Just a question for the creators of the game before beginning: do you think that a writer who doesn’t drink is a credible character? I am still thinking on it.
I must confess I have one of the most bored works in the world and, maybe because it, I had to fill my time with stupid hobbies like collecting pipes, drinking (surprise, surprise, a writer who drinks!) or, sometimes, playing video-games. I began to play this kind of games when I was a child, with my old and nice ZX-Spectrum. If you are young or you didn’t enjoy that marvelous primitive computer, I must say it was like a simple calculator with a memory of 48K. You had to load games in five or ten minutes with a cassette that sometimes works and sometimes didn’t. It was part of the party: you never knew when a game would work but… As Sam sang, as time goes by… and we had the new processors and the 386… 586… and we could play very better games like the first part of Doom or the first Quake. It was the begging of shooters, a genre that you can explain with the sentence ‘shoot to everything that moves’.
When I was at the University (most time, at its bar drinking and smoking… I could find the library, sorry) I discovered the graphic adventures, another genre of video-games that tried to introduce you in a complete story featuring the main character in your own movie… or even novel?
I played in those times great games like Faust or Monkey Island… titles plenty of sense of humor and stories than caught you from the first moment. Years later and better graphic processors let us see more powerful games and the world of graphic adventures like the game I began play today: Alan Wake. I really love this game… its shadows and atmosphere, its gameplay and its cut scenes. The main character is a writer. I need to say it twice, sorry: the protagonist is a writer. Why? This is a very good idea of the programmers of Remedy Entertainment: they find the mix between total madman and an intelligent guy who can solve the mystery (I am still playing, I don’t know what kind of mystery, sorry again).
It’s a weird thing that writers use to be main characters in movies or novels and, now, in the video-games. Of course, our life is not exactly as you can see in the movies: I know I drink whisky and smoke, but many of them are bored people who have children and ride on bikes on Saturdays (not my case, I insist: I drink, smoke, fight… and I would be able to be Hemingway’s best friend). Anyway, I know the known character of the writer is a man who has several neurotic problems and doesn’t feel fine with the real and boring world.
Let’s back to the game: the character is a writer and the story has surreal pokes since it’s beginning. Of course, you can feel the presence of Stephen King everywhere and every time, but the game uses some literary techniques to introduce the gamer more and more into the plot.
Talking about other things, the play with lights and shadows are one of the best I’ve ever seen.
Of course, and because I am a real writer and not only a character of a video-game, I know the end of the story but (please be calm, Remedy team) I won’t tell you it here. I finish saying thanks to Remedy for this game. Maybe, just maybe, I won’t spend all night drinking again and I will try to discover the secrets of this story. At least, I will feel like a famous writer for several hours… not like Henri Chinaski night after night.
**You can also read the serial novel by Martin Cid at Yareah magazine: Fake Game http://yareah.com/?p=1846