The Forgotten: It Begins

There are basically bones all over the place in this game.So, after spending so much time on GTA3, I figure the next thing I pull off the stack should be as unlike it as possible. It has to be nonviolent, it has to offer highly constrained and linear gameplay, and, most of all, it has to be obscure. Searching the stack, I see the perfect thing: The Forgotten, an aptly-named first-person adventure game from 1999 in the gothic horror/fantasy/mystery genre. When this game was new, I played it until I got severely stuck, then shelved it. Starting over from the beginning, I find I remember very little about the game consciously, but it’s still familiar enough for me to waltz through the parts I had seen before. I’m already into new territory.

The premise of the game is like a cross between Cardcaptor Sakura and H. P. Lovecraft. Individuals called “collectors” pursue magical cards crafted by the powerful and mysterious beings who held dominion over the earth before the rise of humankind, but the cards are a kind of trap, and the collectors who use their power too much wind up collected themselves. This is a promising basis for a game. Collecting items that give you special powers is always fun. But so far, it hasn’t met its promise. I only have one card, and it’s only been usable once, teleporting me like a Myst book to a decrepit and abandoned street in New Orleans. It doesn’t even let me teleport back.

I like to think that every game has a lesson for us, whether about life or about game design. In the case of The Forgotten, the lesson concerns hubris. To quote from the docs:

The Forgotten is not just a single game. It has been conceived, and the plot line developed, as a series of games that will progress over time, each module developing the story line and taking advantage of the latest technology available to us during the development process.

The first installment, It Begins, is meant to introduce the player to the series: the plot line, the recurrent locales and themes, the interface and the basic nature of the gameplay. There are objects and cards collected here that will be used later as the player progresses through the story…

Such confidence! Elsewhere, the titles of the other six episodes are given. Eight years later, this is still the only episode. The official website has some material on episode 2, but this hasn’t been updated since 2002 at the very latest.

1 Comment so far

  1. paul on 25 Feb 2007

    The site also has a link to the Forgotten Texture Libraries. NOT “the Forgotten texture libraries”. Presumably these texture libraries were once used by eldritch enchanters to upholster stuff in their cities of brass and steel, back when the world was young and the mists of magic hung heavy on the land.

    There are also clipmaps. FORGOTTEN clipmaps.

Leave a reply