Before I Forget is perhaps one of the few tracks I’ve analyzed more than played, which doesn’t mean I wasn’t deeply affected by it. Nominated for a BAFTA award in the “Game Beyond Entertainment” category, it explores the difficulties of living with early dementia and seeks to reflect the sense of isolation suffered by those suffering from it . Before I Forget hit PC in July 2020, the Switch, PS4, and Xbox One are now coming to give a much larger audience the chance to enjoy this gem.
The game is designed so that it can be played in a single session. It took me a little under an hour to finish (although I haven’t had all of the successes on Xbox yet). Before I forget, I put you in the shoes of Sunita, a woman who finds it difficult to remember the most basic things because she has early dementia. As the story unfolds, we are faced with two puzzles. To solve them we will have to explore Sunita’s house and interact with various objects. The first is to find out what Sunita’s life was like before she had the disease, and the second has to do with her missing husband, Dylan.
Of course, I don’t want to ruin your story, but I will say the more I found out about Sunita’s past, the more heartbreaking the reality she is in seemed to me. Realizing that she has gone from being a respected doctor in her field to a sick woman who cannot even find the bathroom is a very sad thing. Everything is very well built and manages to recognize the severity of the disease. I also have to admit that I was very impressed with the way they told the story. The message they want to convey hits a chord and is executed flawlessly, despite the fact that there is no interaction with other characters and that most of the dialogue takes place in the protagonist’s head.
In addition to moving from room to room and interacting with some objects, there are some puzzles, but they are quite simple. They consist of looking through a telescope and looking for constellations that will follow your aunt’s instructions as you explore India’s night skies together. They are not difficult at all and you will not get stuck in any way. However, they work like a charm to show us how far Sunita is from who she once was. Personally, I wish there were more moments like this, but I respect the developers’ desire to keep it short and to the point in order to provide an impactful experience in a short period of time.
Instead of going for a more realistic aesthetic like in Gone Home for example, the game opts for an animated and colorful visual style, which I think is another element that gives it its own personality. I liked the use of music and ambient effects to give the player a better immersion. Another way that prevents us from getting out of the game is if, instead of telling ourselves directly where to go, we hear noises like a piano or a ringing phone indicating the direction to follow to move forward. I also found the decision to gradually make the color on the walls appear uneven to reflect the work Sunita needs to hold onto her memories.
Since it doesn’t require a very large investment, neither time nor money (it currently costs $ 7.99 for consoles), I strongly recommend you try it out. Before I forget, through the story it tells us, it is able to transmit the difficulties associated with living with early dementia and make intelligent use of various resources. Furthermore, the fact that it only lasts about an hour means that it doesn’t rob us of any more time than necessary. That said, if you’re not a fan of “running simulators” like “Gone Home” or “What Remains of Edith Finch”, you probably won’t find anything that sets it apart in a way that you’ll love after playing it.