Monday, March 21, 2011

In Which I Finish A Video Game About A Writer




So I finally finished Alan Wake, the video game where you play a writer's-blocked super-star author who has to find his missing wife in a small Washington town where creepy shit happens. It took longer than expected to finish because we all got wrapped up in Halo: Reach again. But we finally took a break from that and went back to Alan Wake to finish up the final chapter.




It's a clever game. The MC, Alan, and his wife rent a cabin to try and help out with his writer's block. They spend less than 30 minutes at the cabin before the lights go out and Alan loses track of his wife. Then he wakes up in a crashed car, alone, with no recollection how he got there.

Throughout the game you have to collect manuscript pages of a new novel Alan apparently wrote, that he has no memory of. The manuscript is about real life events.

It's kind of funny because the game writing is good and believable, but Alan's supposed to be this spectacular writer, and the manuscript pages are just full of writing 101 mistakes:

All telling, no showing
POV shifts (and I mean, some of the pages are from Alan's POV, 1st person, and the others are from other characters POV, 3rd person)
Cliche's everywhere.

Even my non-writerly siblings groaned over how bad Alan's writing was.

For reals, the game creators could have hired any writer just to fix up the manuscript pages. I could have made a few tweaks here or there and they would've been much better.

Still, that said, the game was fun, and creepy. Apparently in this game world, Authors go to hollywood-esque parties all the time, and have hollywood-esque agents. Also there's a crazy FBI agent who's chasing Alan and everytime he comes across him he calls him by a different writer's name. So like:
"Shut up Steven King"
or "I finally caught you, James Patterson".
Which I found clever.

So, it missed the mark on actual good writing, and for accurately portraying a writerly life, but it was still fun and entertaining. And the soundtrack was fantastic.

Check it out, if you're a gamer.

17 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's a riot the writing was bad!!

Summer Frey said...

I've had my eye on this since I saw it on your sidebar...But I just got DragonAge Origins, and I still haven't finished Assassin's Creed II, so I think I'll be a while...

Matthew MacNish said...

I didn't think the writing was THAT bad, but certainly not great. The agent was pretty funny though. Have you done the DLC yet? I still need to check it out.

Anne said...

@ Summer- i also got Dragon Age Origins- we're like 15 minutes in and stopped to play Enslaved (which is SUPER AWESOME so far). We know how long Dragon's Age is going to be, so we have to like ramp up to it

I wonder if we could get an Alan Wake soundtrack, cuz there were some really great songs on there

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

Alex - it was. We kept making fun of the MC

Summer - also, the longer you wait, the cheaper it will get, if you're planning on buying. However, a sequel is in the works

Matt - it got better as the game went on, but some of those manuscript pages in the beginning were not good. I should have found a list of them and posted some as examples

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

Anne - i want some more Enslaved, RIGHT NOW. Also, yeah we should google the soundtrack. or check for it on itunes

Erica Mitchell-Spickard said...

Oh, I love the irony of the bad writing. Please tell me that was on purpose? Like it was supposed to be bad? Or was it just like, bad-bad? Either way it sounds entertaining. I want to check this out NOW, but have obligations in the mornings. Darnit! But I will laters :)

Carolyn Abiad said...

I need to try this one! If I can just pry the controllers out of my son's hands - maybe if COD and GT5 disappear for a while....

Teebore said...

If I didn't know any better, I'd have said a video game about a writer in which you find his manuscript pages was some kind of lame educational video game they sell at those toy stores that don't actually have real toys in them.

I love that they couldn't be bothered to make the manuscript pages at least not glaringly awful. Like, way to fumble on the 1 yard line.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

Ericka - oh no, i'm pretty sure they just had some game developers write the manuscript pages. I'm sure THEY thought it was good, but they were not. But it's fun regardless

Carolyn - ...my goodness! How did those games end up in the closet? It's a mystery...

Teebore - yeah, right? Like, seriously, none of them could be bothered to just google good writing? That at least would have taken care of the adverbs, adjectives and purple prose

NiaRaie said...

That's cool there are video games revolving around writers. I'd never heard of one. I'm not a gamer but I might have to find a system and try that one.

Talli Roland said...

Haha! That made me laugh about the writing!

Lindsay said...

Haha. I love that the writing was bad. oh the irony. :)

Anne said...

wtf is purple prose?

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

Nia - it's fun and creepy

Talli - it made us laugh too!

Lindsey - ironu indeed!

Anne - it's when you, more or less, use like a crap load of description

Dangerous With a Pen said...

*Giggles* Totally sounds like fun. Gave up games almost completely when I had my kids (8 years ago lol) cause most of what I found fun wasn't exactly kiddie friendly, lol. My favorite was American McGee's Alice. (But the new one is coming out! Soon! Like ... 10 years later!)

We're having a Technology Week at school so to make it fun for the teachers, the coordinators set up Beatles and Green Day Rock Band in the teachers' lunchroom for our lunchtimes... totally fun! We do have Rock Band... for PS2... gathering dust in the garage... :)

Now I want to play more games! :)

Heather said...

a lot of my gamer fam has played this and liked it. i had no idea what it was about.

I'll have to keep an eye out for it!

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