Remember Mary is my latest game; made it for the “I can’t write but want to tell a story” jam. The jam lasted 17 days and is intended to offer a casual environment for people to produce a narrative driven game. This is a game genre I’ve never explored before since, like the jam says, I can’t write. Or at least, I wouldn’t have felt very comfortable making a story-heavy game without being prompted by this jam.

Concept

In general, my intention with the story was that if you played the game, you would view the whole experience in a new way. Remember Mary features multiple endings, with each one adding a little bit of back story to help you understand the ideas behind it. The first ending will probably seem very strange in isolation, but ending two offers an explanation and ending three gives you some back story.

I’m going to have to go thin on the details of the actual content of the game, because I don’t want to spoil the story istelf. However, I will say that it’s heavily influenced by me listening to an audiobook on Philosophy recently and also a certain 18th century advocate for women’s rights.

If you would like to read a more in-depth write up of the influences and ideas behind the game, feel free to visit the itch.io page and read the “I love reading descriptions, please tell me more” section.

Design

The art direction of the game was influenced by another jam by the same host (Charlmes), the “I can’t draw but want to make a game #2” jam. I saw this game as an opportunity to try out a new art style, and I decided to go for a squiggle-vision sort of style, where each drawing has three frames of animation that are looped through. Artwork is by far the most time consuming part of development for me, so I was looking for a way of quickly throwing together animations without much talent or effort.

The design of the game itself features three areas, each with three simple puzzles to get through. There are also two routes through each area; a “good” route and a “bad” route. The “bad” route is much quicker and easier to complete, but the moral implications are intended to be a barrier to stop first-time players taking that route.

Whichever choice you make will affect the ending, with three endings available. It also affects the dialogue between protagonist and NPCs or objects. Everything you can interact with has 3+ variations on dialogue. This means that the order in which you do things also has an effect on what dialogue you will see. In total, I believe seven playthroughs would be required to see all available dialogue.

Sound design

I wasn’t involved in the sounds or music production of this project, that was handled by my buddy @JustWallGames, and he couldn’t have done a better job. I asked if he could do some quiet, free-form piano or guitar music and that’s what I got. The music adds a huge amount to the atmosphere of the game.

I was also sent several short piano motifs for whenever the player performs certain actions or moves between rooms.

There are very few sounds other than this, only about three. In spite of this, the game doesn’t really feel like it is missing anything sound-wise.

Conclusion

The final result of the game was something I’m genuinely really happy with, so I’m very thankful for this jam being hosted. The whole thing was a big step out my usual comfort zone, as my other games aren’t really known for their compelling writing.

This is the first time I’ve had a game featured by itch.io as well (although Ben Was Assimilated was featured at the same time), so it got a nice boost in plays from that!

The game is available to play in browser (including mobile devices) or on Windows, Linux or as a GMS2 project file.

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