Losing one’s memory is a scary thought. Forgetting tiny things, like what you may have done the day before, where you placed some object in your house, is a minor annoyance. Forgetting things like the loss of a loved one, your own marriage, or any major events can be devastating. I’ve seen VNs that tackle memory loss before, but it is always done in a younger character, and has almost become something of a trope. It is subject matter that I have yet to see a serious take on; a take that shows the effects of memory loss in a realistic manner. That is what Forgotten, Not Lost aims to do. Forgotten, Not Lost opens with our main character, an old farmer, being woken up his wife. Unfortunately, he doesn’t recognize her right away. This is common over the course of the this short kinetic VN. The farmer has to be constantly reminded by his wife regarding details in their life. These aren’t just little details either, but major, life altering events. For example, he has to be reminded that his cow died the previous year, and that their daughter, Mirabelle, died while still a child. Its rather sad to think about; constantly being reminded and having to relive the death of a loved one, or a valuable pet. However, Madalene, our main character’s wife, reminds him all the same. It is bittersweet to watch unfold. Eventually, Madalene has to leave the house to run an errand. She leaves instructions for her husband before leaving, and has notes around the house to help him remember where things are.
Feeling tired, after she leaves, the old farmer makes some tea, and drifts off to sleep. He is woken up by knocking at his door, and opens it to find a young woman and a child, dressed in a tomato costume, standing in the doorway. They beg him for a place to stay, claiming to be lost. The young woman introduces herself as Madeline, and the child, as Maribel. The two quickly make themselves at home, as the old farmer explains that his wife is away, but will be excited to have guests.
Through the course of his guests stay, the old farmer thinks back on his life, remembering many things he feels like he forgot. His two guests are enthralled by his many tales, listening intently, and asking questions to learn more. Through this, we learn how the farmer met his wife, what happened to his child, what it was like growing up, and more details about his past. He always ends up talking about his wife though, and as time passes, he grows more worried about her, as he feels she ought to be back home by now. The writing in Forgotten, Not Lost does a great job of displaying the old farmer’s confusion when he doesn’t remember something. The entire VN is told from his perspective, so as a reader, it becomes frustrating at times to see him forget things that he was just reminded about. This frustration is a real frustration for those who care for, and live with people with dementia and memory loss. It is a sad frustration, as opposed to anger. The story never actually goes anywhere with its setting, choosing to instead remain focused on the old farmer. That turned out to be a good choice, as any diversion from the main character’s struggle with dementia would have lessened the emotional impact of the story. That said, a believable world is set up for the story to take place in, and characters will casually mention politics, and cultural events in the world. While the characters don’t focus on it, it makes their conversations feel more real, and in no way distracts the reader from the story at hand.
Forgotten, Not Lost is a short VN, clocking in at just about an hour. Luckily, it is priced accordingly, and with good art, and extremely fitting music, the $1.99 price of entry is well worth it for anyone looking for a short, touching VN. It does what few VNs manage to do, by tackling a serious health, and psychological issue, in a very real, and relatable way. If you have been affected by someone suffering from dementia, this VN will likely resonate with you in a way different from most VNs. I hope this VN raises more awareness for dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, and if it even spurs one person to donate to a foundation researching a cure, then it is worth it.
You can purchase Forgotten, Not Lost here!
A review key was provided by the developer.
+ Realistic look at dementia
+ Tight, focused story
- Very short, can be completed in under an hour
- Predictable ending