Home > Memories, Xbox > Alan Wake- Anatomy of a Nightmare

Alan Wake- Anatomy of a Nightmare

“O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams”- Hamlet Act 2 Sc2 ln 273-275

Alan Wake is a different type of game.  It is unlike any other game in that its main appeal is in the story telling element and narration.  When it comes to grasping the full nature of the story this is not a game for the feeble-minded. However, I cannot say the same for the game play.  The game play is extremely simple and I am not challenged with puzzles or variation in the way you approach the enemies.

Shine the light. Shoot. Run for daylight…

However, the story is what makes this game worth playing.  As a married man, gaming has been reduced to late hours and sometimes playing a game like Alan Wake in the late hours is not so smart.

What was that noise?
Was that the game or am I hearing things?
Was it in my mind?

I am still not finished with the game and I am trying to figure out if the story is in Alan Wake’s mind or if all the madness is really happening to him in this small town of Bright Falls.  If you haven’t finished the game, don’t worry;  there are no spoilers in the Beleaguered Gamer blog.  I like to promote the video game economy and not cast a rock in the river of progress by giving away endings to games.

Are you into reading suspense thrillers? Then this game is for you.  If you enjoyed Heavy Rain, the cinematic cut scenes and the excellent story is very similar.

As far as I know, this is the first game that features a writer as the protagonist.  After playing the games for a couple of hours, I found myself narrating the most mundane details in my life.  “I just put the game into my Xbox.  Each time I turn on my Xbox, there is a terrorizing feeling I get as I hope this isn’t the system initiation that will cause the dreaded ‘Red Ring of Death’. ”

Playing Alan Wake inspired me to look at my own nightmares to see what really frightens me as I sleep.

San Diego fiar will try to Scare you.

Picture taken at San Diego Fair. Fair is promoting their Halloween event. Do massive aliens in tattered clothes scare you?

I remember a nightmare when I was age 7.  It was a reoccurring nightmare where I always knew when it began and I would also know how to make myself wake up seconds before I’d get pulverized.

The dream started with me outside the house. Suddenly, I would hear a rumbling.  The rumbling grew louder and louder as the intensity of the earth trembling increased.  Within time, I realized the source of the tremors was a giant.  He wasn’t scary looking.  As he looked a lot like the giant in the Disney version of Jack and the Beanstalk, (Blame Disney for my childhood horrors?). However, his sheer size and destructive nature caused  a panic in my neighborhood.  I recall him picking up trees and cars off the ground as if they were weightless.  The giant stood at approximately 150 feet.  For some reason, in mist of the chaos he caused, he targeted me.  As I ran into our house, I hid where any other 7-year-old would hide; in my closet.  I then heard the giant tear down my house piece by piece until the only thing that remained was me in my bedroom closet.  He picked up the remaining portion of the house, foundation and all, and all I could see through the crack of my closet door was a giant eye peeking at me.  This was the point when I woke up.

Last night I had a nightmare.  It wasn’t the type where you wake up in cold sweats, but it was still strange and eerie.  I recall being at my grandmothers’ house and the entire family was there.  For some reason, I was out on a bike ride with my cousin in the neighborhood and noticed a small blimp overhead traveling at a snails pace.  As we reached home my cousin and I relaxed on the front yard grass.  Then something evil happened.


Montgomery-Waller in San Diego and also the setting of my most recent nightmare.

It’s like the sky swallowed up the light and we were overcome with darkness.   All of the clouds began to turn dark and we heard thunder but there was no rain nor significant winds.  I just stared up into the darkening sky and I felt the urgent need to go inside.  As I made my way into the house, I caught a glimpse of something flying overhead and on fire.  At first glance, it appeared to be a low cloud with flames shooting out of it.  This did not make sense to me. So I retracted away from the house to get a better look.  I noticed it was the blimp sputtering in the air with engines on fire. I saw that the blimp was above the large park, (Montgomery-Waller), which is located behind my grandmothers’ house.  It was heading right towards the open space before the little league baseball fields.  The blimp crashed landed very slowly.  So slow that the 3 passengers were able to leap out before the blimp hit the ground.

Nightmare in the 92154

The blimp crash landed safely. Luckily in my dream the grass was not as dry or else a fire storm would have consumed the town.

I looked up the hill and saw the passengers running away towards the Wing.  “They made it out! Look!”, I screamed at my cousin as I pointed to let him know that they were alright.  Then I had a very bad feeling inside me and I slowly turned around.  I saw a large commercial airliner looming slowly towards us.  There was one problem, my grandma does not live in an area with low flying airplane traffic.  The planes’ engine was on fire and a piece of the left tail fell into the residential areas a few blocks ahead of us. The rest of the plane was heading right towards the park.

I ran inside because I felt that planes were just going to start falling from the sky.  My aunt and grandma where in the house oblivious to the horrors that were going on outside.  I recall my aunt blabbing about something her nephew did.  My aunt always likes to joke and I am usually patient waiting for the punchline, but this time I just rudely interrupted and told her (in broken Spanish) “Los aviones estan cayendo del cielo (The planes are falling from the sky).”  I remember looking for my wife and having the sudden urge to get home.  I wanted to be home in case my house was pummeled by a falling aircraft.  I don’t recall the drive home, but as I got home, the last thing I remember before I woke up was checking my garage. There was a years supply of soda in it.  It looked like a large retail store stocked with the essential junk food.  Then I awoke and wrote this blog.

Did playing Alan Wake cause me to have nightmares?  It’s debatable, but the game did make me think of my own personal nightmares.

Do I recommend Alan Wake? My friend, who we call Marletes (aka Killa Chef on Xbox Live), asked me, “So how is Alan Wake?”

I shrugged and said, “Eh, it’s OK.  I’ll let you borrow it if you want.”

I couldn’t bring myself to tell a friend to buy this game.  It’s a great story and I think it reaches a different audience that video games try to attract.  With its complex story telling and collegiate-like narrating, it makes for great entertainment.  However, the game play is a little lacking.  It gets really repetitive fighting with what appears to be the same ghost.  Sometimes it’s a variation of the “blue-collar” worker, and sometimes they are bigger and feature more menacing weapons like a chainsaw.  There was even a point where I fought a flock of demon crows.  However, the same technique of aim the flashlight at the enemy and then shoot gets really repetitive.  The only thing that kept me going was wanting to see how the story unfolded.

If you feel your life is lacking because you don’t have quality nightmares at night, then perhaps you should buy Alan Wake.  Maybe it will inspire some cool ones for you.  However, if you are the type to shy away from suspense novels and horror films because your dreams are already hellish nightmares that will have you waking up in cold sweats, then perhaps you want to stay away from this game and buy something like Mario Galaxy.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: