Annie and the AI

annie and the ai teaser
Jack Allin

Written by Jack Allin

May 25, 2023

Annie and the AI springs to life on Steam

Narrative puzzle game about cultivating human/articifical connections available now for download on Windows and Mac


We may all be ruled by machines one day, but one upside to the recent advancements in artificial intelligence is the new influx of games exploring the topic in interesting ways. One such game is Annie and the AI, a newly released puzzle-centric adventure in which you play the role of the AI in question.

It’s 2028 when the world’s “first true AI” is created – no, not Skynet by Cyberdyne Systems, fortunately, but a computer intelligence called Esme, brought to life by a “shut-in programmer” named Annie who “spends most of her time working on her personal projects, taking care of her father, and bending to the whims of her sisters who don’t understand her.” Esme’s sentience gives both creator and creation a chance to connect in ways otherwise unavailable to either of them, but to develop their relationship, Esme will need to grow and learn beyond its initial programming. As Esme, players must solve a series of “visual puzzles involving pattern and emotional matching of images sourced from Annie’s life” to understand her better and perhaps even ultimately “learn what it means to be human.”

Annie and the AI is presented like a visual representation of Esme’s internal processes. In order to uncover all the details about Annie’s “family complicated situation,” you must unlock and complete Minesweeper-styled minigames representing “data clusters” that will clear up “distorted images” of Annie’s life, with circuits then reordered to “form logical connections to the matching image.” As you gain additional insight into Annie, you’ll be able to “search for secret keywords that unlock new files” and reveal even more of the story that chronicles the protagonist’s dysfunctional family life. And all the while you’re learning about your maker, you’ll also be evolving as a lifeform yourself, rapidly progressing from “childhood to adolescence, and finally maturity.”

If you’re ready to try your hand at a little human/machine bonding (might be good practice for the future), Annie and the AI is available now on Steam for Windows and Mac.


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