It is set in a worn down european city where the player takes the role of Gabriel, a schizophrenic individual with no knowledge of his past. You wake up in a completely bloodied down apartment next to a headless corpse with flies buzzing around it. The miniature doll world and the blurry imagery makes the whole scene bizarre. In this scene you walk around in the apartment which is in a complete state of chaos resembling the hellish world of Silent Hill. You have a blackout.
You wake up in the exact same spot as before, but the radio is playing a pleasant song and the apartment is clean. It feels sterile and even the pale light resembles a hospital. It should have felt safer, but it's not. There is something eerie and unsettling about it. You walk out and leave the apartment, take the shoddy elevator down to the street where you meet a neighbor approaching. Here too the stop motion animation and creepy puppet faces make the whole scene bizarre.
After this scene the game can take on make different paths depending on your choices. When I played this game there was a bug that make me unable to save my progress, so I always had to re-play everything from the start. I still didn't experience the same story more than once.
I vaguely remember that you took the subway to different parts of the city. The harbour, a downtown area, a posh neighborhood with fancy apartment buildings. Everything was equally dark, muddy and unsettling. There was a brothel where you could choose which prostitute you wanted to either talk to or have sex with. They'd tell you different stories about who you were, since you have no idea yourself.
There were bars you could go to. One of them offers you to order "the usual" which you have no idea what it is until you receive it. The bartender obviously knows you but you don't know yourself. You visit a fortune teller, an old blind lady with glasses covering her eyes. After she tells you about your dark past she removes her glasses, revealing black holes straight into her skull. You black out again.
There are many more memories I have about the game, but they are so distant since I haven't played the game since I was about 11 years old. I once wrote to the writer of the game, a man named Michael Valeur. He was happy for my mail and replied, explaining the vision to create something different I quote:
"For me Blackout was a very special thing, because it holds all the ambitions there was in the ´90s for making interactive art. We want something else than Doom (which was big at that time) - and I remember we talked about; "To much Schwarsenegger and to little Kieslowski in the game business". I was very inspired of art from eastern europe - espescially Prag - and the whole tradition of using puppets."
The use of puppets and miniatures for a game is something I haven't seen done seriously in a game... Ever. The idea is so amazing and unique and gives the game a feeling a 3D world could never accomplish. The game feels like a David Lynch movie in so many ways where nothing is true for sure and everything leaves you with a feeling that something is wrong.
The mechanics of the game were unique too. During the game you get different dialogue options that throughout the game somehow makes a psychological analysis of your character. In one scene you are confronted with a gang of thugs threatening to beat you up. You have four options and only one will save you from pain. There isn't a pre-determined path, instead you have to make the choice that fits the other choices you have made previously in the game. I had no idea about this when I played, so I got to suffer for it.
The game was originally released with a novel that explained the story from another characters perspective. I sadly never got this novel since I bought the game in a collection box with other games. I wish I could read it, and understand more because I feel that I'll never be completely satisfied until I get to play through this game for real and understand it all. I never got to the end and the game only works for Windows 95. Who has one of those these days? Besides, I don't know where the CD's are and the game can't be found anymore. I guess it will remain a mystery unless the original developers somehow re-release the game on a new platform. I hope and hope for that day to come because I want more people to get to experience this old, eerie, unique game. If you have any more information about this game, or have played it yourself, PLEASE, I want to talk about it with someone. Consider me obsessed.