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Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a first-person indie horror game in which the player assumes the role of Daniel, a British man who awakens trapped inside a castle missing his memory, and must find clues by solving a variety of puzzles.
During the course of the game, the player hunts down a mysterious man named Alexander and encounters several monsters along the way. Unlike most horror games, the player is not given any weapons with which to defend himself except for thrown objects that can only stun enemies momentarily. The screen will blur and distort if the player has been standing in the darkness for a prolonged period of time or after witnessing a disturbing event, indicating that they are going insane. A particularly notable part of the game, often cited by players as one of the scariest moments, is referred to as “the water part.” During the scene, invisible monsters chase the player through a series of chambers filled with water. The only way to avoid being attacked by them is to stand on boxes or other floating objects and make your way towards the exit.
Amnesia was developed by the independent video game company Frictional Games, and released as a download on September 8th, 2010. It was inspired by the previous Frictional Games series Penumbra, a horror game with similar physics and atmosphere. On September 9th, 2011, several Frictional Games employees posted an “ask me anything” (AMA) thread to Reddit. The post reached the front page, and managed to receive 5,337 up votes as of October 7th, 2011.
The gaming blog Rock, Paper Shotgun reviewed the game on September 7th, 2010, and claimed that “Amnesia is the most successfully frightening game to have been made.” It has received positive reviews from Adventure Gamers, Eurogamer, Game Informer, IGN, PC Gamer and Igromania. A year after the game’s release, the official Frictional Games blog revealed that the game had sold nearly 350,000 units. Numerous Facebook fan pages exist including the “Becoming aquaphobic after playing Amnesia: The Dark Descent” , “Only real men can finish Amnesia the Dark Descent” , and “Laudanum."
The game has inspired several “let’s play” play throughs and reaction videos that typically feature a player becoming visibly or audibly frightened while playing the game. One of the most notable videos was uploaded by YouTuber “DILDOBITCH” that has since been removed for violations of YouTubes terms of service. The video was posted to Reddit on November 24th, 2010, and has received 1,926 up votes as of October 7th, 2011. A catchphrase was spawned from a part of the video where the player walks down a series of stairs saying “Oh, shit! I have a bag of Milky Ways!” before spotting a monster and screaming in terror. This can be found at 4:24 in a mirror of the original video below:
Fan Made Content
Many mods or custom stories have been made for the game which can be found on the Frictional Games forum. The website deviantART has several pages worth of fanart and a Memegenerator page has been made featuring the enemy the Gatherer, also known as “Mr. Face.”
Search queries for “amnesia dark descent” picked up in September of 2010, the same month the game was released.
Frictional Games – In the Games of Madness: Birth of a Monster. Part 1