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Laser Guided Amnesia / Video Games

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Laser-Guided Amnesia in video games.

  • A lot of adventure games exhibit this, simply by not giving the player much information about the setting they're exploring.

  • Weiss in Agarest Senki 2 starts off with him killing a servant of a god and a god. He then gets flung out in the middle of nowhere and gets amnesia as a result. He also gets his level reduced from level 99 all the way back down to level 1. And then in a similar fashion as [PROTOTYPE], Weiss isn't really "Weiss" but instead Chaos aka the god Weiss supposedly killed in the opening! And the real Weiss himself who was the level 99 Weiss actually didn't kill Chaos, but instead got himself killed!
  • A justified version comes from Another Code, where the Trace has this as one of its functions as a memory control machine. The intent was for it to be used to help remove particularly traumatic memories from people like soldiers or victims.
  • Guillo from Baten Kaitos Origins remembers absolutely nothing from before meeting Sagi. And everyone, especially Guillo, were much better off that way.
  • Court Magician Sarria of Bullet Girls Phantasia suffers this, unable to remember anything about the powerful grimoire she's supposed to be guarding, and use to defeat the Jet Black Dragon and its Devyant Horde. She eventually remembers that she IS the grimoire—it was magically copied into her brain before the physical item was destroyed, to prevent the Devyants from getting their hands on it.
  • Happens three times (at least if you're after the good ending) in Cave Story. To injured robots. The third time, Curly actually forgets everything that happened since the last time she woke up with amnesia.
  • In the new thirteenth ending of Chrono Trigger DS, Anti-Hero Magus attempts to rescue his sister, who has fused with a monstrous entity, and fails. She sends him back to 1000 A.D. with no memory of who he was or where he came from. If this memory loss is meant to be a deliberate act of mercy, it fits this trope; if accidental, it's Easy Amnesia. Either way, it's strongly implied that the amnesiac Magus is Guile of Chrono Cross.
  • The Conduit: in the tie-in comic book "Orange Lights", The Men in Black use specially-designed orange lights to erase Gordon Well's knowledge of the truth behind the Drudge invasion before he can share it to his listeners.
  • Conviction (SRPG): When Jing is recruited, she has no memories of her past life, but inexplicably knows how to use magic and cook. In chapter 12A, she remembers that she's Emperor Abyss's daughter and tries to convince him to stand down.
  • In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, Maderas targeted and stole all of Etna's memories related to King Krichevskoy and her promise to him to blackmail her into working for him, while leaving enough information to know they're important to make sure she complies.
    • Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories combines this trope with Sealed Evil in a Can. Rozalin is the reincarnation of Overlord Zenon. She can remember this only when the seal holding these memories back is broken.
      • Zenon's curse also causes this to every resident of Veldime. They become demons, and start to forget the lives they had before transforming. A couple of the minor characters around town mention the potential Fridge Horror involved; perhaps it would be better to remain demons than to regain their conscience and have to remember what they did while they were monsters.
  • In Disney Princess: Enchanted Journey, your character can't remember anything other than her name and appearance.
  • Played for laughs (along with everything else) in Escape from Monkey Island, when you need to retrieve exposition from Monkey Island's resident hermit, Herman Toothrot. Basically, whenever hit in the head, Herman forgets everything prior to the specific concussion; moreover, in order to restore his memory, he need only be bonked again, but it has to be with the same item that hit him originally. Thus engages a sequence in which you have to learn the earliest object that he remembers waking up next to, find that object, and chuck it at his head. Of course, you can cause new bouts of amnesia by throwing the wrong thing. Eventually you find what clocked him when he was originally shipwrecked on the island and learn his whole backstory.
  • Fallen London has Lethean Tea-Leaves, which will reset your character's Ambition and let you pursue a different one. Normally you buy these with Fate, but if you pursue the "Light Fingers" Ambition, one of your major antagonists will give you a serving as your Last Chance to Quit, with the caveat that if you don't and he catches you fooling around in his business, you'll be Buried Alive. (He can't just kill you because you'd just get better.) If you don't take this offer, the leaves find another use when a kidnap victim has been brainwashed into loving her prison...
  • In Fallout 3, Dr. Zimmer's escaped android A-321 has undergone a memory wipe via circuit neuralizer, along with Magic Plastic Surgery courtesy of Dr. Pinkerton and renaming himself Harkness.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Almost all of the townspeople from Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon is afflicted with this, due to the influence of the Bell of Oblivion. Trying to remember even the simplest things becomes painful for them, and it's up to Chocobo to dive into their memories and recover the missing pieces.
    • In Final Fantasy IV, Yang washes up in the Kingdom of Baron having lost his memory and so becomes a member of the local guards. He fights the party when encountered and has his memory restored by being beaten, after which he rejoins the party.
    • In Final Fantasy VI, Terra begins the game with almost no memories of her past. Some reemerge quickly, while others do so only slowly. And traumatically.
    • In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud Strife has a rather severe case of amnesia, due to multiple traumatic events, that led to him wiping his friend Zack from his mind and replacing Zack with himself. Therefore, Cloud, who had been just a common grunt in Shinra's army who failed to make it into SOLDIER, believes he was a SOLDIER First Class and now is a mercenary in Midgar — something Zack told him he wanted to do. He also can't remember anything that happened after he (Zack) faced Sephiroth in one of Shinra's Mako Reactors.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII the main characters almost all have amnesia which has been caused by the use of guardian forces. With the exception of Irvine who had never used them, all of them had forgotten that they grew up together in an orphanage. Fate still causes them to find each other and work together.
    • Subverted in Final Fantasy X as Tidus does have a full recollection of all of his memories but keeps having to pretend to have amnesia caused by Sin's toxins as he has no knowledge about the world of Spira and his being from Zanarkand seems completely impossible to the residents. His skill as a blitzball player is what makes him go along with the party and find out what is going on. One could wonder why he never does develop actual amnesia though as he is exposed to Sin quite often during the game.
    • In Dissidia Final Fantasy it was heavily implied that the Warriors of both Cosmos and Chaos were under the effect of this trope. This was confirmed in the sequel, and given more explanation: the war between the gods is part of a "Groundhog Day" Loop that has been going on for several cycles. When a Warrior is summoned into the world, they are stripped of their memories as a result of Shinryu's Purification ritual. As the characters fight on, however, they gradually start to regain more memories about their homelands, though the rate varies from person to person. Should a character fall in battle, they undergo the same purification ritual, reviving them for the next cycle but once again robbing them of their memories.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, on the second playthrough, Ike regains a piece of his memory Sephiran erased from him to protect him and Mist. As a child, he witnessed his father Greil/Gawain kill his mother Elena when under the effect of the Fire Emblem itself, and went temporarily insane.
    • Fire Emblem: Awakening:
      • The Avatar is afflicted by this and s/he ends up taken in by Chrom and his Badass Crew, the Shepherds. With good reason: it turns out s/he is the Apocalypse Maiden of the game, whose future self (who was possessed by Grima, the fell dragon) was the cause of the amnesia in the first place when he/she tried to merge with The Avatar.
      • Similarly, at some point the Shepherds can recruit a character named Morgan who also suffers from this. He or she can only remember one person: his mother/her father... the aforementioned Avatar.
  • Flashback starts with the protagonist escaping from a base being chased by soldiers. He ends up crash-landing on Titan. He has no memories before that. He also has a holo-cube containing a message of him telling himself to find a friend of his in an underground city. After finding the friend, he plugs you into a machine that restores your memories (at least, up to the moment when they were recorded). They reveal that your character has discovered Aliens Among Us and has developed a device that can detect them. As a precaution, he had his memories recorded and gave the recording to a friend. The aliens kidnapped him, wiped his memory, and planned to kill him. The protagonist has managed to escape, starting the events of the game.
  • People who have recently died in Ghost Trick lose their memories, and recover them again with varying degrees of speed and depth. Sissel forgets not only his identity but the meaning of many basic concepts such as "prison cells" and "science", as well as how to read. Except he hasn't. Sissel can't remember them because he's even forgotten what he originally looked like... a cat, who never understood those concepts in the first place.
  • In the RPG Hype: The Time Quest, the Titular character is turned into stone and sent 200 years in the past. And when he wakes up, he doesn't even know what button to push to draw his sword!
  • In Ib, the dolls inflict this on Garry if he fails their little game, causing him to forget what he learned about Mary. It doesn't last though; Mary attempting to knife him jogs his memory.
    • Also, this seems to happen to any human who escapes the gallery. In any endings where Ib and/or Garry escape, they lose all memories of their journey. It's only in the Golden Ending, "Promise of Reunion", that they remember anything since Ib gave Garry her handkerchief previously and seeing it triggers their memories.
  • I Miss the Sunrise has Ros, who can remember everything except what happened before s/he was put in stasis.
    • Anyone can have this, actually, and it is a necessary side effect of immortality; Typelog has devised a system allowing people to replace unused memories with ones they currently need.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • In Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, the epilogue shows Ansem meeting Aqua in the realm of darkness, where they're both trapped indefinitely. The only problem is that Ansem had been sent here once before, and he found a simple way to escape just by summoning a portal. To justify keeping them trapped, the game has Ansem claim to have lost his memories—although he describes the events of the past few years to Aqua with no difficulty, and when they're rescued later, there's no indication that he had forgotten anything. So it seems this brand of amnesia only affects plot-relevant abilities.
    • In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Sora gradually loses some memories and has others rearranged. Recovering them leaves him in a coma for a year, causing him to forget everything that happened while his memories were scrambled. And for some reason, when Sora doesn't have his memories, everyone who knew him doesn't remember him, either! This is clarified in Kingdom Hearts II, where Kairi is barely able to remember that there was a second boy she hung out with. Selphie cannot even recall that there was ever somebody Kairi hung out with other than Riku.
    • Messed around with in the beginning of Kingdom Hearts II. When Sora, Donald, and Goofy forget their fighting skills, they have to relearn them all. Convenient, since the player's also learning a new fighting system. However, Sora's basic combo in Kingdom Hearts II is more precise and polished than in the original game, and according to Word of God reflects his growing skills as a swordsman, while Donald's magic is visually distinct from Sora's in Kingdom Hearts II, when they shared the same spells in Kingdom Hearts. On the other hand, Roxas in the prologue had his memory wiped by Namine so he would have a normal life before he had to reunite with Sora.
    • It was used in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days for Roxas. After growing close to another member of the organization, a girl named Xion, he discovers that Xion is actually an artificial replica of him that's been slowly eating away his life energy just by existing. The only way to stop it all is for one of them to die. Xion ends up committing suicide by best friend and gets erased from everyone's memory. In the end, Roxas is left with nothing but rage and a great sense of loss, without fully understanding why he's feeling these things.
    • Kingdom Hearts III reveals that Marluxia had lost all memories of his life before becoming a nobody. He regains the memories just as Sora kills him, leading him to thank Sora for helping him become whole again.
  • The protagonist of Legend of Kalevala doesn't remember anything important except that his wolf-like body is an odd piece of work. The main thing he has forgotten is that it's not his body; he's the Brain Uploading replica of a human scientist.
  • In LEGO Ninjago: Shadow of Ronin, Ronin's Obsidian Glaive steals the ninjas' memories and abilities, resetting them to the way they were back when they first met, and they must regain them by obtaining Obsidian Weapons of their own. Later, the ninjas are told that Ronin could've done worse than steal their memories; he could've brainwashed them as well.
  • In the town-building/life sim Littlewood, you're a fantasy hero looking to rebuild your home-town after defeating the Dark Wizard. However, your character has lost their memories of their adventure, and must get them back as they rebuild the town with the help of friends and allies they met along the way.
  • In Lost Odyssey, Gongora gives Jansen a device to use in case Kaim or Seth recover their memories. Not the first time Gongora ever used them, and Jansen throws it at a guard instead.
  • Luminous Plume: Victor has the unique aura ability to alter memories, which he used to help Emilia store a Calamity golem underneath the arena. He also used this ability to erase some of Raven's memories to impede the latter's progression as a warrior.
  • A minor example occurs in Mass Effect 2, where if you saved the rachni queen in the first game, you meet an asari on Illium. She says that the queen saved her life, but she can't remember where the rescue occurred because the queen removed the information from her mind: "It's not painful, but I simply don't remember."
  • In the end of Mega Man Battle Network 5, Lord Wily does it to his son Dr. Regal. If it weren't for the fact that the former is the series Big Bad, it was just a Shoot the Dog scenario, and an amnesiac Regal loses all of his grudge against humanity.
  • In the bad ending of Mega Man X5, this was inflicted on the title character by Dr. Light so the former will not have any memories of Maverick Zero. Furthermore, any information regarding Zero will be rejected by the same programming that erased X's memory in the first place.
  • Averted in Mega Man Zero, where Zero's so-called "hibernation sickness" affects motor skills and speech as well as his memory of his past life. In addition, some characters suspect that he may also suffer from anterograde amnesia. note 
  • Played with in MO: Astray, as MO, a newly created being, doesn't know anything at all. The Voice guiding him, on the other hand, lost some of her memories creating MO and all the failed attempts that became The Errors. This leaves her, and the player, knowing very little apart from that she needs MO to come help her somehow. Shards of her memories are the games primary collectible.
  • In NetHack, reading a scroll of amnesia or being successfully attacked by a mind flayer will wipe random parts of the character's memory including any levels which have been mapped. Also the names of items in the inventory will revert to their unknown name state.
  • Phantasy Star: Any CAST that comes back online after the Great Blank exhibits near-total amnesia. Bodies of CASTs that were terminated beforehand are unaffected, as Ogi demonstrates by taking over two separate bodies. As he explains, the head stores the majority of the actual memory and the entire personality of the CAST while the body holds sub-memory the CAST uses. The amnesia is literally laser-guided, as Mother Trinity employed Photon Noise in an attempt to kill the CASTs that fought against her. The memory damage forced the CASTs offline to prevent total system failure. Those on the moon were purged to a "man", since Mother could not use Photon Noise there without damaging herself. That's not to say she wasn't compromised already...
  • Averted in Phantom Dust. Characters affected by memory-destroying dust don't remember their names or anything about themselves, but data logs reveal they also often forget more common knowledge, such as the fact that plants need sunlight to grow.
  • Planescape: Torment both honors and averts this. At first, the nameless main character can't remember his skills, his identity, or anything about the world he lives in, except the language — a seeming aversion. But as the game progresses, it becomes clear that he isn't learning new skills and abilities, but remembering them; he frightens a hedge witch arguably frightens, since the "hedge witch" is Ravel in a different form by mastering years' worth of magic training in seconds.
  • This is a fairly common plotline in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon subseries; nearly all of your Player Characters have their memories wiped with the exceptions of their names and the fact that they were once human.
  • Alex Mercer of [PROTOTYPE] wakes up on an autopsy table after having apparently been shot to death. He has no memory of his own identity or why a black ops organization is trying to kill him. Much of the game revolves around his slowly uncovering the truth, revealing that the reason he doesn't have any memories is that he's not Alex Mercer; he's The Virus with a physical body created from Mercer's corpse.
  • In Psi-Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy the main character awakens with no memory of who he is, but he has powerful psychic abilities.
  • Quantum Replica: One of the first things Alpha asks is "Why can't I remember anything?". He is simply assured it'll come back to him.
  • Re:Kuroi: Michelle erases Kaito's memories along with most people's memories of Kaito in order to prevent Noelle from transforming into a monster. This is because magic is based on thoughts and emotions, and Kaito's magic is what caused Noelle to transform into a monster in the first place. It's implied Michelle did the same to Marie in order to reverse the latter's monster transformation, which explains why Kaito's restoration of her memories transformed her into a monster again.
  • In Remember Me, the Sensen brain implant technology allows for memories to be shared, altered, or deleted. In one of Nilin's memory remixes, she finds out that her father is responsible for creating the technology, using it to remove the memory of the car crash she and her mother were in so that she would never remember her mother blaming her for it.
  • In Second Sight, the main character awakens with no memory of his past life (other than his name), but in possession of powerful psychic abilities.
  • Rodi from the game Shining the Holy Ark suffers this after a cave-in knocks him on the head. It's used to explain away the fact he's forgotten all the skills he displayed in the fight where the player must attack him. Eventually his memories and skills come back as you play through the game.
  • The ending of Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves has Sly forgetting his identity after the final boss fight to his rival Inspector Carmelita Fox, with her telling him that he's actually her Interpol partner and the two escape the island. He later leaves clues for his teammates that he's faking this so that he can pursue a romantic relationship with Carmelita.
  • Played with in Snatcher, in which Gillian Seed and his wife, Jamie, remember nothing about who they are or where they come from, though they somehow find out their names and the fact that they are married.
  • Gig from Soul Nomad & the World Eaters has Laser-Guided Amnesia about everything before being Gig (which doesn't really bother him all that terribly, truth be told). He turns out to have once been the legitimate Master of Death of Haephnes, Vigilance. He was slain by Median and his soul was converted into his current form by Drazil, the Dimension Lord of a neighboring world, before being set loose on the world he was once responsible for.
  • StarCraft: Ghosts - humans with psychic potential trained as assassins - are frequently subjected to this in order to ensure their loyalty to the regime. The Confederacy originally used memory suppressing implants, but after Sarah Kerrigan's defection they switched to using memory wipes which are harder to undo. This carried over to the Dominion with all ghosts getting memory wiped upon their graduation and after any sensitive operation, until Emperor Valerian Mengsk made the procedure optional.
  • Star Wars Legends: Knights of the Old Republic has an important plotline revolving around amnesia. The amnesia is the player-created protagonist's, who is in fact a specific backstory character and not the generic grunt he/she seemed to be. Yes, there are some false memories involved.
    • It should also be mentioned that this is meta in a quite ridiculous degree, given that KotOR is a role-playing game. It manages to neatly explain how your apparently adult and very capable soldier/rogue/mage doesn't know how to put on clothes or open doors. While it's just teaching you how to work the game mechanics, it has an in-story explanation that your memories have been messed with perhaps a little too well.
  • In the Street Fighter series, Cammy's amnesia erases all memory of her being a doll of Bison, but doesn't erase her fighting skills. This, despite the fact that she wasn't born, but created simply to be a vessel of Bison's soul.
    • A similar, more recent Street Fighter example of an amnesiac is the French soldier Abel. Much like Cammy in the previous example, Abel is actually a cloned Shadaloo soldier and potential candidate for an alternate body container for Bison. Also parallel to Cammy, Abel is rescued from Shadaloo by a mercenary team.
  • A perhaps more realistic version appears in Super Robot Wars Advance. One of the protagonists starts off with almost complete amnesia — he can remember instinctive stuff drilled into him, but he can't remember what it's for. His personality is also completely different from his normal personality, and he's noted as "strange" by a lot of the other characters.
    • In Super Robot Wars Z3: Jigoku-hen, the characters from series not in the game have been forgotten about for reasons not entirely made clear. Every time someone tries to think of them (usually going "Wait...wasn't there other people we used to travel with") they immediately get a headache and then forget what triggered that thought. This includes the original Aquarion characters and even extends to characters in the game. When Kei from Orguss first shows up having come from a dimensional rift nobody can remember him, but after a headache they suddenly can, while Kei himself initially remembers the original Aquarion people, but after another headache suddenly can't remember who he was thinking about. Interestingly this includes all previous original protagonists, but not the villains so Aim Liard is the only Sphere holder they can remember, causing everyone to associate Sphere's with villains.
  • Averted in Tales of the Abyss: Whatever turned main character Luke fon Fabre into an Amnesiac Hero, after he was kidnapped at the age of ten, wiped him clean: He had to re-learn things such as walking and talking from scratch. The first Plot Twist, which is that he is a clone, also justifies it: since he was decanted during the kidnapping, of course he would not have memories or knowledge. The original he, who is still around, is perfectly functional, except for a serious case of Cloning Blues.
  • Team Fortress 2: "The Naked and the Dead" reveals that the Medic is easily capable of replacing the Demoman's missing eyeball, and has in fact done so on several occasions. The problem is that Demoman's eye socket is haunted, causing the eye to grow bat wings and attacks the rest of the team every Halloween.
    Demoman: Wait, why don't I remember any of this?
    Medic: Oh, that. I scooped that part of your brain out so you'd stop asking me.
    Demoman:' Aye, fair enough.
  • In Tears to Tiara 2, Hamil doesn't remember anything prior to seven years ago. The first thing he remembers is his father Hasdrubal being burnt alive in front of him and Izebel laughing like mad behind him. His memories were erased and stored in the Sword of Melqart to ensure that the secrets of the Barcids family does not fall into the hands of The Empire.
  • Played painfully straight in the campaign mode of Tekken 6, where protagonist Lars Alexandersson has his memory wiped by an explosion in the lab where he found Alisa and it only returns after he squares off against Heihachi Mishima, his father.
  • In Tokyo Xanadu, Asuka Hiiragi, one of the main characters, is able to use a spell called "Erase" from her phone that can wipe the memories of anyone who gets pulled into the Eclipse. Subverted with the main party who are Wielders, people who are able to fight the Greed, even if they haven't awakened to their soul device.
  • The main character of Vagrant Story, Ashley Riot, is a classic example in that while he's an amnesiac about events, he's still the perfect agent. He does start with only basic battle skills, though, and remembers them gradually over the course of the game. It does take a Dark-filled city of the dead to do it, though.
  • Lampshaded in Wild ARMs XF. Early in the game, Labrynthia believes that Clarissa must be Princess Alexia due to their striking resemblance. When Clarissa denies it, Labrynthia hypothesizes that she must have lost her memory in the accident that was supposed to have killed Alexia. Clarissa responds with this gem: "What? That only happens in stories! Real people don't lose their memories that easily!" Later on, it turns out that both Clarissa and Alexia were in an accident at age three, which lead to both of them losing all their memories and being mistaken for each other. So Clarissa really is Alexia with amnesia, just not the Alexia that Labrynthia knew.
  • Wild ARMs: Million Memories inflicts this on Rudy. The Guardians try to force Rudy confront his inner demons, only for him to go into shock and collapse when a certain old man comes into view, which is pretty bad since an a mysterious blue haired kid in a white robe tells him he has to recover his memories because he's going to betray everyone and destroy the world. Towards the end of the penultimate chapter, he remembers his grandfather. Unfortunately he ends up cornered by Siegfried moments later.
  • Neku in The World Ends with You starts out not remembering anything before him waking up on the Scramble Crossing. It later turns out that Neku's memories were his entry fee, but even then he still has some missing. This is later explained when Joshua, the resident Magnificent Bastard reveals that he'd 'held on' to some of Neku's memories — namely the missing ones, which showed Joshua killing Neku.
  • This trope can come up repeatedly in World of Warcraft:
    • King Varian Wrynn was kidnapped by the dragon Onyxia, disguised as Lady Prestor. She cast a ritual that split Varian into two people. The aggressive and willful Varian escaped but lost all of his memories. The week willed Varian was allowed some of his memories so Onyxia could use him as a Puppet King. A Split-Personality Merge restored Varian completely.
    • The Kyrian in the Shadowlands expansion must undergo a process to purge themselves of all memories of their past lives before they can ascend and perform the duties of a Psychopomp. Letting go of the past is necessary to ensure each Kyrian performs their duty without bias or judgment. A sect of Kyrian rebel against this practice and form the Forsworn to overthrow the Archon and abolish the process.
    • The Runecarver was a victim of memory erasure after the Jailer extracted his memories and forced him to construct wicked tools for him such as Frostmourne and the Helm of Domination.
  • In Xenogears, the Limiter causes an entire planet to forget whatever The Chessmaster Krelian wants them to forget, from history to the existence of entire continents. Naturally, the heroes move to undo this.
    • The protagonist himself has amnesia thanks to multiple personalities having memories of most of his life before he turned fifteen.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! BAM, you can't remember anything about yourself or your past, but you are highly skilled at BAM.