10 Reasons why "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" is awesome and you should totally buy+play it before your next birthday...
1. Starring ... HARLAN ELLISON
For those unaware, this P&C Adventure game is based on the dystopian post-apocalyptic sci-fi short story of the same name, written by Harlan Ellison in 1967. Nearly 30 years later, a team of game devs decide to make the game, and they contact Ellison for permission to make the game, and not only do they get permission, they *get him to voice the villain* (who is, in some sense, the story's chief character). "AM" wouldn't be half as awesome without Ellison. He was about 60 at the time and about 80 now ... yes, still alive ... and it'd be great if Steam players newly discovering the game wrote him fanmail about how the game inspired them to read his work, etcetc... ^_^
2. Aged Gracefully
For a 1995 PC game, the game's graphics are decent, the audio is of the same variety as (but in many ways superior to) the first two Elder Scrolls games, and the engine is surprisingly stable. Based on other reviews I've read, your mileage may vary, but I had exactly zero crashes in a multi-faceted playthrough (testing different fail-states and endings, etc). As a huge Adventure buff, I can assure you that there are dozens, perhaps hundreds of games released in the past two decades that won't be as valuable 20 years down the road as this one turned out to be.
3. Not just full VA ... *good* VA
I'll have to take exception to Dr. Nimdok, whose slow, aged German accent sometimes misses the mark, especially as to which words or syllables to stress. Other than that, the character VA in this game is leaps and bounds beyond its 1995 peers. I suspect this is because the actors were getting to read lines either directly from, or inspired by, the original short story, which is quite well-written. So good.
4. "Dude, that's not PC!"
Real characters have flaws. Real characters don't give a crap about whether they're being politically correct or not, especially when they're on their own and have survived 100+ years of torture by a mad machine. I'm not praising this as though it's something to be cherished: rather, I'm saying that the surly nature of Benny, the rugged trucker-ness of Gor, and pretty much the entire Nimrok scenario make for a pretty provocative game. I suppose the open talk about Ellen's plight would also apply.
5. Fail-States exist, but they don't over-punish
Because this game is paced out *just right,* if you accidently off your character and lose progress, it's not a huge deal. The five scenarios are each short enough that you'll a) remember the puzzles well enough to quickly recover progress if needed or b) you'll have saved like 2 minutes beforehand and then it *really* doesn't matter. That said, there are ways for characters to die -- some more easily than others. And in the end scenario, it gets really tricky...
6. Endings galore
There are, in fact, five bad endings and one good ending. It's in the end scenario that the game takes the strongest departure from the short story: the latter offers a fight scene between two of the characters that, due to the way the game is structured, simply wasn't going to happen. However, the five bad endings of the game combined make up, in essence, what Harlan Ellison originally wrote. Each character will deliver those famous words after describing in wretched detail what AM has done to them for the rest of eternity after their failed assassination attempt. BUT, should you get the "true" ending (not at all in Ellison's story, but apparently Ellison-approved since he voiced his dialogue for this ending), there's something horribly fascinating waiting at the end, including some excellent philosophy that fits very much with this and Ellison's other tales.
7. Click what where with what, oh it's too much! -- No it's not.
One thing I've found in the Adventure revival of the past 5 years is an over-abundance of items in my inventory. It gets to be a bit *too* much. In IHNM, however, the standard view of the inventory shows only 8 slots. This will actually expand (and has to in at least one scenario). Yet, in another scenario, the number of items only goes as high as three. As for interaction options, you have the basic set: Walk to, Talk to, Look, Use, Take. Give, Push, and my favorite, Swallow. And that's it. That's all you need to get around, and with the narration and a little bit of clever thinking, you'll find many of the puzzles solve themselves. That said...
Should you need to turn to a walkthrough (GameFAQs has three at present), it's pretty easy to figure out where to look. Most people won't need it until they reach the end, and if they find themselves exasperated (especially by which character order to use) then a walkthrough can spell it out. Quickly, and painlessly, without the pain of a thousand qualifications ("if you've done this, don't do that" etc). The complexity of this game is in its narrative. The mechanics and puzzle-solving are less dense, though they can still be tricky even on that surface layer.
9. Did I mention the length?
This game is of the perfect length for most 21st-century gamers. The devs were ahead of their time in this regard. Its peers were often packing in filler content to brag about how many hours the player could get out of it. And then, on the other hand, there are a handful of P&C Adventures so pathetically short that they're hardly worth calling a game. This one fits just right: 2 hours with a walkthrough, 5-8 without (that range I'd give based on players' range of problem-solving capabilities and/or desire to skip voice acting with right-click spam).
10. We vote with our dollars
If the other nine points have convinced you that this game might actually be *good,* let me remind you here at the end: Steam notices what kinds of games we buy. How much of any given title is purchased will mean something to them. Financially it also means something to the rights-holders of this game. And while it could crash and burn miserably, I'd not be opposed to a huge overhaul / HD remake of this very game -- sometimes the risk pays off. Or, perhaps, it would inspire other developers to do decent P&C adventures with weighty/heady sci-fi short stories from other great authors. This game proved it could be done, and done well.