Monday, May 17, 2010

My new favorite author

That’s right…it’s creepy…it’s scary…it’s suspensful…

cover Just got my copy of Alan Wake at work today. I honestly didn’t know if I’d like it much – although all the trailers were pure eye candy. When I eventually got home from my day in the Project Natal salt mines, and after Family Home Evening, I stuck in the the ol’ 360 for a spin.

Mind blowing. Just mind blowing. It was spooky to be sure, but I’ve never felt so drawn in by a game. To call this a game is selling it short I think. It really feels like interactive fiction – in the tradition of Portal (no, not the Valve game of the same name) or Myst. (OK, but with more shooting than those guys but still…) I think hard core gamers might be disappointed in that a lot of the game involves relatively minor participation while watching the story unfold. This is no Halo.

It doesn’t hurt that the game, set in the fictitious and creepy woods of Bright Falls, Washington, is so connected with the nearby (to me)town of Snoqualmie, Washington and inspired by Twin Peaks and The X-Files. I’m a big fan of Twin Peaks – but couldn’t care less about X-Files. Nothing like being thoroughly creeped out by your own neighborhood. So much of the game centers on light and shadow that it should come as no surprise that the lighting effects take center stage in the game. You can see that in many of these screenshots.


Alan Wake was first announced in 2005 (take a look at the original blurb about it and here’s the original trailer from E3 2005). And supposedly the concept was hatched in 2001. That is one long gestation. It’s not the Sistine Chapel, and I won’t claim it is 5 or 10 years worth of goodness here, but it is something really different and if you aren’t too easily creeped out, it is well worth a look.

You can check out the roundup of reviews on MetaCritic. Like all reviews, you have to kind of take them as just opinions. A small minority were pretty negative actually – hitting down around the 70% line – but most were quite good. Since those good ones agree with me, I would say pay attention to those and ignore the grumpy Czechoslovakian judge.


  1. Sounds great! I can't wait to try it sometime.

  2. When Rich showed me the trailer I got so excited. I think he did too, there's not many xbox games I get in to, and he must've like the idea of playing a game together. Did Lynnae watch any of it? I think it looks so great!

  3. I actually don't remember if she saw much of it last night as she was busy doing something else.
    Arianne and Jordan watched it for awhile but then got creeped out and were afraid they'd have nightmares so they left.
    The game is divided into "episodes" like a TV show and when you go on to the next episode, it gives you a little recap of the last one, like a "previously on Alan Wake" type thing.
    As you go in the woods you pick up manuscript pages that flesh out the story and can give you an idea what is coming. I haven't read many of those yet.

  4. One of the reviews said something like "stripped of its creepy setting and the storyline, the game is very simplistic" - well, duh!
    Stripped of setting and story, a movie is just sitting in a dark room too, but people seem to like that well enough.