I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream DOS front cover
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I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream

The game’s story is set in a world where an evil computer named AM has destroyed all of humanity except for five people, whom he has been keeping alive and torturing for the past 109 years. Each survivor has a fatal flaw in their character, and in an attempt to crush their spirits, AM has constructed a metaphorical adventure for each that preys upon their weaknesses. To succeed in the game, the player must make choices to prove that humans are better than machines, because they have the ability to redeem themselves. Woven into the fabric of the story are ethical dilemmas dealing with issues such as insanity, rape, paranoia and genocide.

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I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream is a point-and-click adventure game based upon Harlan Ellison’s short story of the same title, developed by The Dreamers Guild, co-designed by Ellison and published by Cyberdreams in 1995. Play I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream online!

I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream game description

The game is based on a collection of short stories by Harlan Ellison. After the Cold War, the computers of the USA, Russia and China take over the world and wipe out almost the entire human race. The Allied Mastercomputer (called AM) holds the last five humans as prisoners to torture them. Any of them has to face his or her past in a virtual adventure AM has designed for them. There they encounter their fears and weaknesses.

One day, the American supercomputer, better known as the Allied Mastercomputer, gains sentience and absorbs the Russian and Chinese supercomputers into itself, and redefines itself as simply AM (I think, therefore I am). Due to its immense hatred for humanity, stemming from the logistical limits set onto him by programmers, AM uses its abilities to kill off the population of the world. However, AM refrains from killing five people (four men and one woman) in order to bring them to the center of the earth and torture them. With the aid of research carried out by one of the five remaining humans, AM is able to extend their lifespans indefinitely as well as alter their bodies and minds to his liking.

After 109 years of torture and humiliation, the five victims stand before a pillar etched with a burning message of hate. AM tells them that he now has a new game for them to play. AM has devised a quest for each of the five, an adventure of “speared eyeballs and dripping guts and the smell of rotting gardenias.” Each character is subjected to a personalized psychodrama, designed by AM to play into their greatest fears and personal failings, and occupied by a host of different characters. Some of these are clearly AM in disguise, some are AM’s submerged personalities, others seem very much like people from the captives’ past.

The scenes include an iron zeppelin powered by small animals, an Egyptian pyramid housing gutted, sparking machinery, a medieval castle occupied by witches, a jungle inhabited by a small tribe, and a concentration camp where doctors conduct medical experiments. However, each character eventually prevails over AM’s tortures by finding ways to overcome their fatal flaws and forgive themselves over their own past misdeeds, thanks to the interference of the Russian and Chinese supercomputers who appear as guiding characters and allow their stories to have an open ending.

The player can choose which of the protagonists he wants to be but in fact he has to complete all of the six stories in order to solve the game. There are different ways of completing the game depending on the humanity the player shows.

The voiceacting features Harlan Ellison as AM.

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