The 90s was the best decade for the gaming industry. With so many games to play and so many levels to reach, the decade was full of innovation and served as the dawn of modern-day gaming.
Arcade gaming, survival horror, stealth games, and point and click games were some of the most exciting gaming genres that came out in the mid-90s. Point-and-click games were the most straightforward game to play and didn’t involve competing with other players. This gaming genre was mostly centered around kids because games like The Secret of Monkey Island and Full Throttle were colorful and gave an immersive experience without showing anything that might scare the young players. However, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream had other plans for the gaming community.
In the game, the players were given such hard choices to make that can shake any adult to his/her core. The violent imagery and a saddened story, which was inspired by the short story by American writer Harlan Ellison with the same name, I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream served as a catalyst between the modern horror games and the horror narrative, which is still being used in modern survival horror games like Resident Evil, The Evil Within two and the classic cult Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines.
I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream revolves around a dystopian post-apocalyptic world where the Allied Master computer (or AM) has taken over the world’s normal functioning. The supercomputer becomes aware of itself and, out of hatred, performs a mass genocide on humanity, killing almost everyone on the planet. Out of the same hatred, it captures the last five human beings and torments their emotions, keeps them starving with hunger, and toys with their life by keeping a system that stops them from committing suicide.
The players play as one of the five remaining humans, where AM torments memories and inflicts pain on the player’s choices. The AM continues to drive players into the corner by keeping them hungry for days, months, and years.
The players have to make complicated choices out of desperation, which even comes fatal later in the video game. AM reminds them of their mistakes and why they are here and brainwash them into believing that they are the lowest of the low. The main gameplay starts when one of the five players diverts everyone’s attention to food, which none have access to for many months.
AM then tries his hand at breaking their bond by releasing one human to find the food. Players have to click on different places to find the doors and exits to find food for their pals. In the journey, players have to make several important decisions that develop each player’s narrative. If something goes wrong, all the five humans suffer in silence because they have nobody but themselves in this mind puzzling video game.
Unlike the modern point and click games like P.T, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and cult classic Outlast, I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream drives its horror element from psychological horror, which is an experimental type of horror and most of the game companies resist trying psychological horror in their video games.