I love Alan Wake, for the same reason a lot of people found it mediocre. Alan Wake is a third-person action (shooter?) game. Alan Wake, a writer of a thriller series, goes on vacation to a lake house, only to be haunted by shadowed entities that remind him of his own works. He can expose and destroy these entities by shining a flashlight at them. That’s mostly all you need to know about it for what I want to talk about today.
It is a good game. It is very crisp, and it feels like playing an episode of The Twilight Zone. Were it not for good game design it probably wouldn’t be on the ULTRA. But what I really like about this game is that it is truly a simple game about fighting the darkness, both outside and within.
I don’t feel like Alan Wake is that psychological, but it’s what defeating darkness within sometimes feels like. It feels helpless and frustrating (not game design-wise, just for Mr. Wake). It feels like we’re in an episode of a TV show we can’t get out of. Ultimately, it’s a fight of light and darkness. We can also mean that literally because of his flashlight.
I remember when my brother and I were so excited for Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, and we were watching the trailer. In the trailer Raynor says, “Because the one thing I know; some things are just worth fighting for.” And I remember my brother saying something about how that is so, so cheesy. I love cheesy things, and over time I’ve learned why I love cheesy things like that line or the fight between light and darkness. I love cheesy things because they’re the most real, and Alan Wake emphasizes that in an age where we’re supposed to be so unique in themes.
The struggle against ourselves and knowing what is light in our lives is real. That’s a real thing. Knowing what you fight for? That’s real. “I’m doing this because I love you”? I need that. I wonder if the reason we don’t like cheesy things sometimes is because they remind us of what is real. This is why I love Alan Wake. We’re just some random person fighting to find their way out of the darkness.
Isn’t that what most of us want to do? We want to be a light to those around us. We want to truly find light and what is good in all the travails of life and use it to banish the darkness. When it comes to those that we love, isn’t that what we want to do for them? It’s cheesy, but it’s true, and Alan Wake embraces it. That is one of the big reasons why I love the game.
Alan Wake is #116 on the ULTRA. I hope that we can all endeavor to be a light in the darkness especially during these strange times. Thanks for reading, I’ll see you next time.