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Review: Before I Forget – A Poignant Portrayal Of Dementia

Full of colour and emotion.

It’s not often that a game with a high profile tackles a particularly difficult and emotive illness, though when they get it right they’re rightly lauded for bringing these topics into the gaming medium. Before I Forget earned attention and headlines – with some notable award nominations – for its portrayal of dementia, and we spoke to the developers to learn more. Having experienced the game on Nintendo Switch it’s easy to understand the praise; Before I Forget approaches a delicate and often personal subject with due care and sensitivity. As a narrative experience it hits its marks, but is also clearly not a game that will appeal to all.

It’s worth starting with a brief introduction to dementia as an illness, as it is the driver here for the narrative and game design. It’s a disease most commonly associated with old age, though early onset dementia is becoming more known among younger sufferers. Its symptoms can be confusing and frightening, both for the victim and their loved ones; elements of paranoia and hallucinations can occur, in some cases. A common thread is what it does to a sufferer’s memory – small details and snippets of memories from decades ago can be clear as day while current circumstances, tasks and routines can often be forgotten.

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