February 21, 2012

Review – Alan Wake’s American Nightmare

Review Alan Wakes American Nightmare
A television flickers in the night, broadcasting a static signal that breaks with an episode of Night Springs. The Twilight Zone parody uses Rod Serling styled narration to set the stage about a champion of light pursuing his evil double, Mr. Scratch, in one of several episodes written by Alan Wake before his career as a novelist took shape.

Remedy uses the show to frame a standalone entry point for gamers not familiar with the original 2010 release, but this play of events might also serve as a conduit for Alan from his prison within the Dark Place. While radio broadcasts within the game give glimpses into a world that has continued without Alan, conversations and manuscript pages suggest that the writer may be using the television show in his quest to return to his wife and former life.

Remedy continues to revel in the possibilities their horror series stirs, giving fans plenty to chew on regarding the writer’s fate. The only certainty is that players must find a way to stop Mr. Scratch from trapping them in a campy horror narrative, and that Alan’s journey through the night continues within this American Nightmare.


February 20, 2012

Q&A – Remedy Talks Alan Wake’s American Nightmare

Remedy Alan Wakes American Nightmare Interview
Embracing the best of the horror genre, 2010’s Alan Wake left a fair amount of questions lingering after its conclusion, with two subsequent DLC chapters furthering the narrative while still leaving plenty of room for interpretation regarding the fate of the writer in his battle against a malevolent darkness. While the upcoming Xbox LIVE Arcade release, American Nightmare, picks up the threads with Alan and his dark half Mr. Scratch, the events that unfold serve as a spin-off tale rather than a direct continuation of the original release.

In a move that certainly caught me by surprise, American Nightmare builds an arcade mode around the combat mechanics of light and evasion from the 2010 title, offering a survival challenge that hopes to find longevity after players have chewed through the standalone pulp horror story.

With the game releasing this week, I managed to gather a few of my endless questions regarding digital content and American Nightmare’s direction, which Remedy CEO Matias Myllyrinne was good enough to answer.


November 25, 2010

Q&A – Remedy Talks Alan Wake

Filed under: Features — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 1:32 pm

Alan Wake
On my list of most significant games of 2010, it shouldn’t surprise regular readers and sugarfiends if I give a nod to Alan Wake – though even after reviewing the game and two installments of DLC, I still feel as if I haven’t captured the essence of the “why” behind that. Remedy’s work with Wake has left a lingering impression on me, a game I’m certain to remember for many years to come, which increasingly seems like one of the most significant accomplishments a videogame can achieve.

Despite my trouble of always putting exact words to that experience, I did cobble together some questions about the game and specifically about the DLC chapters that followed, which Remedy writer Mikko Rautalahti was good enough to take the time to answer.

Catch it after the break.


October 13, 2010

Review – Alan Wake: The Writer

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 1:53 pm

Alan Wake The Writer
As the second piece of DLC for Remedy’s psychological action thriller, “The Writer” continues Alan’s journey through the darkest of night via the exploration of Wake’s internal state of mind. Picking up where “The Signal” left off, Wake navigates a path through the fractured self exposed by the retail release.

By film or book or videogame, subject matter opens as many possibilities as it does the potential to fall into cliche, and I’ll suggest that once again Alan Wake manages to work within the trappings of the horror genre rather deftly considering how much of a tightrope that proposition creates – my investment in the character of both Wake and the world he is fighting to understand keeps psychological exploration from dipping into cheese.

That doesn’t mean that Wake’s latest outing cuts the fresh path the series seems capable of trailblazing however. But “The Writer” does cut a circular path through the events of the game to date to reach a rather inevitable conclusion, offering players a carnival ride through familiar memories, concerned with finding the significance in character relationships and happenings established by the game proper.


July 29, 2010

The [Sign]al

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 2:13 pm

Alan Wake The Signal
As far as DLC doses go, The Signal strengthens my belief that Alan Wake is skirting the edge of something blissfully chaotic and overdue, exciting for the danger it represents to the active player versus the passive consumer of media as a simple plastic by-product of corporate sustainability.

Admittedly I’m six times sucker sweet for words. From Calvino to Canetti, from poetics to the loving lure of the way words connect and flow, of simply crafting sentences that linger and expose pleasure in the cellar door that tingles on the edge of the tongue.

If you’re into that sort of thing, well then read on my fellow fluoroscopic opal rubes.


May 25, 2010

Review – Alan Wake

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 10:35 pm

Alan Wake
Previously on Gamesugar –

We received a package in the mail, a review copy of Alan Wake. The envelope it came in deceptively hid the real weight of the contents, carrying the immense expectations caused by bold announcements made early in the development process, and aspirations focusing too much attention on the ability of a single game to define a hardware cycle.

From my own detached position I expected something Silent Hill sans the sickly sexualized horror that has kept the genre neatly niche. Perhaps I expected the kind of game Sierra might have made, following in a more accessible Gabriel Knight / Phantasmagoria vein.

It wasn’t going to be that simple however, the game somehow resisting the temptation to hover around the sun on the wax wings of hype, instead creating an experience that defends the existence of authoritative narrative in an era of open world desires, bringing along play mechanics that directly feed out of and back into the written words that pull players deeper down the rabbit hole.


May 19, 2010

An Early Postcard From Bright Falls

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 2:02 pm

Alan Wake
I’m only three chapters into Alan Wake and I’m already a happy camper in the town of Bright Falls. That could still change before I reach the ending, and I’ve found a few things that are entertaining for the wrong reasons.

For instance, as Alan explores the woods of Bright Falls at night, sudden gusts of darkness will sweep in with violent winds that give a heads up to imminent danger. Of course these are triggered when the player reaches a certain area, and being a curious jerk I’ve spent too much time walking back and forth to trigger it on occasion, like a kid continually pressing his foot against a squeaky floorboard.

While sinking deeper into the spiraling mystery the game offers, I’ve also had the chance to become addicted to a television show within the game – a Twilight Zone knock-off called “Night Springs” that must be good, because I’ve completely stopped to watch two episodes in full – the entire concept of Quantum Suicide is gold by the way.


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