The Top 10 Amnesias

by Joe Juba on Dec 21, 2012 at 09:00 AM

Amnesia is a real condition, but the degree to which it occurs in video games is hilariously disproportionate to reality. Though amnesia is often used as a story crutch, sometimes its implementation creates impressive and memorable moments. Here are our favorites.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead! 

10. Phoenix Wright
(Ace Attorney: Justice For All)

Thinks he is: A prominent defense attorney in the middle of an important trial.
What he forgot: Everything about how to be a lawyer! This temporary case of amnesia means that players can go through the tutorial with a convenient story excuse for why Phoenix needs the basics of the courtroom explained to him.

9. Dust
(Dust: An Elysian Tail)

Thinks he is: Uncertain. Dust knows that he’s lost his memories, but he seems more concerned with slashing away at bad guys anyway.
What he forgot:  Dust is actually the amalgamation of two different souls, one good and one evil. Though he is a unique being, his personality is the product of the struggle between his two halves.

8. Raiden
(Metal Gear Solid 2)

Thinks he is: A superior soldier trained primarily through virtual reality. With a clingy girlfriend.
What he forgot: Though a combination of willful suppression and (what else?) nanomachines, Raiden forgot his history as a child soldier under the tutelage of Solidus. He lived amid war since age six, and was a capable killer by age 10. You can’t really blame him for blocking that out.

7. Cammy
(Super Street Fighter II)

Thinks she is: A member of the Delta Red military force with an unknown past.
What she forgot: She is the female clone of M. Bison, trained to be an elite assassin. She turned against her creator and freed his other brainwashed female assassins, but lost her memory in the process.

6. Jack

Thinks he is: A regular dude who just happened to be in a plane crash and stumbled into Rapture.
What he forgot:  He was raised in Rapture as an experiment, then sent to the surface as a sleeper agent – a contingency plan for Frank Fontaine. Artificially aged and called back to Rapture, Jack is a weapon Fontaine used to strike at Andrew Ryan.

5. Revan
(Knights of the Old Republic)

Thinks he/she is: A loyal follower of the Republic who wants to help the Jedi and not conquer the galaxy in the name of the Sith.
What he/she forgot: In a climactic battle years ago, Revan was defeated by the Jedi – but instead of being killed, Revan’s shattered identity was reassembled using the Force. The once-mighty Sith Lord became a regular person with no special ambition until the events of the game start to unfold.

4. Cloud 
(Final Fantasy VII)

Thinks he is: An elite member of SOLDIER, a unit of unusually gifted warriors.
What he forgot: Thanks to some crazy experiments, Cloud doesn’t know that he was actually kind of a wiener. His friend Zack was really the one who was a member of SOLDIER and did all of the cool stuff. But Zack died, so Cloud basically just stole his identity. 

3. Kaim
(Lost Odyssey)

Thinks he is: An immortal who has lived for one thousand years…but can’t seem to remember most of it.
What he forgot: Kaim is an observer from a parallel dimension where time passes differently. His memories were deliberately erased by Gongora, another immortal, in order to keep Kaim and others from interfering with his evil plan.

2. Daniel
(Amnesia: The Dark Descent) 

Thinks he is: WHO CARES? RUN RUN RUN!
What he forgot: After torturing and murdering dozens of innocents – not to mention aiding an evil extra-dimensional being – Daniel wiped his own memory give himself a fresh start in hopes of atoning for his deeds.

1. The Nameless One
(Planescape: Torment)

Thinks he is:Someone who just woke up in a mortuary.
What he forgot: The Nameless One has died thousands of times, and after every death he loses all awareness of previous incarnations. He was originally a human who committed an act so terrible that he sought immortality in order to spend eternity atoning – though the nature of original crime is no longer known.