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Memody: Sindrel Song – A lore-rich music game made by the creator of the Mardek series during his brain cancer treatment – is coming to Kartridge on August 28th!

Solo games developer Alora Fane (Tobias Cornwall) today announced that this melodic memory game – which he developed while recovering from major surgery and radiotherapy to treat brain cancer – will be released on the 28th of August 2019 on Kongregate’s platform. In an alien world with dense lore, the sindrel, Memody, awakens into life. She has six days to learn – by memorising and mimicking the musical melodies of new friends – whether life is worth living, despite the persistent dark critic in her head. Unlike most music games, where the player simply reacts in time with a rhythm, here the player must remember the melody and play it back accurately using their own notes. Beyond the game, the ‘active listening’ this trains has benefits in learning any information and having meaningful, mutual conversations with other people.

“I was diagnosed with brain cancer and underwent a long, complex operation to remove the bulk of the tumour, plus a month of radiotherapy to treat what was left of it”, said Tobias. “While recovering, I was told that the damage to my brain might permanently impair my memory; plus I was unable to leave the house for a long time. I wanted to use my down time well, and I’d learned that exercising memory can help reduce or even prevent deficits, so I made this game. I’ve always liked music, but music games I’ve played typically focus on rhythm, and the ‘notes’ you play don’t match what you hear. I’ve also struggled for years with mental illness – depression and anxiety – and in researching ways to overcome them, I’ve learned how many people struggle with dark voices in their heads, and with finding meaning in their lives. Many people feel unheard, and would benefit so much from having others truly listen to them, or from deeply listening to others.”

“I wanted to combine these different inspirations into a game that might encourage people to attentively listen, and to demonstrate their understanding in the form of music where the sound always matches the keys you’ve pressed. Players control Memody, who visits six other sindrels in sequence. Each has their own personal song, of increasing complexity, encapsulating their life philosophies. This new friend will play a few notes on their instrument – helpful visuals accompany the sounds – which the player must remember then repeat using six keys corresponding to notes in one of two musical scales: light (taken from Bb Mixolydian) and dark (G# Phrygian). Each song consists of several of these segments, some of which are played as duets. Making mistakes interrupts the song until the correct melody is played. Multiple difficulties mean that casual players can keep attempting each segment until they get it right, while players who want a challenge would have to restart the song if they fail too many times. In this challenge mode, completion percentage is tracked on a graph, and the threat of failure produces quite a rush of adrenaline!

Memody has just awakened into life, fully formed, so everything is new to her. Other sindrels possess innate knowledge of the world thanks to their ‘daemon’, a helpful voice in their head, though Memody’s daemon is unusually negative and critical. Sindrels live for just six days before their world is engulfed by a fatal winter, though the sindrels that Memody meets have a way to transcend this natural death. This ‘immortality’ is offered to Memody, but the pain her dark daemon causes her makes her wonder whether to take it. By talking with the others, who’ve lived beyond their natural limits, she learns why they chose life. Perhaps their words will help her find her purpose and choose to extend her light too, despite the darkness.

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