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Hi there,

I just finished the game for the first time.

I have read several posts about the story of the game. However, I do not completely agree with either of them. Therefore, I felt the urge of writing down my own interpretation.

This would be p.s.: Actually, just before posting my two cents, I found the post by PathOS. It is extremely close to my interpretation and actually narrated much more beautifully!

This is an extremely long post... Please do have a look at the open questions at the end.

Thanks to the original story content on, I could refine my interpretation after playing the game. Something written in quotes is also original game content unless noted. However, I do not know anything about Amnesia: The Dark Descent and deliberately haven't read anything about it, except for some stuff about the Orbs. Apparently, among others, Orbs have the power to "disrupt the welder's own spirit, splitting it as well". (

All statements are numbered to facilitate later references.

The Mandus Character

C1. In the beginning of the story (not the game), Mandus was a broken man, financially and psychologically, yet healthy.

C2. Mandus is depressed after his wife's death.

C3. Mandus begins to suffer from a multiple personality disorder. He is not schizophrenic. This is probably due to the prolonged exposure to the Orb. According to Wikipedia, the term is obsolete and the condition is now called "dissociative identity disorder". This term is spot on, since Mandus even seems to forget that he is human himself sometimes.

C4. Mandus has a sane, and grieving, even pathetic side. He loved his twins "all too much for this world". This can be called the good self. He also has an evil self that wrote most of the journal entries. It seems to grow more and more extreme over the year. Culminating on October 11th, he begins to exclusively speak of "product" when writing about humans. He begins to have a god complex.

C5. His good self regains control of his consciousness.

Aaand: The game is on!


F1. A lot of the machinery has been built previously, probably by an ancestor. After all, the Mandus family has made themselves a name and the factory has existed since 1828.

F2. The evil self takes the upper hand for the construction of the factory.

F3. Mandus clearly needed and also had workers. He speaks of "loyal workers", Father Jeremiah of "his workforce are specially trained". A lot of them do not know what is actually going on (see Delivery Schedule note).

F4. The most busy period is in October. Hence, less journal entries. His twins are complaining about his self-consumption in their diaries.

F5. Mandus built a huge factory and a city around. There are tall walls around it and a lot of entrances to the factory. "I own this city, I am this city"

F6. Mandus is very proud of the efficient production cycle. He optimised it a lot. Technical details can be found in his journals from October 11th to 22nd

F7. Mandus describes the harvesting process in his journals from October 24th to 27th.

F8. The city is used as a ruse to harvest raw material of different kinds for his product. For the rich, he built a mansion "We have set aside an entire wing of the mansion for their parties" -- the poor, he literally takes them off the streets: "Let the ground open under them and fall to the maw."

F9. Most importantly, the start of the game: Mandus wakes up in the harvesting mansion! The beds are cages: "Three walls of steel bars dropping from the ceiling via the canopy to cage the product into the bed, preventing escape."

F10. The drawings and mirrors are not partially transparent to spy on his wife and kids, but to observe the raw material and gather intel from them. Mandus is not a pervert.

F11. "Father Jeremiah I thought could be trusted with the secret." He begins to have a god complex. He builds a church for his manpigs and uses Father Jeremiah to lead the religious service: "They will happily accept fealty to a God thrust upon them."

F12. The sentence "[Father Jeremiah] says he will enter into our world with them" does not mean that he voluntarily fed himself to the machine, but merely that he supports Mandus' plans for the world. After all, "he is like all of the others" and as such, it would not be worth noting it.
His support for Mandus might also have emerged from his financial problems, because now "my church is full and my charges are saved."

F13. The factory still produces food for the people and is very successful: "Our fine foods are now exported to mansions and lodges across London." They also produce special meals like "an importer of fine teas stewed in his own leaves!" That must be tasty for sure.

F14. Manpigs and humans are used as workers.

F15. Mandus does charity in order to satiate the poor, improve the product.

World View and Mexico

W1. Mandus' world view was bad before it started all. In the first journal entry, he wrote: "The bank is refusing credit, the ignorant swine."

W2. Mandus is an ingenious mechanic, but has financial problems. He spent too much money on improving the factory he inherited from his father. (Not for processing humans, yet.)

W3. Mandus travelled to Mexico in his mission to find an Orb. He knew about it from his uncle.

W4. He went with his twins. Irresponsible, but probably due to financial constraints.

W5. Nothing actually happened in Mexico. A catastrophic event is merely suggested by the professor and the father. But not by any thoughts of Mandus. Bear with me.

W6. He got infected with some disease.

W7. The Orb did not really have an immediate severe effect on any of them.

W8. He carried the precious Orb always close to himself. This leads to a dream on the ship home which started his idea of saving the world from humankind.

W9. Mandus wants to create a new better species for the future by fusing humans and pigs.

W10. He transformed the factory into a great machine for his beliefs.

W11. On June 24th he dreams of a jaguar warrior of the Aztec military.

W12. Perhaps he chose a fusion of pigs and humans because pigs are "loyal, clever, strong, easily sated".

W13. He was infatuated with the Aztecs and using his machine, he could spill as much blood as possible.

W14. He built a machine and a shrine where he ultimately sacrificed his twins.

W15. He has an intense dialogue with the professor somewhen in the end of December. He has a mental breakdown and his good self awakens. Considering the wording of the journal entries, this seems to be Christmas. The birth of the redeemer in Christian religion.

W16. He tries to sabotage the machine, but fails.

W17. The good self awakens again, but is deceived by the evil self. (First part of the game)

W18. The good self is stable and aware of the evil self. He ignores it and sobatages the factory for good (Second part of the game).

Reality and Voices

R1. I like to think that all parts of the game are actually real and realistic. The game is played as the good self of the character. Inexplicable things are either hallucinations or an exaggerated magnitude of realistic possibilities. (Like a huge chamber with a pyramid inside below the surface.)

R2. The blurry sight and reverberating voice is during some sort of flashbacks. The monologue then clearly is about past events.

R3. The caller is his evil self wanting to persuade him to restart the machine. Since the evil self does know the whereabouts of the twins and the good self does not, he uses that to lure him and makes him an instrument for his own plan. The ringing phone is one of few unreal/imagined things in the game. The hallucination originates from his evil self, but the voice is in Mandus' head. It does not get lower when the moving away from the phone...

R4. Sometimes referred to as the talking of The Machine, it simply is the voice of his evil self. It is his intrapersonal communication that the player hears, because he IS Mandus. His evil self notices that the illusion of calling is not enough and begins to speak to him directly. The good self also noticed that he has another self. It is not necessary to hide as another person anymore. The voice of both selves is always equally loud and is not echoed by the environment.

R5. The first blackout is after fully restoring power to the machine and he realised that he has a split personality.

R6. The sons' voices are Mandus' twins who actually found the Orb: "Come and see, Papa. We found an egg, a stone egg!" He think he lost his sons and in search for them, he recalls how they had called for him.

R7. The sightings of the twins are hallucinations, because of his longing of getting them back.

R8. The teleportation is not actually teleportation, but blackouts. They occur after some heavy hallucinations or sightings. (Like when they rip out their hearts.) And the game's title is Amnesia after all.

R9. I do not question the dates of Edwin and Enoch's diary. In such a carefully crafted game, that would be a rather unfortunate and unlikely error. Neither, I do not think that they are written by Mandus in another state of mind. That would be a rather weird mental state that and does not fit into the story.

R10. The music in the game is sometimes simply used as a soundtrack and sometimes it is coming from the speakers used to "soothe the product".

R11. The professor is not a product of his imagination, but an actual person. Probably a psychiatrist. Mandus is "to have a visitor" after December 20th who is a member of a club. Apparently, Mandus is a member as well, but has been absent for a long time.
Considering the late stage of Mandus' illness, it is rather unlikely that he came up with a new character (or split his personality again). Also, the professor took part in some investigations about The Ripper who is never mentioned again.

R12. The Engineer is himself. He only mentioned him in a conversation with the professor. Apparently, he did not want to reveal himself to the professor.

Open Questions and Incertainities

O1. Why does he wake up in a trap bed? Is he trapped by his own machine and manpigs?
Or he was laid down to rest by the manpig staying in the other bedroom.

O2. What about the ivories and glasses? No idea...
Perhaps they are collected from the product.

O3. Why are the journal entries spread all over the game? It is clearly a plot device for the game. But to explain it lining up with the story, Mandus might have lost them during a parasomniac or semiconscious adventure.

O4. What does the last paragraph of the journal entry of March 15th mean?
"And then we came to London and I set it upon the mantelpiece, and went into the house and gathered the servants and set on re-crafting them, and then I went into the garden and buried those tiny shattered skulls under the weeping bulges of the rhododendrons."
They are Aztec death masks of killed children to pay respect and as a symbol for the fall of an era.

O5. What is the relevance of the jaguar warrior? No idea...
Perhaps just to emphasize the importance of Aztec culture.

O6. Was the evil self caused by the Orb? I don't think so.
It only seems an amplification of what he felt before. He said "I swear I will kill them, I will kill them all." in 1898 befor being in posession of the Orb. Only the vision about the twins being killed in the war is probably induced by the Orb.

O7. What does the last paragraph of the journal entry of December 2nd mean?
"By the egg I laid myself, under the garden where the children's skulls are buried. I call it my Mexico."
The children's skulls are the masks that he and his servants re-crafted. The egg is the Orb. He calls it "my Mexico", because it's the grave of his soul.

O8. What are the pig masks? They are hallucinations stemming from the buried Aztec masks. They are in pig shape because it is evil Mandus' theme.

O9. Why does his self-sacrifice stop the machine? It does not stop the machine. The machine has been stopped by Mandus' second sobatage. (It is very quiet after that.)

O10. Realising that he can not "tear himself apart down to the bricks and begin again", he thinks it is "better to die amongst my creations than to continue to live as a monster". He sacrifices himself in the device he built for his twins and it "is the only path to redemption to join us together again [...] and forgive him, and myself as well."

O11. When did he sacrifice his twins? I assume at the end of November. He does not write in his journal and gives himself time to mourn. Even his evil self is frightened by his own actions: "Lilibeth, what am I become?" But for him, it was a necessary evil to spare them from being slaughtered by the human pigs in the war.

O12. What is the heart doing in the last level? No idea...

O13. Who is inside the container in the last level? No idea... But not Mandus!
Some experiment perhaps... As is the heart.

O14. Is the Orb an energy source? I would think so.

O15. The game is pretty self-contained and is quite explicable with only little knowledge about the Orbs.


I1. Pigs are an interesting choice.
They are quite similar to humans: (Note the references there.)

I2. They are also the leaders in Animal Farm, just like the ones Mandus despised.

I3. "A Machine for Pigs" refers to the world itself:
The world is the nurturer for humans and nearly powers itself, just like perpetual motion.
The machine built by Mandus is so efficient, it nearly powers itself, a "simple stroke of genius". It is also a nurturer for humans, pigs, and manpigs.

There it is -- my emission from the processing of the food the machine fed me. And the machine feeds on me, it consumed me, it took away the desire of meat and wheat, it soothed me by telling a story as I contentedly let go of my time.

I am going to rest now for me to ascend anew the day after.
Dang, man. That's quite the overview.

My biggest question with this game is exactly where, when, and how the twins died. The journal entries really throw me off. There's so much emphasis on the twins having been killed in Mexico and it's treated as such an essential part of Mandus' development. But at the same time, no one mentions the twins being missing, and they're still writing journal entries. idk

I also wonder how much of the ending section of the game is a hallucination. Things get really loopy near the end, so a lot of the imagery is symbolic rather than literal. I also have no clue what the heart is about, or who the guy in the container is.

Mandus having a split personality makes sense, though. It seems the most plausible theory concerning who you play as physically in the game.
Hi Lazoriss,

Nice that you joined the discussion. Hope that will be more. Anyone comment on the open questions?

Your Questions

> My biggest question with this game is exactly where, when, and how the twins died.

I would say that it happend on the altar that is visible in the very end (and in the intro, too!). He sacrificed them in November. Also see O11. Mandus, being the tinkerer he is, built a machine to sacrifice people Aztec style. He may even have anticipated that he would sacrifice himself eventually. The machine in the game is the same as in the end and there were 2 smaller and 1 larger chairs.

> The journal entries really throw me off.

As I refined my theory I primarily used the journal entries and I find they make for a pretty consistent story.

> There's so much emphasis on the twins having been killed in Mexico and it's treated as such an essential part of Mandus' development. But at the same time, no one mentions the twins being missing, and they're still writing journal entries. idk

Actually, the killing is never stated explicitly. There are multiple hints that the children were not killed in Mexico:
  • The most peculiar sentence is "went into the garden and buried those tiny shattered skulls". However, I do not think that they are the skulls of the twins as he mentioned having something re-crafted in the same sentence.
  • A "shabby fellow" is his guide and he certainly would have witnessed the killing.
  • There are notes from the kids in October.
  • Mainly the professor and the father hinted at something significant having happened in Mexico. However, with his Orbs, he easily found new investors and it is perceived by others that something must have happend in Mexico. At least with his mind anyway.
  • Something I just noted: I assume in some of the notes he addresses Lily directly as "My Darling" and he speaks about the twins as "My Darlings". The note from February 17th mixes in a lot of direct speech. The last sentence is "Perhaps, my darling, [...] their tragedy was they could simply not spill blood enough"

> I also wonder how much of the ending section of the game is a hallucination. Things get really loopy near the end, so a lot of the imagery is symbolic rather than literal. I also have no clue what the heart is about, or who the guy in the container is.

You are right... Quite fancy and bizarre. But I guess some form of portal is opened when standing below the heart. He seems to be transported to the "other world", whatever that is. (He describes the tesla pigs: "They live sporadically, torn from one world to the other and back again in violent, unpredictable bursts")

> Mandus having a split personality makes sense, though. It seems the most plausible theory concerning who you play as physically in the game.

Absolutely! I am very sure of that. ;-)


FYI, I gathered all texts from the game and posted it online.
As I said, I find the journal entries quite clear, but reviewing all texts, I am a bit confused about the hints and Mandus' memories... (Tags: clockwork soul, jaguar, rhododendrons)

Actually, randeh has a very nice theory about the twins, too. It is fun and creepy to read, but I think it is too complex. I think the story would be easy to understand, but the perspective we are being told it from, makes it hard to figure it out.
First things first, I'm blowed away by the amount of thought and effort you put into this. Kudos. I thought of gathering all the notes from the Dark Descent just as you did with Machine for Pigs, but never got round to it.
Btw, you should totally play the first one. It's much better a game, more scary, and it doesn't tell the story so... unclearly.

Speaking of which, I think Chinese Room did a lot of mistakes. I didn't really comprehend the story (thanks to you, I do now) - I had all the puzzle pieces but couldn't really piece them together. And I think a game (or any piece of art) shouldn't be written in a such a way that the receiver has to spend hours and multiple replays/rereads to understand anything. Still, awesome experience. I say experience, not game, because there's almost no interactivity available. Beautiful and extremely well crafted maps, even though the game is pretty much a one long corridor. Awesome sound and music production.

Sorry for the unncecesseary review, I just couldn't hold myself ;P
Speaking of your theories and others.

I'm pretty sure that the Machine was powered by nuclear reactors - Mandus even had to manually lower some of the fuel rods when he was sabotaging the Machine. The radiation might also explain hallucinations towards the end of game.
But then the Orb could power it as well - it's never clearly stated what it can do.

From what I understood, twins' hearts were needed in some way for Machine to work. But I played the game a long time ago and I might have misinterpreted that.
-EDIT- As I remember, hearts were mentioned a lot. And I even found this excerpt from your collection:
Spoiler below!
"This spoon was the same you gave your twins, then you used it to dig a hole to their clockwork souls and you ate up their hearts like soup on the way to keep you fat."
I also don't understand (or remember) why exactly Mundus went to rip his heart out in the end, besides the clear need to kill himself.
I think of AMFP like I think of the movie The Prestige. For anyone who has seen it, perhaps you see why. It's a movie that is difficult to understand the first time you watch it due to switching time perspectives, but once you understand what it's all about, it really gets epic.
Interesting to read how you look at the history of the game! It has been a while but I saw it today when I found it searching for info about the game. Thanks for sharing!