Memory of Important Events

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The ability of agents in games to show that they can recollect important events that took place during gameplay.

The people and other entities depicted as conscious beings in games need to have certain abilities to be perceived as social believable. One of these is being able to show that they can recall and emotionally respond to events that took place during gameplay. Those that can do this can be said to have a Memory of Important Events.


The leaders in the later editions of the Civilization series remembers how players react to offers and demands, e.g. fighting the same enemy and not accepting a request to stop trading with another nation’s enemies. Although not characters per se, countries in the Europa Universalis series modify their relation to each other based upon many different types of events, e.g. honoring calls to war by allied, liberating occupied provinces, incorporating vassals, and breaking royal marriages. Due to the long time scale of the games the modifiers decrease over time with different rates depending on how transient they are, but some (like creating a new countries as part of a peace treaty) can last up to a century.

UFO Afterlight shows a weak example of Memory of Important Events in that the game keeps track of which characters took part in a few important events such as opening a teleportation portal.

Using the pattern

Memory of Important Events is a pattern applied to Non-Player Characters that are to act as Agents. It can easily be provided by Game Masters but Algorithmic Agents do need algorithms related to noticing which events are important, remembering them, and being able to recollect and react to them at appropriate times. This means that while this pattern modulates Algorithmic Agents it is also implemented through the pattern Algorithmic Agents.

While Cut Scenes may make Agents act out the remembering of events, either the remembering needs to be very general or the events remembers also need to be provided through Cut Scenes. In addition, players are rather likely to see the Cut Scenes as something told by the game rather than the Agents recollecting events.

Diegetic Aspects

Memory of Important Events can through supporting Own Agenda and Sense of Self help games have Thematic Consistency.


Memory of Important Events can create the appearance of both Own Agenda and Sense of Self for Agents. It can also modulate Awareness of Surroundings in that the Agents can show knowledge of what has happened in the environment.


Can Instantiate

Own Agenda, Sense of Self

Can Modulate

Agents, Algorithmic Agents, Awareness of Surroundings, Non-Player Characters

Can Be Instantiated By

Algorithmic Agents, Game Masters

Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



An updated version of the pattern Memory of Important Events that was first identified in the paper Gameplay Design Patterns for Believable Non-Player Characters[1].


  1. Lankoski, P. & Björk, S. (2007) Gameplay Design Patterns for Social Networks and Conflicts. Proceedings of GDTW 2007.