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A Memoir Blue review – a deep dive into the price of success

Cloisters Interactive; Annapurna Interactive; Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One/Series S/Series X
A dreamlike ‘interactive poem’ explores the emotional dynamics driving an Olympic swimmer

A Memoir Blue opens at a press conference, a thatch of interviewers’ microphones aimed at the protagonist as she flinches in a lightning storm of camera flashes. In her right hand she holds aloft a swimmer’s Olympic medal. This young woman has reached the pinnacle of her athletic career. Yet despite this she appears detached, even glum, here in the hot centre of the world’s adulation. Back at her apartment we see her mantelpiece sag under the combined weight of her trophies, but as dusk fills her room, she sits alone on her sofa, bereft.

Wealth, glory and high attainment, in almost any field, are often accompanied by less desirable effects: isolation, confusion, loneliness, an obsessive anxiety about losing, or failing to maintain that which has been won. These negatives are rarely acknowledged by the successful: to complain after one has gained what everyone else desires can seem ungrateful and churlish. A Memoir Blue is a dialogue-free attempt to explore why success so often contains the seeds of failure, and specifically the emotional dynamics that might lead someone to channel the wild energies of childhood into the unusual demands of professional sports.

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