The "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" game
September 20, 2012 1:13 PM   Subscribe

How do you make a computer game out of "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream"?
posted by Egg Shen (45 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
All his dreams, hopes, desires, sensations... all atavized into a primal consumptive urge."
posted by oulipian at 1:23 PM on September 20, 2012 [15 favorites]


I was thinking something like Farmville, actually.
posted by delfin at 1:23 PM on September 20, 2012 [30 favorites]


They link to a 3 hour video at the end, but I found the Let's Play easier to digest since it's all pictures and is broken up into managable chunks.
posted by Copronymus at 1:28 PM on September 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


How do you make a computer game out of "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream"?

Not very well.
I have that very game sitting on my shelf. I rue the day I bought it. Such a buggy POS.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:29 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


How do you make a computer game out of "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream"?

Most typically, with a C compiler.
posted by Malor at 1:34 PM on September 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


I had precisely the same thought, Malor.
posted by vorfeed at 1:37 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wasn't this what The Sims was?
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:43 PM on September 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


An amusing confluence; I assigned my students "I have no words & I must design" (about game design) to read last week.
posted by phearlez at 1:50 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Game idea: Trapped at an isolated cabin with Harlan Ellison, forced to solve impossible puzzles. Neil Gaiman and others phone you with clues.
posted by Artw at 1:50 PM on September 20, 2012 [13 favorites]


Not much to add here, except I remember an ad way back when for some kind of Computer Game Club (like the "Buy 5 books, get one free!" things) that featured this game as one of the titles. Except they had a lot of games to list and not space, so it was called "No Mouth, Must Scream" which to this day I find hilarious.
posted by Legomancer at 1:54 PM on September 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Thick, ropey worms restore health points.
posted by Egg Shen at 1:56 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, reading through the Let's Play. Those screenshots, that game was such an aesthetic predecessor to Bioshock.
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:00 PM on September 20, 2012


Google is throwing me a warning when visiting that page, phearlez. Was Costik's site hacked at some point?
posted by curious nu at 2:02 PM on September 20, 2012


I hate to be That Guy, but surely the complete text of the story as found at the second link is online without the appropriate permissions?
posted by webmutant at 2:03 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nobody tell Harlan.
posted by Artw at 2:07 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Harlan already knows and is on his way to Egg Shen's house.
posted by jscott at 2:19 PM on September 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Dear The Future:

Not everything has to be everything else. Sometimes stuff can just be what it is!

HTH HAND,
The Increasingly Jaded Present
posted by penduluum at 2:19 PM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


webmutant: "surely the complete text of the story as found at the second link is online without the appropriate permissions"

MeFi links all the time to Youtube copyright violations. I see no ethical reason why a different standard should apply between text and video (or audio). If there is a difference in practice, then it's based on contingent community standards.
posted by meehawl at 2:21 PM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not really into those Japanese Hello Kitty games.
posted by straight at 2:21 PM on September 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm going to assume that this is effectively abandonware, except that Harlan would sue anyone who downloads it.
posted by One Hand Slowclapping at 2:23 PM on September 20, 2012


On the other hand, Harlan would sue you for not downloading the game for defaming him by implying the game is not worth downloading.
posted by clockworkjoe at 2:27 PM on September 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


We should piss off the PKD estate next.
posted by Artw at 2:32 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The thing about the copyright issue is...

Hang on. Someone is knocking on the lower half of my front door.
posted by Egg Shen at 2:34 PM on September 20, 2012 [34 favorites]


The thing that always got to me about this story is: Are they all in a Matrix or does AM really have powers similar to those of Anthony Fremont? If the latter, why didn't he just let out his need to "more than just exist" by building his own worlds in space or whatever?
posted by gubo at 2:41 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I bought this game when it came out - pretty creepy, but really hard to follow. I could never seem to get very far into any of the stories before I hit a brick wall. I'm not much of a gamer though, so maybe that was the problem. I think I still have the disc around somplace, amybe I should give it another shot.
posted by InfidelZombie at 2:42 PM on September 20, 2012


Not everything has to be everything else. Sometimes stuff can just be what it is!

You say that now, but wait until Your Comment: The Movie comes out!
posted by davejay at 2:43 PM on September 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gubo, IIRC AM has godlike powers (within some limits; obviously it can't revive the dead) but can only exert them within itself, which is why the survivors live inside the computer.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:46 PM on September 20, 2012


How do you make a computer game out of "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream"?

For starters, you ask for advice from the group of Demodex mites who already made a successful adaptation of "I Have No Butt, and I Must Fart".
posted by Anything at 2:50 PM on September 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


As a skinny fella without much of a butt to speak of, let me assure you I fart with the best of 'em.
posted by item at 3:19 PM on September 20, 2012


I'm a relatively hardcore adventure gamer and I totally failed to pass the last section. I think I consulted a walkthrough (which I super rarely do) and even then had no idea what what going on.

Bearing the subject matter in mind I am mildly certain that that is the point.
posted by Sparx at 3:37 PM on September 20, 2012


http://www.wurb.com/stack/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/hate.jpg
posted by baf at 3:40 PM on September 20, 2012


This is and DoDonPachi are the only games I have played on MAME. I've been meaning to get back to this - I dropped out early on when the gameplay began to confuse me. Thanks for the reminder to give this another crack.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:56 PM on September 20, 2012


Also, I played this game when it was new, and I remember it did some interesting experiments. And when I say "experiments", I mean that, like all true experiments, they weren't all successful.

The first big experiment I remember was subverting player expectation with respect to cutscenes. Special full-screen animations were at enough of a premium back then that game designers didn't bother making them for incorrect actions. So when you saw a cutscene in an adventure game, you were pretty sure that you were not only on the right path, but you had just made a significant advancement towards victory. Cutscenes were a reward, or a sign of a reward. But IHNMAIMS had significant cutscenes "rewarding" you for doing things that AM wanted and expected of you, and which locked you out of victory. This probably wouldn't seem like such a subversion today, but it was striking at the time.

Another example: there was one part where the player character couldn't perceive an important object -- a disc, I think -- that was fully visible to the player. You could click on it but she'd act like it wasn't there. There were reasons for this, a mental block on her part that could only be overcome through a psychological breakthrough: afterward, she'd say something like "It was there all along, but I just couldn't see it". Now, this kind of play on separation of player knowledge from player character knowledge is the kind of thing I find interesting in games, but it really didn't work well here, because it seemed like a bug. There wasn't anything to suggest at first that a mental block was more likely than a buggy game, and even a suspicion of bugginess is enough to seriously damage the experience of an adventure game -- a genre that, more than any other sort of game, requires the player to trust the author.
posted by baf at 4:31 PM on September 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Game idea: Trapped at an isolated cabin with Harlan Ellison, forced to solve impossible puzzles. Neil Gaiman and others phone you with clues.

And the highest difficulty setting is called Connie Willis. (There's a Dave Sim post right after this post - is it How to be a Fan of Problematic Things Day? As a lefty feminist who loves Heinlein and Ellison, I need to know these things.)
posted by gingerest at 5:05 PM on September 20, 2012


Wow, I'm halfway through the Let's Play and it's kinda freaking me out.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:20 PM on September 20, 2012


I'd talk to Stephen King.
posted by bz at 5:20 PM on September 20, 2012


Enough time has passed since I read "I have no mouth, and I must scream" and so much Internet-related psychic damage has occurred in the intervening years, I imagine that, somehow, Tom Six must be involved.
posted by zippy at 5:35 PM on September 20, 2012


They link to a 3 hour video at the end, but I found the Let's Play easier to digest since it's all pictures and is broken up into managable chunks.

Oh my god, I remember following that on the forums, before LPs got their own subforums.

You are making me feel internet-old.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:51 PM on September 20, 2012


Interesting document. This game unsettled me deeply when I was a kid.
posted by painquale at 5:53 PM on September 20, 2012


My obsession with this story, my plan to take another boy to my high school prom, and a mouthy gym teacher were integral elements in my getting expelled from school. It was okay, as it happened, as I'd been in high school for almost four years and was about to fail the tenth grade for the second time, but I was in a bit of a mood that year. I'd fueled my teenangst on Tuxedomoon played at full volume, moody, narcissistic post-golden-age sci-fi, and difficult hair, so the hate litany in the seemed like the perfect summation of the zeitgeist.

The game, on the other hand, erases the token faggot and is therefore dead to me.
posted by sonascope at 6:08 PM on September 20, 2012


It's worth noting when reading "I Have No Words and I Must Design" that Costik is (was at the time?) a libertarian.
posted by GameDesignerBen at 7:59 PM on September 20, 2012


By saying fuck it and choosing a more video game appropriate Ellison story? Paingod, maybe?
posted by Caduceus at 5:54 AM on September 21, 2012


This sounds awesome. It also jogged my memory of Dark Seed, a game that caused more than a few nightmares when I played it as a kid.
posted by naju at 10:18 AM on September 21, 2012


Ow my head is hurting!

My head is really killing me!

Gee, I wish I could do something about this headache.

Etc... etc... It was quite some time before the opening the bathroom cupboard and taking an aspirin as a way of stopping your brain exploding puzzle was solved around our way.
posted by Artw at 10:21 AM on September 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know the thread is a bit old now, but OMG I just watched Necroscope86's Let's Play on Youtube. What an amazing game! The html Let's Play doesn't really capture the really interesting (and occasionally cheesy) voice acting, music, and general all-around atmospherics that make this game so memorable. I've spent the past two days watching Necro's LP, and I have to say... wow. It's really an amazing expansion of the story. Though I'm not crazy how they rewrote Benny's backstory, I love how the other characters were really fleshed out (I'm especially fond of Ellen). All in all, I'm impressed.

And now I'm really tempted to draw Ted/Ellen fanart... in Arthurian costumes. Watching the LP makes me want to ship them like crazy.

I know, I'm weird.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 1:01 AM on September 22, 2012


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