As Amnesia: The Dark Descent turns 10, let’s appreciate its hissing cockroaches

A horror game with an unabashed dedication to

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But ultimately, Amnesia’s Prussian castle is full of Madagascar hissing cockroaches because it’s a simple, elegant way to creep out players just a little more.

Frictional Games’ Amnesia is a Lovecraftian tale that puts players at the mercy of enemies they can’t fight in a world full of vivid, eerie grotesquerie.

The game is built around unnerving cosmic horror, but its period setting and Lovecraft-inspired fantasy premise don’t hit as close to home as Soma — which grants a horrifying fate to a modern-day protagonist and a hauntingly grim future for everyone.

That spring, after Frictional announced a new Amnesia game for release in late 2020, I asked the studio’s creative director, Thomas Grip, this question.

It’s full of familiar tricks that nonetheless make you jump constantly: snarling creatures that appear at a moment’s notice, a sanity system that torments you with phantom noises, and haunted house touches like banging doors and howling winds.

Amnesia helped establish a whole subgenre of super-vulnerable survival horror, and it has several worthy successors, including Resident Evil VII and Frictional’s own Soma.

Modding a game like Amnesia puts its horror elements in a very different light.

I spent a lot of my pre-pandemic free time writing fiction and text games, but stuck in my Brooklyn apartment, where hospitals were beginning to fill up and sirens screamed at all hours, I couldn’t keep a line of thought steady for long enough.

In Amnesia, a giant hissing roach was my go-to trick for making even the most nonsensically inhospitable architecture feel lived-in.

This fact has been noted with some confusion by Amnesia fans. “Did Alexander just happen to go on a trip to Madagascar, look at these and say ‘Aw, hell yes!

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