Momentary returns to the tripping state while not actually using psychedelic drugs. These are generally much milder than the propaganda would have you believe - only a brief flash of color, pattern or sound. You will not be attacked by giant spiders crawling on your eyeballs.

A vivid recollection of past events that one has experienced. Sometimes you remember it, sometimes you relive it. Happens once in a while to hippies with LSD in their fat deposits. Also a technique used in film to play around with time.

Also a kick-ass video game quite similar to Prince of Persia - by Delphine Software, a sequel to the equally kick-ass Out of This World.

These are not caused by lsd in your fat deposits, lsd crystals in your spinal fluid, or little lsd gremlins in your uvula. Flashbacks are a mental phenomenon. LSD is water soluble, so it does not build up in your fat deposits, and is metabolized and excreted just like every other chemical you ingest within hours.

The version of Flashback I purchased in 1993 was distributed by US Gold and, of course, developed by Delphine Software International, neither of which I've seen mentioned in previous writeups about this terrific title.

This one's the Commodore Amiga version and, on a gold sticker slapped to the front of the outer box sleeve, states: "1 MB AGNUS CHIP REQUIRED - ASK YOUR DEALER FOR DETAILS"

The manual is a whopping 60 pages long, half of which is dedicated to setting up the scenario: You are Conrad Hart, an agent with the Galaxia Bureau of Investigation, and you are in "great danger." The other half is devoted to more important things such as installation, controls, and special moves. On almost every page you'll find a few dozen cryptic numbers, letters, and a single large glyph -- a copy protection scheme the CIA has yet to crack. (Oh, stop patting yourself on the back, Mr. Software Cracker, it was a joke)

The game itself is ultra cool and is rich with atmosphere and plenty of eye-candy. Although it's not the sequel to Out of this World (aka "Another World"), it's difficult not to make comparisons. While this game plays much longer than OOTW, the realtime cutscenes just aren't as clever or elaborate. On the plus side, you have a much larger spectrum of available moves, items, puzzles, and bad guys.

PS: US Gold, what's up with the extra box sleeve that doesn't quite fit? What may have been a beautiful piece of vintage packaging looks more like a size 40 trying to fit into a size 32. Delphine, thanks for the memories!

Flashback is one of two set-specific abilities of Magic: the Gathering that came on the cards of Odyssey. (The other is threshold). Usually, spells that enter your graveyard stay there for good: they don’t do much other than help give you threshold, and look pretty. However, cards with flashback (they have a little graveyard-symbol in the top left corner) can come back one more time. Cards with flashback will say something like “Flashback: (cost of flashback, usually X mana).” If the flashback cost is paid, the spell will be placed on the stack (basically, cast) again. After the spell does it’s thing, it can’t be flashed-back again. Instead of going into the graveyard, it is removed from the game.

An example of a card with flashback is Firebolt. Firebolt is a sorcery (a type of spell) that says “deals 2 damage to target creature or player.” It’s flashback cost is 4 colorless mana and 1 red mana. If Firebolt happens to be in the graveyard (meaning it’s been cast normally, or just happens to get there), the player who’s graveyard Firebolt is in can pay the flashback cost. If he does, he gets to deal 2 damage, just as if the spell was cast the boring old way! However, after this, the spell is removed from the game, meaning it can’t be flashed-back again.

The predecessor to flashback could be buyback, an ability that came with the Rath Cycle group of MtG sets. Buyback is similar, except the card can basically be flashed-back infinitely, provided the mana is paid.

One last note: you may have noticed that cards with flashback have zero synergy with cards with threshold. Flashback basically removes cards from a player’s graveyard, which would otherwise contribute to the 7 cards in graveyard needed for threshold.

In cinema: a flashback is a scene (or shot) which portrays events in the diegetic past relative to the scene's (or shot's) placement, linearly, in the film.

Translation: Assume scenes A, B, and C where scene A is shown first, scene B is shown second, and scene C is shown third. The linear progression of the scenes, then, is A, B, C. If scene B depicts events which occur, diegetically, before the events depicted in scene A, then scene B can be considered a flashback relative to scene A.

Further translation: If the stuff you're seeing now happens before the stuff you've already seen, it's probably a flashback.

It can become even more complicated. If scene C, above, "happens" before scene B, what might that be? Is it a flashback within a flashback? Or is it just another flashback? Consider a film like Memento, in which chronological story information is revealed "backward" relative to the progression of the scenes. Is each scene a flashback? Or are you simply watching a story being told backward? Or both?

This sort of debate is common when defining film terminology. Ask anyone for a precise definition of a "close up" or a "medium shot", for example, and you might be in for either a lecture or an argument.

As QXZ notes, flashbacks can play hell with narrative coherence. If an audience isn't aware that a scene or occurrence is intended to be a flashback and outside of the main narrative chronology, they may become confused ("Isn't he dead?") or misunderstand significant plot points ("I guess he's not dead, then."). As such, many artistic conventions have arisen to indicate a flashback, so that without disrupting the flow of the narrative, the audience might become aware of when the device is being used.

In books, the simplest way to indicate a flashback is to clearly indicate it as such. A chapter heading may include a notation of the time that it is set in, the beginning of the flashback may include descriptions of the setting or characters that is sufficiently different from how they were presented in the rest of the story to make it clear that the scene occurred in an earlier time, or the flashback may be preceded by pertinent text or dialogue (such as "I remember back in '38 when me and Jack took on the Hard Luck Brickyard Crew...") which serves to fix the setting in the reader's mind before the flashback itself is presented.

Brief flashbacks, if not otherwise indicated, are often presented in italics. Thoughts are often also presented in this way, too, however these are usually just one or a few sentences and, when treated in this manner, written as dialogue would be. Italicized flashbacks mostly last at least a full paragraph, and sometimes as long as a few pages (rarely more, however), and are written in the same style as the rest of the book, including action, descriptions of setting, and the like. Flashbacks are also often presented as personal reminiscences, and so a switch from third person to first person point of view may also signal a flashback.

As cinema and television are primarily visual media, artists in these media cannot directly communicate with their audience as easily as in the written form. Of course, they can just use writing, as is common in other instances where setting is not immediately clear, by subtitling the opening shots (often an establishing shot) of a scene with the time and/or place it is set ("Louisiana, 1875", or "November 22, 1963").

Beyond this, however, there are a variety of purely visual techniques at a filmmaker's disposal that operate by changing the "look" of a flashback scene. For example, the images may be made to look like they were recorded during the period the scene is set (black and white for the early 20th century, overly bright color for the late 50s or a slightly washed-out, grainy look for the '70s, etc.). Alternatively, by slightly blurring the picture, softening the focus, overexposing the film, or over-lighting a scene, the resultant pictures may take on a too-bright, slightly "unreal" feel that audiences will associate with the vagueness and slightly "off" quality of memory. This effect is also sometimes accomplished by heavily blurring or fading along the edges of the picture, or by adding a "sparkling" effect in postproduction. That other cinematic sense, sound, may also be manipulated for effect, as with the "selective hearing" of flashbacks in 12 Monkeys. Similar to these conventions is the use of blur or wavy dissolves during transitions to and from flashbacks, sometimes with a related musical bridge, as parodied in Wayne's World.

Employment of these techniques may be considered as dated, kitschy, or a sign of amateurism. In many cases, a good filmmaker can chronologically set a scene by paying close attention to details. A good deal of setting may be established through clothes, fashion, cars, hairstyles, the appearance of advertisements or other public displays, and reference to events or things peculiar to that era. Period music may also be employed to finish the atmospheric affect. While not a flashback, I would recommend Dazed and Confused as a splendid example of this attention to detail. Of course, this is of less use if the audience is not expected to be familiar with the era and location in which a flashback is set.

Animation mostly follows the traditions of film and television. It might be harder to implement some of the filters and effects, especially where they intend to call to mind the look of the medium in days past - a scene from The Simpsons using the colors (but nothing else) from The Jetsons would likely just confuse, while the use of black and white scenes is mostly played for humor value. However, due to its nature, animation is able to pull off some effects which would be unthinkable or less suited to other media. For example, in the anime series Revolutionary Girl Utena, characters in flashbacks are portrayed as faceless, featureless "mannequins" with smooth, black-hole black skin, while hair, clothes, and other inanimate objects remain fully colored and detailed.

I'm not familiar with conventions regarding flashbacks in theatre or oral storytelling, I could only imagine that the former might use peculiar lighting, artificial fog, or similar effects, while the latter would obviously be verbal in nature, involving tense shifts, framing devices, or perhaps changes in tone or use of voice.

Of course, this is all assuming that the author or director wants you to know that a scene is, in fact, a flashback. Some works actively seek to jar or confuse the audience by deviating from standard narrative practices. In such a case, these conventions will usually be ignored, as the audience is not supposed to be sure of a given scene's place in the chronology of the work.

If you can think of other conventions relating to flashbacks, please /msg me and I'll include them.

Flashbacks are not confined to psychedelic states. Any highly traumatic experiences may cause the subject to ocassionally experience a very vivid recollection of the moment, with emotions and sensory memories so vivid that it feels like they're back in it. Flashbacks are a primary symptom of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), a common affliction among rape victims, disaster survivors, and battlefield veterans.

It seems likely that flashbacks can also occur to states of ecstasy and enlightenment, although psychology has long shown a bias towards pathology, meaning that these have been less-studied.

"Hi Conrad. You may be wondering how you recorded this message without remembering it. Good question."

Delphine Software is not a famous name in game design. However, their cross-platform hit Another World/Out of this World achieved some noteriety, and their second game, the spiritual successor Flashback: the Quest for Identity, was truly the peak of their game design prowess. (The true sequel to OOTW, OOTW 2: Heart of the Alien was mediocre, and was only released on some doomed platforms to boot.)

Flashback (published on most platforms by US Gold), like its predecessor Out of this World, starts you off lost on a strange world; in this case, the jungles of Titan. Amnesiac and lost, Conrad Hart, the hero, finds himself being briefed by, of all things, a short recording of himself, explaining who to talk to to find out who he is, where he is, and exactly how he got into this predicament. To make a long (although interesting) story short, he finds out that he's a student, his girlfriend is missing, and, oh yeah, there's a force of shapeshifting Unspeakable Horrors threatening the solar system. (In some versions, Conrad is a member of the Galactic Bureau of Investigation; this has little bearing on the plot.)

The gameplay is seriously dated, but very fun if you're willing to deal with the idiosyncracies. Basically, Conrad handles like Blackthorne, although any fan of Out of this World or Prince of Persia will quickly recognize the style of control. (Apparently he's also a distant ancestor of Samus Aran, of Metroid Fusion.) While he's not terribly agile, he has a wide range of moves, quite a few of which will need to be done precisely. He has a tendency to die if he falls too far. Luckily, he's not too bad with machinery or a sidearm, as both are frequently needed in the game's many, many puzzles.

The graphics are also dated, but rather interesting. While the Amiga and CD-based consoles (Jaguar, CD-i, Sega CD, and 3DO) had rather uninteresting rotoscaped interstitial and title screens, the SNES and Genesis versions were blessed with moody, attractive drawn art, obviously heavily influenced by the imagery of Bladerunner. More interesting are the (by modern standards) crude polygonal cut scenes, present even in the 16-bit versions of the game.

What really made this shine, when it was new and even now, was the fluidity and variety of Conrad's movements. He has a surprising number of frames of animation, coupled with a large variety of unique moves, so, while his actual design is crude, watching him move is quite a treat.

Unfortunately, this game is burdened with tedious, die-reload-die-reload-die-reload-solve puzzles, many of which are along the lines of "Trip a tripwire, get electrocuted/melted/shot, reload, jump over tripwire." This is very much not fun. Many of the puzzles are inspired, and there's interesting combat; it's just that there's a whole ton of tedium in between. Be warned.

Given the dated gameplay, this is really only a game for those who feel nostalgic about games like Out of this World or Prince of Persia. Tedius try-and-die puzzles will probably frustrate many gamers to distraction; a shame, given the quality of the game's animation and plot.

If you want to give it a try, the SNES and Genesis versions are fairly common, but your best bet is to play it on a CD-based console, Amiga, or Macintosh. (The PC port was crudely executed and rather terrible.) Do be warned that the Amiga and Mac versions is copy protected. If you can't find a copy, however, you're probably out of luck; some unorthodox uses of the console hardware make this game difficult to emulate.

Flashback was rated K-A by the ESRB, and predates most other rating systems.


Flashback made it to a lot of systems over the years. A comprehensive list...

There was a semi-successful sequel titled Fade To Black.

Ubi Soft has publically discussed bringing this title to the Game Boy Advance, but no release date is set.

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