Amnesia is an oft used (and overused) trope of video game narrative. Certainly, one can understand the allure of introducing a character unfamiliar with the world and himself as the basis for an avatar for the player just loading up a video game. This state is more or less the state of the player, and, thus, introducing the player to the world and the character that he will be inhabiting over the course of the game makes practical sense. It is about as similarly useful as the old chestnut in fantasy literature of introducing main characters from another world into a fantasy landscape (a la Narnia) or the country bumpkin into the larger fantasy world (The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings), which likewise allows the reader to be introduced alongside such inexperienced characters to the workings of an unfamiliar world.
While Access Games’s Deadly Premonition falls back on this idea of the player being familiarized with a world through an “outsider” to that world (in this case, a reversal of the usual “country bumpkin” model, as Francis York Morgan is an experienced, urban dwelling FBI agent who finds himself on assignment in the weird world of small town America), it suggests a much more interesting way of defining the relationship between the player and this character in another way. Rather than creating a parallel between the amnesiac and the newbie player, the schizophrenic becomes the metaphor in Deadly Premonition for the relationship between the player and the character. That metaphor is a fairly compelling one.