773 Memory Lock

by Foster Douglas on February 12, 2017



This is an experimental mechanic where the game takes into account the amount of time you’ve spent in an area, what you’ve done there, who you’ve talked to and what they’ve said, events, and changes, manifested into a visual “map” that more close simulates how the brain stores “data,” and how we “access” that “data.”

(Enough with the quotes, we’ll just go forward with the idea that we are talking about the brain as a computer.)

We’ll use a 2D “metroidvania”-style game as an example here, just because it’s a game that often focuses heavily on maps. Maybe because it’s 2D and maps are 2D, they feel somewhat linked.


  • If there’s a screen that you only spent a few seconds at, or only visited once, it begins to fade from your map quickly after being there.
  • Conversely, if there’s a screen you’ve visited often throughout the game, each time you come back to it, your map represents it in a more and more detailed way
  • If there’s an extremely memorable event (a boss, a beautiful or significant thing, etc) or scene on a specific screen, that room would be locked in your memory for the rest of the game
  • Maybe the player could spend some resource to really focus and look at a certain object, portion, or entire screen of the game, which would also lock it into memory.
  • If you “die” in a room, maybe your memory of it is altered in some way
  • Certain items or abilities would distort your memory of a room, change how you remember it vs. how it is in reality, or even moving where you thought it was to a different spot on the map

The system may have to based around the number of screens you’ve been to overall, for relativity, instead of it being based on real “time” passing. This would prevent people from accidentally leaving the game on and then the map forgetting everything it knew over time, or prevent the player from camping in a single room to have it more strongly represented on the map.

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