The cult horror adventure I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream set new, disturbing standards when it was first released in 1995. The game, labelled not just “disturbing” but “ethically challenging”, was based on Harlan Ellison’s story of the same name – and just in case you missed it 18 years ago, it’s available now on PC.
The original short story is, put simply, an allegory of Hell. Humanity has been destroyed, except for five humans who are kept alive, and tortured by an all-powerful computer, AM. Each survivor, of course, has one flaw to their character, and AM has determined a way to focus on those weaknesses. In the game, your task is simple: Make choices, as each character, in an effort to prove that humans are superior to machines (we are able to redeem ourselves). Those choices are more challenging than you might expect, touching on topics like suicide, the Holocaust, and sexual violence.
Unlike many authors, Ellison didn’t just endorse the adaptation of his psychological thriller. Instead, he embraced it as a new way of approaching the story, and set about creating a point-and-click adventure designed to “enrich” players. To maintain this sense of authenticity, Ellison even acted out the haunting voice parts for the character of computer AM.
This new release is thanks to the team at GOG.com, “the DRM-free home to the immortal PC classics” – you can grab it now for just US$5.99.