Updated Thu, Oct 31, 2013 by Martuk
All good horror writers are capable of crafting an atmosphere filled with untold terrors from the darkest corners of their mind. But what happens when those terrors take control and have you writing a horror that is really happening, turning your words into the instruments of death and horror. In a sense that is partly the premise of Alan Wake.
Without going too deep into spoiler territory, Alan Wake is one of those games that I recommend every horror fan check out. Remedy shows a command of their craft with Alan Wake, creating both an atmospheric horror gem and an intriguing story, one of which comes with the odd twist of revealing itself to the player through pages found hidden throughout the world. The pages, part of a manuscript, often tell the player what’s going to happen just before it actually does. And to Remedy’s credit that just makes things even creepier.
Finding a random page in the woods after fleeing from things trying to make you one of the living impaired may seem a bit odd, but this odd feature lends itself well to the horror atmosphere. One minute you're basking in the light of safety, remembering its detailed description of hw you eluded the shadowy terrors chasing you through the forest to the safe haven. But then a feeling of dread will slowly wash over you as you recall the second half of the page, where the lights go out and the shadows return. And just as you recall that passage, the lights begin to flicker. Luckily, you brought your flashlight...right?
And that’s one of the many things that makes Alan Wake fun, that and the fact that darkness itself is even a villain, giving you a good incentive to actually go into the light. That's a Poltergeist reference so watch the movie if you had to look it up. You're welcome.
You can play the original Alan Wake or its standalone spinoff Alan Wake: American Nightmare. American Nightmare is its own game and doesn't require that you've played the original to know what's going on, but I do recommend both if you're a fan of the horror game.