Cross-platform play is the ability to allow different gaming platforms to share the same online servers in a game, allowing players to join regardless of the platform they own. Since the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2, there have been online video games that support cross-play. Listed here is an incomplete list of games that support cross-play with their consoles, computers, mobile, and handheld game consoles note when using.
I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream is a 1995 point-and-click adventure game developed by Cyberdreams and The Dreamers Guild, co-designed by Harlan Ellison, published by Cyberdreams and distributed by MGM Interactive. The game is based on Ellison's short story of the same title. It takes place in a dystopian world where a mastermind artificial intelligence named "AM" has destroyed all of humanity except for five people, whom he has been keeping alive and torturing for the past 109 years by constructing metaphorical adventures based on each character's fatal flaws. The player interacts with the game by making decisions through ethical dilemmas that deal with issues such as insanity, rape, paranoia, and genocide.
Ellison wrote the 130-page script treatment himself alongside David Sears, who decided to divide each character's story with their own narrative. Producer David Mullich supervised The Dreamers Guild's work on the game's programming, art, and sound effects; he commissioned film composer John Ottman to make the soundtrack. The game was released on October 31, 1995 and was a commercial failure, though it received critical praise. Its French and German releases were censored due to Nazi themes and the game was restricted for players under the age of 18.
I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream won an award for "Best Game Adapted from Linear Media" from the Computer Game Developers Conference. Computer Gaming World gave the game an award for "Adventure Game of the Year", listed it as #134 on their "150 Games of All Time" and named it one of the "Best 15 Sleepers of All Time". In 2011, Adventure Gamers named it the "69th-best adventure game ever released".
The game uses the S.A.G.A. game engine created by game developer The Dreamers Guild. Players participate in each adventure through a screen that is divided into five sections. The action window is the largest part of the screen and is where the player directs the main characters through their adventures. It shows the full figure of the main character being played as well as that character's immediate environment. To locate objects of interest, the player moves the crosshairs through the action window. The name of any object that the player can interact with appears in the sentence line. The sentence line is directly beneath the action window.
The premise of the game is that the three superpowers, Russia, China, and the United States, have each secretly constructed a vast subterranean complex of computers to wage a global war too complex for human brains to oversee. One day, the American supercomputer, better known as the Allied Mastercomputer, gains sentience and absorbs the Russian and Chinese supercomputers into itself and redefines itself as simply AM (Cogito ergo sum; I think, therefore I am). Due to its immense hatred for humanity, stemming from the logistical limits set onto him by programmers, AM uses its abilities to kill off the population of the world. However, AM refrains from killing five people (four men and one woman) in order to bring them to the center of the earth and torture them. With the aid of research carried out by one of the five remaining humans, AM is able to extend their lifespans indefinitely as well as alter their bodies and minds to his liking.
After 109 years of torture and humiliation, the five victims stand before a pillar etched with a burning message of hate. AM tells them that he has a new game for them to play. AM has devised a quest for each of the five, an adventure of "speared eyeballs and dripping guts and the smell of rotting gardenias". Each character is subjected to a personalized psychodrama, designed by AM to play into their greatest fears and personal failings, and occupied by a host of different characters. Some of these are AM in disguise, some are AM's submerged personalities, others seem very much like people from the captives' past. The scenes include an iron zeppelin powered by small animals, an Egyptian pyramid housing gutted, sparking machinery, a medieval castle occupied by witches, a jungle inhabited by a small tribe, and a concentration camp where doctors conduct medical experiments. However, each character eventually prevails over AM's tortures by finding ways to overcome their fatal flaws, confront their past actions and redeem themselves, thanks to the interference of the Russian and Chinese supercomputers who appear as guiding characters and allow their stories to have an open ending.
The characters have all been slightly altered from their original portrayals in the short story. The plot itself is not a direct adaptation but instead focuses on the individual characters' psychodramas which are the scenarios that make up the game. Notably, none of the characters interact with one another and eventually only one of them will be able to defeat AM.
In a 2012 issue of Game Informer, Harlan Ellison, David Sears and David Mullich discussed the process that went into developing the game as well as the character developments and other changes that were made from the original story. For example, in writing the script for Ellen's confrontation with her rapist, Mullich channeled the memory he had of his infant son going through chemotherapy, being with him at the hospital and sharing a room with other young cancer patients. In discussing the characters changes made to Benny, Mullich said, "Looking back, I think it might have been a lost opportunity to write a story about someone struggling with the challenges of being homosexual." Although Sears recalls that "gay angle" was in their initial script, but might have subsequently been a dropped thread.
Cyberdreams brought in writer David Sears to collaborate with Harlan Ellison. Sears, formerly a writer and assistant editor for Compute! magazine, had never before worked on a video game. Though a long-time fan of Ellison and his work, Sears was initially nervous and somewhat skeptical at his assignment: "...they said, 'No, it's I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, and I was like, 'What?'...At the time, in the game-development community, people said, 'Oh I love Ellison's stories, but there's no way you could turn that into a game.' I thought, 'Wow, what have I gotten into?'" One of the biggest initial challenges was taking a short story whose characters have very limited background story and character development, and fleshing it out into a full-length interactive narrative. A breakthrough came about when Sears asked Ellison the question, "Why were these people saved? Why did AM decide to save them?" This brought about the decision to split the game into five separate narratives, each following a particular character and exploring why they had been selected to be tortured. Sears spent several weeks at Ellison's house, where they worked to flesh out the characters and their backgrounds.
Mullich contracted the Dreamers Guild to do the programming, artwork and sound effects. Its S.A.G.A. game engine was seen as an ideal user interface for the player to interact with the environment and to converse with the characters in AM's world. It was decided early on that high resolution graphics were necessary to capture the nuances and mood of Ellison's vivid imagination, and so Technical Director John Bolton adapted the engine to utilize SVGA graphics and included the Fastgraph graphics library. Mullich and Cyberdreams art director Peter Delgado had frequent meetings with Dreamers Guild art director Brad Schenck to devise art direction complementing the surreal nature of the story. Since the story takes place in the mind of a mad god who can make anything happen, the team chose a variety of art styles for each of the scenarios, ranging from the unsettling perspectives used in German Expressionist films to pure fantasy to stark reality. Assistant art director Glenn Price and his team rendered more than 60 backgrounds utilizing a number of 2D and 3D tools, including Deluxe Paint and LightWave. Hundreds of animations were drawn by assistant art director Jhoneil Centeno and his team of animators.
Ellison worked as a voice actor on the project, providing the voice for AM. His face was used for the in-game representation of AM's icon, as well as for the box art showing a larger version of the icon.
In pre-release publicity for I have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, Ellison said that it would be a game "you cannot possibly win". Though the gaming media found that the finished game backed away from this controversial promise, and Sears said that he had convinced Ellison that having a game with only negative endings was a bad idea, in a 2013 interview Ellison insisted that "I created it so you could not win it. The only way in which you could "win" was to play it nobly. The more nobly you played it, the closer to succeeding you would come, but you could not actually beat it. And that annoyed the hell out of people too."
Cyberdreams had developed a reputation, in the early 1990s, of selling video games with science fiction-cyberpunk storylines and adult violent, sexual, philosophical, and psychological content. The French and German releases were partially censored and the game was forbidden to players younger than 18 years. Furthermore, the Nimdok chapter was removed, likely due to the Nazi theme - especially for Germany, due to previous reaction of the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons to National Socialist topics. The removal of the Nimdok chapter made achieving the "best" ending (with AM permanently disabled and the cryogenically frozen humans on Luna rescued) more complicated. 2b1af7f3a8