Dwarf Fortress is a game known for being famously complex, sometimes inscrutable, and rife for black comedy. An upcoming update for the massive labor of love will allow the dwarves to remember events that have happened to them.
In Dwarf Fortress, players manage a small group and their supplies as they simply try to survive. As the number of dwarves and the complexity of their home grows, they must face challenges such as invasions, a lack of supplies, and the eccentricities of dwarven society.
On his website for Dwarf Fortress, Tam Adams, the creator of the game, describes how this will work:
“…the current system allows for eight short-term memories, which are the emotion+event combinations that have had the highest positive or negative impact on the dwarf over the last year (on a rolling basis). Every so often a dwarf can “remember/relive/dwell upon” the memory, if their personality leans toward the given emotion (positive or negative). and receive an additional stress change. Once a year passes, a short-term memory can be saved to one of eight long-term memory slots (if it is stronger than the current memories), or else it is forgotten. Long-term memories periodically return to affect the dwarf forever, until they are overwritten.”
Tam Adams also laid out plans to use the memory system to use long-term memories to influence potential changes to a dwarf’s personality and life goals. His initial testing with the memory system in a more short-term environment showed some definitive results, and the dark humor that is just so common in the world of Dwarf Fortress:
“Dropping a boulder on somebody and then leaving my dwarves unattended outside with nothing to do for a year resulted in tantrums, depression and oblivious wandering, so it seems to be working. When the first long-term memories were stored for one dwarf, it was horror at seeing their lover die, grief at their lover being dead, and fright at being haunted by their dead lover, with proper impact values not likely to be overwritten any time soon, certainly not by the old culprits of seeing nice furniture and completing jobs, though those still decrease stress a little day-to-day when experienced and are thus good to have in a dwarf’s life. (I wasn’t aware of their relationship status when the boulder fell; that’s just how it turned out, sadly.)