The lab will be leading the re-development of Thomas M. Disch’s interactive fiction game, Amnesia, published by Electronic Arts in 1986. The lab became interested in the game in 2017 when artist Sarah Smith sent us a copy of it while we were in the midst of documenting her interactive game, King of Space for Rebooting Electronic Literature, Volume 1 and decided to devote a chapter to Amnesia in the book.
Fast forward three and a half years later. We are in the throes of planning a version of it for contemporary computing devices. Originally released for the Apple II computer, it was later released for the Commodore 64 and PC, specifically IBM AT, XT PC and Tandy 1000 and all compatibles. Thus, the design challenge we face is how best to reflect the original experience the game provided while at the same time re-conceptualize that experience for an audience today, one inculcated by streaming media, multisensory storytelling, and mobile devices? Considering that along with the 5.25-inch floppy disks on which the game was published, Amnesia also came with physical artifacts such as a Street and Subway Map to Manhattan, the X-Street Indexer, and Visitor’s Guide to New York City, we face a fairly daunting task. The main constraint we need to address is that the output must be built in open web languages so that it can be accessible for future audiences.
Undertaking the re-development are the 33 fall 2021 graduates of the Creative Media & Digital Culture program. Members of lab staff–Holly Slocum, Greg Philbrook, and I–will work closely with senior Andrew Thompson who will serve as the Project Manager for the project. Teams include:
Project Manager: Andrew Thompson
Copywriter: Samantha Cousins
Team Leader: Ahria Nicholas
Team Leader: Ceenan Calzadilla
Jacob P Cook
Team Leader: Zach McNaught
Team Leader: James R. Kay
Team Leader: Sydney Brower
The deadline for delivery to the Thomas M. Disch Estate is the end of the fall semester–that is, mid-December. It should prove to be a project that students can stretch their skills and gain excellent experience with problem-solving and game production.