Ludum Dare 48: RAMnesia

“RAMnesia” by Chris Siebert.

“As you move deeper through the woods, your amnesia runs worse and worse; [but] your character’s memory [is not] the only memory being forgotten. […] [This game] is a puzzle platformer, where if a variable in the game’s memory has been untouched for [three] seconds, it gets erased.”

Anyone seeing “RAMnesia” for the first time would probably think that it is just another generic platformer with nice looking pixel art and possibly a few puzzles. In fact, though, it follows an extremely innovative meta design. The game displays in its right sidebar all the variables that players can manipulate. These include, for example, the X and Y coordinates of the character, the number of coins collected, or the item currently being held. If the value of a variable does not change again within the next three seconds after its last change, the associated value is reset to its initial state.

So if you carry the same object for three seconds, you will end up with nothing at all. Anyone who does not move for three seconds will be transported back to the beginning. If you have already collected five coins but do not find another one in the next three seconds, you will end up poor as a church mouse. This may sound like a curse now, but it can also be an incredible blessing in “RAMnesia”. Thus, with a simple mouse click on the X and Y coordinate variables, you can reset the values yourself and teleport along the two axes – only within the limits set by the game, of course. This is also necessary, because each variable has its own timer and its clockdown is independent from the other timers.

It takes a few attempts to get used to this concept and the coordination skills it requires. After all, you do not just have to focus on the platform elements on the surface, but always factor in the consequences of the variables falling back to their default value. But even though this concept is not the most accessible, the ideas behind “RAMnesia” make it one of the most exciting submissions of the entire forty-eighth Ludum Dare. [PLAY]