March 24, 2023

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Before I Forget: How two strangers made one of 2020’s most moving games

They met when the story of Before I Forget begins, at a game jam in Bristol in 2016. Chella Ramanan and Claire Morwood didn’t know each other but, on a wave of intuition, decided to tackle the brief of ‘borders’ together. And whereas other people took a more physical approach, looking at things like Trump building a wall, or the Syrian refugee crisis, Ramanan and Morwood decided to look inwards.

They pulled on an idea Ramanan had scribbled down in a book at some unconnected time before the event. Simply, she wrote, ‘Woman with dementia’. It was an idea born out of a fascination with memories and what they are, and what happens when someone begins to lose them.

I’m a bit surprised by this. I expected the idea to originate from some kind of personal experience of dementia, in whatever form that may be. From what I’ve seen, it’s a condition that seems to leave an indelible mark on the lives it touches, something you need to see up close before you fully comprehend it, fully understand. If they hadn’t, how could they?

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