Anamnesis: A Journey Through Grief
Anamnesis is a short game / experience about the loss of pets. It attempts to help people move forward in the grieving process and regain a more positive mind set, thus tackling the negative mental and physical symptoms grief can cause. Anamnesis does this by making the user focus on good memories and motivating them to think more positively throughout the whole experience.
Who can play Anamnesis?
While everyone can play Anamnesis, it was specifically designed for people who find themselves in the fourth phase of the grieving process, called ‘depression’. People in this phase are known to experience very strong negative emotions, such as sadness, regret, fear, insecurity, guilt etc. This makes this phase the most likely one to get stuck in, unable to move forward. This disorder is called complicated grief and requires professional help. The depression phase is the predecessor of the acceptance phase, towards which Anamnesis tries to help people move forward to. Of course, this doesn’t go without falling and getting back up again, grief remains a process that requires time. However, Anamnesis tries help accelerate that process and give the users some relief.
What does the player do ‘in game’?
Anamnesis is all about revisiting good memories the user has of their pet. The game / experience starts with a short intro cinematic which shows multiple households with their pets at night. The screen stops at every window, focusing on the interaction between the two. They all seem happy.
In the last house the person is alone. There are signs however, that show that it wasn’t always the case, such as an empty cage. This shows the dark but inevitable side of having pets that everyone will someday face. The cinematic ends when the person walks out of the room and turns the light off. The screen then transitions to the home menu. Here, the user can choose a type of pet and fill in some information required to make the experience more personal. He is then sent to the memorial, a cozy room dedicated to the lost pet. In the room the player finds the outline of a broken plant pot. From here, the user can visit four different memories with each a different subject. All subjects have been designed carefully to match the type of pet that was chosen, for example ‘playing’, ‘presence’, ‘petting’, ‘sounds’ etc. All memories have a certain degree of abstractness, enabling the user to have his own interpretations. Each memory is a short interactive experience that always starts off by asking the user to think back to certain moments with their pet. The user then goes on to play and experience said memory. After completion, the memory ends by retrieving a missing piece of the plant pot. The user is sent back to the memorial, where the missing piece gets restored to its original place. When all the memories have been visited, an end cinematic is triggered. A tree starts growing out of the plant pot, representing new life and hope. A ghost-ish representation of the pet appears with one last important message that summarizes the whole game / experience. ‘The pain you feel shows how much love we shared. As long as you remember me in a positive way, I am never truly gone.’ The screen zooms in on a previously unnoticed window. When looking outside, the user overlooks a neighborhood. More trees start growing everywhere, representing all the pets that live on in people’s minds and the people that have gone through similar experiences themselves.