.
The design of the game is gorgeous and heart-warming yet exudes tragedy. The artwork and colouring pop out in contrast with the psyche of the protagonist as the game progresses. It is as if the world comes to life the more you explore and remember. The audio reflects an ordinary silence that soon becomes unnerving as you play. Eventually, the silence is replaced with a joyful piano or unnerving violins at times. The audio knows exactly when to strike.
The Gameplay of Before I Forget
The gameplay is straightforward and simple, but that doesn’t detract the game away from it. Its simplicity makes it incredibly user-friendly to players and even new gamers; focusing on narrative over gameplay. And we think this is a great way to bring in new gamers or people who want to experience gaming but dislike complex controls.
The game is from a first-person perspective, giving you a more personal approach to the mind of the protagonist. You can move around the household and interact with various objects that you provide commentary on. You will find all sorts of items such as photographs, letters, magazines and sticky notes.
The colour of the area is dull and toneless, but as you interact with these objects the world becomes brighter, more vivid, and clearer. The world starts to reform around you as photographs start to show the figures inside them, and text reappears on letters. Some items may even trigger flashbacks where small cut scenes occur – some of a romantic nature and the other of blissful childhood memories.
The Story of Before I Forget
Before I Forget tells the story of Sunita – an Indian woman with early-onset dementia. As the player, you will explore the mindset and lifestyle of Sunita as you wander room to room and discover items around the household. Sunita will comment on each item you pick up, recalling a certain memory or finding mystery in them.
You will also explore her past, such as her childhood, career and love life with her husband. The more you piece together her story, the darker the tone of the game gets. You see Sunita’s confusion and terror begin to unfold. Answers start to appear when you see the truth of past events and the tragedy of the story.
The story and events that unfold come mainly through Sunita’s exposition and recalling of events. Sunita will reminisce and even air her thoughts out loud on the current situation as well as her worries. You can really feel the distress manifest as the situation becomes more and more clear for her.
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was a game that beautifully and accurately depicted the mentality of people suffering from Psychosis. Before I Forget‘s initiative to show a similar story is what we need to see more of in the industry. Chella’s and Claire’s decision to tell this tale pays off through its artistic and tragic representation. Stepping into the perspective of Sunita’s pain and her condition is heart-wrenching – as we live every moment and every thought in her routine.
Sunita is a brilliant protagonist, both illustrating a beautiful representation of an Indian woman as well as being a tragic window to the life of someone with mental illness. Her emotions are varied and amazingly portrayed by her voice actor – Anjali Kunapaneni – who brings a gut-wrenching performance. We hope to see more of her performance in the future of voice-acting.
Level design and art style are perfect! The household feels everlasting and yet you cannot help but feel breathless. The art is a sight to behold, with its use of colours interchanging through progress a remarkable experience. The world starts to become brighter when the mood is happier, and darker on the opposite.
Despite the short game length and simplistic controls, we believe that this was a genius development. The developers gave great timing for the player to enjoy the game in one sitting, and its simplicity makes it accessible to any audience. Its replayability value isn’t much as it is entirely narrative-focused. But you can bet people will be recommending this to others based on their own gameplay experience.
Where Can I Get It?
Before I Forget was released on 16th July 2020. It is currently available on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Steam. At the time of writing, you can grab a copy of the game for £5.64 ($7.99) for Xbox and £5.99 for Steam.