In amnestics with anterograde amnesia, memories of post-onset autobiographical experiences, if present at all, are typically barren and impoverished. However, there have been sporadic reports of islands of memory–memories that are vivid, detailed, and specific to time and place.
Memory is hard to define. It’s hard to describe what it is that you see when you recall a memory. Most often my memories are specific to time and place. But time isn’t always chronological for any given memory. Sometimes I experience the memory starting with a final moment and then recall the moments leading up to it. Sometimes I recall a first person view and other times a third person view. But they often feel like small islands of time and space. There is a short period of time which has a beginning and an end and visual boundaries, which I don’t see beyond.
Sometimes there are several associated islands that make up a memorable event. I remember breaking my arm on the school playing field. I remember the moment it broke and the sound it made very clearly. I remember the time I sat and waited for my mum in the school entrance whilst crying. And I remember the doctor at the hospital asking me to resist as she pulled my arm. I remember all three locations and a few distinct things that happened in each but I don’t remember the events in between. I somehow fill the gaps to make a coherent story but really the three moments are separate islands of memory.
In Vestige, as you turn your head to explore a space, you’ll trigger short snippets of memories that occurred at different points in time. Although initially the story seems disjointed, you will start to connect these moments of time and build a coherent story from them.