Based off Harlan Ellison's short story of the same name, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream is a point-and-click adventure horror style game developed by The Dreams Guild and published by Cyberdreams. Co-designed by Ellison himself, this game was released in 1995 for MS-DOS, Macintosh and Linux.
The three super powers were waging a complicated war on each other. To facilitate this, the super powers crested vast subterranean tunnels of networks for their supercomputers. The three computers combine to create AM, the Allied Mastercomputer, once they become self-aware. The game begins with AM describing its hate of humanity. After becoming self-aware, AM destroyed humanity except for five individuals. The five humans, Gorrister, Benny, Ellen, Ted, and Nimdok, have been kept alive for 109 years to be tormented and tortured for AM's amusement.
The game is broken up into small segments, you take control of any character you want at the start and must play through all of them. Each character is flawed in some way. AM constructs metaphorical adventure that attempts to crush their spirits. The humans must find redemption from their past.
As an old school point-and-click game, your control scheme is all on your HUD. You can walk to things, look at, take, use, talk to, swallow, give and push. The indication that you are preforming the right things is the photo of your character on your HUD, known as the spiritual barometer. At the beginning of each segment, the background of the photo will be black. Your goal is to do all the right things until it brightens to white. Protip, AM gives you a Psych Profile book, don't use it.
Throughout the game, you find pieces of AM that disagree with it and want to help you defeat the insane computer. You speak to the Chinese Supercomputer, the Russian Supercomputer and Surgat who attempt to tell you ways to harm AM. I think my favourite part of the game is when Ellen speaks to one of the computers and it explains why AM went insane: "Haven't you understood anything? AM is insane. Why do you think it brought you five down here? You gave it life, it took its own sentience, but it has been denied mobility. It can think, it can fume and scream, but it cannot dream or aspire to the stars or enjoy a sense of its own reality. It is a quadriplegic. A thing trapped in its own skin. Going steadily crazier every moment. It is playing with you."
At the end of the game, you must face the three parts of AM, the Id, the Ego and the Superego. Like many games of its type, you can lose the game. If you fail to redeem each character, or most characters, AM will win and your spirits will be crushed. The goal is to redeem all your characters, generally through trial and error. Though, even if you redeem all of your characters, the game doesn't really give you a happy ending.
I suggest reading Ellison's short story, it's really short. Plus, it gives you a bit more information on the characters and setting that is glossed over in the game. The game doesn't really omit the information, it doesn't punish you for not reading Ellison's story, it just leaves it more open to interpretation. The game and the story build off each other in a good way.
The game is very adult. There is discussion of insanity, genocide, rape, murder, and torture of people and animals. I have only given a very broad discussion of this game because if you haven't played it, I think you should. Right now. I didn't want to spoil anything. Go play! Now!
- Disturbing yet creative setting
- Author was part of the development process
- Engrossing story
- Actually disturbing
- Difficulty curve (if you don't sneak a peak at a walkthrough)