By Shamus Posted Wednesday May 23, 2012

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 209 comments

Link (YouTube)

For those that asked why my audio is so exceptionally awful: So my old headset died. Well, the headphones died. The microphone still worked. Then I got a new one. And it was horrible. It sounded like I was shouting through a megaphone to broadcast over AM radio to a PA system in a concrete warehouse.

This may very well be the worst headset I’ve ever owned. We picked it up at the dollar store and I still feel like I was ripped off. Even the speakers are terrible and tinny. How can headphone speakers be tinny? I’ve never even had that problem before. If you asked my to make headset speakers that sounded like this I wouldn’t know where to begin. I’d need a bunch of expensive audio equipment to deliberately isolate and block out selected ranges.

They’re even uncomfortable. They manage to push too hard on my ears, they feel ridiculously flimsy, and yet they still manage to slide off my head somehow. Do you realize how hard it would be to engineer something to behave this way? If it’s lightweight and grabs the head, then it shouldn’t have any problems staying in place.

I hate them, but at the same time I can’t help but admire the dedication and ingenuity that went into making them this bad.

To mitigate the awfulness of the new mic, I wore the broken headset around my neck to use that microphone and the horrible headset on my head to use the earphones. As a result, I couldn’t hear myself properly and my mouth kept moving relative to the mic. The result is so bad you’ll almost wish Rutskarn would sing loud enough to drown me out.

Also, we’re at the slump section of the game, where the story has run out of energy and the game is force-feeding you a double helping of combat. You might remember that the “slump” in our BioShock series was when things got ugly.

So, between the late-game slump and the audio problems, this is going to be a rough week.


From The Archives:

209 thoughts on “Alan Wake EP18: ARE YOU READY TO ROCK?

  1. silver Harloe says:

    I like how he’s already picking the place clean _as_ he asks if anyone is here. Sure, abandoned stuff is up for grabs, but what if someone said, “yes, what are you doing in my home?”

    1. ps238principal says:

      Video game logic would dictate that one of those present would have to die, the winner getting the spoils.

      1. Alex says:

        “Hi, don’t mind me rummaging through your cabinets for herbs, but have you seen a man in a black cape?”

  2. ps238principal says:

    I do have to ask the panel: Why are we perfectly willing to say Alan Wake is an awful writer, attributing the bad story to his lack of any basic talent, yet the difficulty driving is somehow the game’s fault?

    Based on his other flaws, I find it quite believable that Alan Wake can’t drive worth beans as well. In fact, if you look at all of the other things he seems to do (tripping over nothing, being hurt by stationary objects, not noticing that he’s standing in fire), one could see how the game could be simulating what it’s like to be so cluelessly self-absorbed with one’s own internal voice that bad things just seem to “happen” to one for no apparent reason.

    Though, I suppose, blaming the world for his difficulties and frustrations would be in-line with Wake’s character.

    In conclusion, I love coffee. And so do you.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Yes you do,you just dont know it yet.

        1. Destrustor says:

          I don’t drink the stuff, BUT I STILL LOVE IT.

          1. Mr Guy says:

            I love it, but I’m not IN love with it.

    1. Ambitious Sloth says:

      There’s bad driving and then there’s bad driving physics. Spinning 180 degrees after colliding with post that was also knocked over by you driving into it. That’s of the later. It’s just not how physics works (The post would be carried with you).

      So yeah, I guess you can attribute the bad physics to Alan’s writing but it’s just so far out of place and screwy to make sense. Even with in the story’s internal rules it seems more like some bit of overlooked game design.

      1. Alex says:

        “And then I drove around like a complete idiot for 5 minutes…”

        1. Vic 2.0 says:

          The irony is everywhere! If you drove around for five minutes or longer at any point in Alan Wake… that was all you!

    2. Moewicus says:

      I don’t get how Wake is supposed to be this great tool for the Dark Presence to use, but is also supposed to be a bad writer. Then again, how much of this evaluation of Wake is coming from the manuscript pages, which Wake is writing? Hm.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        Keep in mind that he wrote an almost complete manuscript in one week’s time.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Yes,yes,and there have been literary geniuses who wrote good things in such a short time.In fact,was it honore the balzac who was churning out a book a day?Also remember that during that week alan needed no sleep.

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            Well, those guys aren’t the norm. And the darkness was partially inhibiting him, else he would not have to write in his escape.

            None of this excuses the way the game designs chose to tell the story, but it is worth noting.

            1. Vic 2.0 says:

              I thought they did a very good job at telling the story. What did you think was so bad that it needed to be “excused”?

          2. Vic 2.0 says:

            “Keep in mind that he wrote an almost complete manuscript in one week's time.”

            “Yes,yes,and there have been literary geniuses who wrote good things in such a short time.In fact,was it honore the balzac who was churning out a book a day?Also remember that during that week alan needed no sleep.”

            I don’t recall when and where it stated that he didn’t need sleep, but even assuming that’s true,

            There’s just no way of comparing Honoré de Balzac’s work with what you seem content to call Alan’s. At least Honoré could write what he wanted at the pace he wanted. It was his project and he could even choose where to write it and regulate his emotions and mental state to allow it. All these things are needed for a work of art; Alan had none of it. It’s even strongly implied in the game that he wasn’t even “aware” (whatever this means) the vast majority of the time he was in the cabin. You’re reaching.

        2. Amnestic says:

          The total word count for the manuscript pages in game is about 7550 which doesn’t seem that much at all. Something most writers could knock out over a few days I would wager. 7500 words over a week (1000~/day?) doesn’t seem that impressive ;p

          It also reads terribly if you just go straight start to finish.

          I honestly don’t know whether to put that down to a game design perspective or yet more evidence of Alan Wake being a terrible, terrible writer.

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            Presumably, the version we see is the abridged version. There’s simply no way they could have an unedited, full-size novel in a video game. Every old JRPGs had the player’s only read like one paragraphs from books.

            And first drafts are rarely ever good. It often takes a good edit or ten to get a book up and running. I mean, I doubt the first draft of Shamus’s novel was anywhere near ready to publish. (Not bashing, just speculating.)

            Of course, this doesn’t excuse the manuscript at all. Even if it was supposed to be bad, that’s a pretty bad decision. I’m chalking up the way it’s written to the writers writing it with the player in mind (as a tool to deliver exposition and foreshadowing) as opposed to writing it as a novel that somebody realistically would publish. I truly don’t think it’s indicative of Alan’s writing skills at all. That’s just a joke in the comments that grew to be popular.
            At least in American Nightmare, the manuscripts are both better written and more useful.

            1. Michael says:

              To be fair, you could absolutely fit a full novel’s worth of text into a modern game. Text itself is pretty easy to store. Used to be they’d have you reading the text because they couldn’t cram it into 32kb of storage. Now when we’re talking 6gb (or whatever the 360 disks end up being), that’s ridiculously easy.

              The font and texture for the manuscript pages probably takes up more space than the content of all the manuscript pages in the game (though I don’t really want to do the grunt work to verify this).

              1. X2Eliah says:

                Yes, but nobody would read it and people like Shamus would (rightly) complain that what the hell were the developers thinking when stuffing a full novel inside a game, the idiots.

                There is already an incredibly strong swaying against these manuscripts from pretty much all the cast. How much worse would it be if the text was 10x longer?

                1. Syal says:

                  Exactly. Just because every book on the shelf can be book-length doesn’t mean it would be a good idea.

                  Besides, I thought the insinuation was that everything that wasn’t specifically read was acted out by Wake in-game. Which means you would also have the problem of “Durr Hurr, the text didn’t mention when I threw all my flares at the wall to try to catch them in my teeth!”

                  1. Thomas says:

                    I mean guys, they call them ‘pages’ when they’re actually a paragraph. There is clearly some game/story segregation going on here. Besides the aim of the manuscripts is to drop feed the player bits of interest exactly at the right moment of relevance (Which is actually given an in-story explanation, which was a pretty cool thing to do) and that conflicts with the ‘write a novel’ interests anyway.

                  2. Peter H. Coffin says:

                    Just because every book on the shelf can be book-length doesn't mean it would be a good idea.

                    To me this sounds like an exceedingly GOOD idea. There’s thousands and thousands of out-of-copyright novels, textbooks, books of government statutes, patent applications, mail-order catalogs, etc. out there. It would take very little coding to effectively make EVERY book in a game not only readable but consistent and unique within the game itself.

                    1. X2Eliah says:

                      If it is optional, non-mandatory for plot understanding, and lore-compliant in universe, then yeah it works.

                      Like in Skyrim/Oblivion/Morrowind.

                      If it is spread as glowy collectible pages on linear corridors that you must read to get the plot, then hell no.

                    2. Moewicus says:

                      For games with a heavy emphasis on dreams, one could write a PoMo generator-type program with algorithms picking words based on the book’s topic. That way, even the books would reflect the theme and convey the weirdness of the game.

                      Dwarf Fortress now or someday will have books in it generated by this general kind of method, though I don’t know how long they’ll be.

                    3. Vic 2.0 says:

                      “If it is optional, non-mandatory for plot understanding, and lore-compliant in universe, then yeah it works.

                      Like in Skyrim/Oblivion/Morrowind.

                      If it is spread as glowy collectible pages on linear corridors that you must read to get the plot, then hell no.”

                      The manuscripts are not necessary for understanding the plot. Everything you need to know is told to you in the narration and various cutscenes.

                      And the game explains exactly why the manuscripts are spread out. Zane is trying to deliver them to the right locations, so as to warn Alan of what’s ahead. Sometimes he’s successful, sometimes he isn’t. But either way it all “works” just fine.

                2. MadHiro says:

                  The script for Planescape: Torment has approximately 800,000 words. If they made the manuscript ten times longer, it would still be less than one tenth of the words in Planescape.

                  I’m thinking the negative reaction here has more to do with how generally crap the writing is, rather than the -length-.

                  1. X2Eliah says:

                    And yet they are covering this game and not Planescape. Weird, eh?

                  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    Yes,but planescape:torment is non-linear,and plethora of stuff is optional.Alan wake is linear and much shorther.Furthermore,bunch of those 800000 words is dialogue,which is delivered by voice alone in alan wake(unless you turn on the subtitles).

                    1. Thomas says:

                      Also Planescape is party based ish and it’s gameplay general involves looking at things (described by words instead of an actual in game image) and talking to people

          2. anaphysik says:

            This makes me curious to know how many words the codex pages from a game like Mass Effect comprise.

          3. Vic 2.0 says:

            How bout chalking it up to “our” own senseless assumptions? Now, it says there are presumably hundreds of manuscript pages lying about in The Alan Wake Files, but we shouldn’t have to be told that. After all, if he’s living out what’s written, and not everything we experience in the game has a corresponding manuscript that is also made available to us, it makes sense that there are many pages still lost.

            Altogether, there is no reason to say Alan Wake is a bad writer, given the circumstances under which he was made to write the manuscript. Time limits, demands from someone other than the author and the story itself, a scattered and fearful state of mind, none of this is conducive to creativity. Furthermore, for anyone who’s missed the point of the manuscript, it’s a very practical one. At no point was it meant to be a work of art. Judging Alan as a writer based on the manuscript only shows the critic’s own poor judgement/memory.

    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

      No,its the game to be blamed here.I had one of my cars destroyed because I got caught on nothing while trying to charge a bunch of enemies.Actual nothing,just grass all around me.

      1. ps238principal says:

        My attempt at satirical observation has apparently failed.

        I’m trying to put forth the humorous idea that Alan has a lot of qualities similar to Homer Simpson who can cause wide swaths of destruction because his own abilities are sub-par yet can then walk away unscathed, either blaming the tools he used for said mayhem or ignoring the results completely and moving on.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Sorry,it was just my frustration with the car oozing out.

        2. Michael says:

          I thought you were trying to say Alan’s shitty writing was to blame for the poor vehicle physics… which on it’s face is pretty goddamn hilarious.

          1. Vic 2.0 says:

            Particularly because there is no “Alan’s shitty writing” to begin with. The manuscript was practically written by the dark presence.

    4. Even says:

      It’s curious enough that they actually made the effort to make each car behave a little different. Sadly you’d have to be either a really bad driver or somehow able to defy laws of physics to get a rear-wheel drive car sliding like that on freaking dry gravel, let alone off-road, on those speeds. It’d make some sense if it was winter, but alas.

    5. Vic 2.0 says:

      Ohh, what irony. “I keep crashing and losing control of the vehicle. Now I know it’d be silly to blame that on the game… Let’s blame it on Alan’s poor driving skills!”

      “if you look at all of the other things he seems to do (tripping over nothing,”

      Never seen that. But given how much time he’s on his feet either walking or running, all in unfamiliar territory, in the forest, in the dark; I think we should be more honest with ourselves: We’da tripped far more times than any of us have seen Alan trip.

      “being hurt by stationary objects, not noticing that he's standing in fire), one could see how the game could be simulating what it's like to be so cluelessly self-absorbed with one's own internal voice that bad things just seem to ‘happen’ to one for no apparent reason.”

      An interesting interpretation, even if it is quite disingenuous.

  3. Keredis says:

    I’m willing to say it: There is no game that would not be improved by a segment that involves fighting zombies via a heavy metal concert.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:


            1. Destrustor says:

              Yep. now let’s just replace the ending of mass effect 3 with a huge heavy metal showdown between Shepard and the reapers/star child.

                  1. Alex the Too Old says:

                    But there’s no REASON for them to be in sp-


              1. Even says:

                That would make it too easy for the Reapers to win. Shepard ain’t got no affinity for that kind of thing. Those machine screeches alone give them the edge.

                Or who knows, maybe a full renegade Shep can channel his inner demons to unleash his own brand of space magic through badass heavy metal to shred the Reapers to bits.

                1. Syal says:

                  Or just hit them with the guitar.

                  It worked for Deadly Premonition.

                  1. ps238principal says:

                    El Kabong!!!

              2. MatthewH says:

                Agreed! I wouldn’t find the red ending nearly so annoying if I got to smash a guitar!

                Of course, this has more to do with subtracting a finite number from an infinite one, but still!

    1. Dasick says:

      Like their choice of tactics against the forces of Evil. Especially considering that the masses link METAL to satanism.

      METAL. The sound of the Palladin.

      1. Keredis says:

        Funny you should mention Paladins… Hammerfall’s video for Hearts on Fire is basically the Most Triumphant Example of using Metal to fight the undead, and their mascot Hector basically is a Paladin. Complete with a Warhammer of Disruption.

        1. MatthewH says:

          Given the enemy we are fighting, and the prevalence of the Power of Love and the Power of Rock in stories -hack or otherwise -I think this link is obligatory.

          Warning, you may never see again.

          1. Destrustor says:

            You need to be removed from this reality. Do you know how many souls you’ve just tainted?

          2. Dasick says:

            Power of HEAVY METAL. That’s all caps m-e-t-a-l.

            Very different from … whatever the hell that unholy abomination is.

            Also love isn’t lust.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              “Also love isn't lust.”

              It is according to pop songs and twilight.

            2. Ambitious Sloth says:

              That is… a loving parody of glam rock?


          3. anaphysik says:

            I will admit that a giant tetrachelipedal space crab is kind of neat.

    2. X2Eliah says:

      And yet Brutal Legend was, in the end, a pretty mediocre/bad game.

      1. Keredis says:

        Just imagine how much worse it would have been without the Power of Rock….

        1. X2Eliah says:

          Probably “Wilted Legend”, I guess. Or “Hippity-Hoppity Legend”.

            1. ps238principal says:

              If it had Weird Al as the protagonist, it would have been game of the year.

              I want this game, now.

      2. Grudgeal says:

        I maintain Brutal Legend would have been pretty good on PC: It would have been a not-as-good Sacrifice with a metal theme and a lot of annoying minigames. Naturally, of course, the developers decide *not* to release it on the platform that could actually have given it a good control sceme.

    3. Alex says:

      @Keredis: Left 4 Dead 2 had a zombie rock concert.

      It sucked anyway.

  4. ps238principal says:

    And Mumbles needs to stop telling Rutskarn “you know nothing,” because that’s making things really weird if you’ve read/watched “Game of Thrones.”

    If nothing else, it’s needlessly giving the fanfic writers material.

    1. Milos says:

      “You know nothing, Rutskarn. Let’s go back to the campfire.”

      *Rutskarn blushes*

      (To be honest I didn’t really notice it during the episode.)

      1. Mumbles says:

        Admittedly, I had watched her debut episode that weekend.

    2. Littlefinger says:

      Great. Now I’m going to think about that EVERY TIME!

    3. LunaticFringe says:

      Not going to lie, Mumbles being a free folk (or a spear wife) makes too much sense.

    4. Mr Guy says:

      There must always be a Stark in the Moonbase.

      1. Michael says:

        I believe you may have gotten your fandoms crossed.

        1. Syal says:

          Don’t cross the fandoms!

      2. Galad says:

        Tony Stark representin’! *pops a champagne bottle*

  5. Sleeping Dragon says:

    Out of sheer curiosity, was I the only one who didn’t exactly like this fight? I didn’t even die (enough times to cause frustration) during it but it somehow didn’t trigger that “this is awesome!” thing for me. I don’t know if it was a too long gaming session and I was tired of combat or if it’s just a matter of taste but it just felt like another combat sequence I had to go through only with added fireworks.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      And a bitching soundtrack.Dont forget the bitching soundtrack.

      I too was very tired of the combat by this point,but I liked this setting mostly because of the bitching soundtrack.

      1. ps238principal says:

        Can I put in a request for a Bitchin’ Camaro?

    2. Even says:

      “it just felt like another combat sequence I had to go through only with added fireworks.”

      I felt pretty much the same way. Initially it’s like “Whow, alright!”, but then it stops being impressive when it’s just the same combat all over again. It’s not a bad scene per se, it just didn’t feel as spectacular as it tries to be. I really would blame it on the dull gameplay because it does wear you out after a while. It doesn’t help that they just throw you at it and boom it’s on without much forewarning. The concert in L4D2 works because you have the time to prepare and take in the scenery. If they’d let you have a brief moment to explore around the stage with Barry I think it would have made for a better build up.

      On a side note, I think the music track would work better if the singer put a little more gruff to his singing. It just feels too soft to properly fit the rest of the sounds.

      1. Thomas says:

        They could have made the fireworks have more of a gameplay impact too. Instead of soaking it could have been more about quickly taking down the depleted shields when they went off, or surviving and moving around to catch enemies in the flashes

    3. dovius says:

      I admit that the only reason that I liked this event the first time around was because the song sucked me in, combined with the general awesomeness of fighting Zombies with the Power of Rock. On replays it was a lot more meh than the first time.

    4. Vic 2.0 says:

      I really enjoyed the scene, actually. Obviously, it has more impact on your first playthrough because you’re not expecting it, but it’s always fun to me. Last time, I intentionally hopped off the stage and fought the Taken in the field away from the lights. I was surprised when it actually worked out (though it was obviously more challenging).

      Nothing felt “samey” to me, even the combat itself, mainly because I had spent the last half-hour or so either merely running away from the Taken or running them over. The developers did an amazing job at keeping the pace interesting and pulling you into one environment after another.

      1. MichaelGC says:

        “the developers”

  6. Jake Albano says:

    I’m playing through on Nightmare mode without reloading any batteries, so I have to be a little sneakier about flashlight use. I found out that you can just run past the claw truck into the safe haven and it explodes spectacularly.

  7. newdarkcloud says:

    I think it might be telling that all of the credits titles Josh gives everybody have already been explained only halfway through this week. Hopefully I’m wrong and the next two episodes are good.

    Also, I found the meta-joke midway through the episode to be hilarious. But if what’s said on Spoiler Warning comes true, does that mean that Chris truly was on Season One? Was he there the entire time? Was my memory wrong?
    How can this bee?

    1. Dragomok says:

      How can this bee?

      No, no, NOOOOOOOO!

      Back, back to the fires of Hell, abomination, before you summochime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime chime

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        You know, if you don’t like my puns, you can just buzz off.
        Critics these days. They’re always so harsh.

        1. RTBones says:

          Indeed. Critics should know that such scathing retorts do sometimes sting.

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            I don’t expect them to always honey their words. But some need to just hive a heart and layoff the insults.

            1. X2Eliah says:

              Ye gods, the punners are swarming in here.

              1. Even says:

                I’ve heard that getting hit by one can cause death if you’re allergic.

                1. newdarkcloud says:

                  Don’t bee ridiculous. We don’t want to hit anyone. We just want to pollinate the world with puns.

                  1. Dragomok says:

                    Is that a flowery way of saying… Erm…

                    Nope, still hopeless at puns.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Like Ive said,Chris is just Randy in disguise.Or maybe Randy was Chris in disguise?Hmmm…

      1. Destrustor says:

        It’s all moot anyway. Every host ever is a figment of Josh’s twisted schizophrenic psyche. True story.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Josh is alan wake.

          1. Ambitious Sloth says:

            This works too well… I’m scared now.

            1. Dasick says:

              Does that mean that Josh wrote in, effectively creating, Destructor so that he can recieve that clue?!

              Is my whole life the result of meta-trolling on Josh’s part so that I can provide analysis???

              Hold me, I’ma scared!! :S

  8. Moewicus says:

    1. The way Josh Wake keeps stumbling in the first two minutes keeps reminding me of Young Frankenstein. “Walk this way.”

    2. It occurs to me that Alan Wake is a bigger game, spatially, than Body Harvest on the 64 (not that Rutskarn knows anything about Nintendo). At the least, its linear journey seems to be longer than that of Body Harvest.

    3. I have been watching Twin Peaks, totally not because of this season (I swear (no really (okay, I’m lying))) and, despite what Mumbles prepared me for, I was surprised by how much Alan Wake echoes the show. Even the term “Dark Presence” is cribbed from the show. It also occurs to me that the way the game tries to switch out wacky and tense scenes is an attempt to mimic the show, but just winds up failing.

    4. Good lord, that stage scene is awesome. Barry is right: that would be the pinnacle of any person’s life.

    5. Coffee? I love coffee!

    1. Rodyle says:

      I keep wondering if the coffee you find is some (badly implemented) reference to MacLachlan’s character in Twin Peaks.

      1. Moewicus says:

        I didn’t even think about Agent Cooper’s love of coffee.

        That man knows how to live.

        1. Rodyle says:

          It’s a bit of a double edged sword for me to think about Agent Cooper, really. While he was a very fun character, MacLachlan also played Paul Atreides in that god-awful Dune film by David Lynch.

          1. LunaticFringe says:

            Oh come on, Dune’s completely awful, but it’s awful in a ‘so bad it’s good’ way. Everything from ‘FATHER, THE SLEEPER HAS AWOKEN’ to the Harkonnen balloon-man to Patrick Stewart pre-Star Trek is just so bizarrely hilarious.

            1. Hitch says:

              Don’t forget Sting’s shiny metallic blue Speedo. God knows I’ve never been able to. No matter how much I try.

              1. LunaticFringe says:

                Great. I had totally forgot about the Space-Speedo, but now I remember it. Thanks for that.

            2. ps238principal says:

              It still beat the SyFy mini series overall.

              Yeah, the Weirding Way was turned into a gun, but they hadn’t perfected wire-fu matrix-fighting at that point in filmmaking. The movie’s sets were better, as were the costumes, the spacing guild, and the cast. Yes, the cast, even Sting. Sting played a psychotic villain, whereas in the TV mini, Feyd was just some guy in a lame toga with a triangle on a stick coming out of his collar. And the floating movie-Baron was closer to the novel’s portrayal than the one in the mini as well. Then the music was so good from the movie version that the TV show felt it had to homage it every five seconds.

              I do wish they’d used HR Giger’s set designs (a few are rumored to appear in Prometheus) and that they’d been able to make a less abbreviated movie, but overall, I like it a LOT better than any other attempt to bring it to a screen of any size. And I say this as someone who loves it when Crow T. Robot quips “I WILL KILL HIM” or “Tell me of your homeworld, Usul.”

              As for any lingering hokey-ness, read the novel. It’s 60’s sci-fi on an epic scale, which made it pretty much sci-fantasy with all that entails. Except you had nukes, which were mandatory.

              1. LunaticFringe says:

                Oh I’ve read it, it’s definitely hokey at some points, but the movie really upped the ante on it.

    2. Hitch says:

      What’s really bad is Alan wake (like many video game characters) defaults to running all the time. I don’t know if he has a walk option. When he starts off, he drops his shoulder and takes a lurching first step before hitting his stride and running. It looks really bad when trying to follow someone else who walking, because he keeps stopping and starting so as to not run past them. It looks like he has a bad limp or he’s got some severe disability.

      1. Vic 2.0 says:

        That’s not the game, it’s the player. You have to press a button/key (or otherwise set it in your ‘Options’ menu, maybe) to change his walk to a run. And though his takeoff can be turned into a dodge by pressing that same button/key at the same moment you choose his direction, this is not hard to avoid.

        And usually when you’re meant to follow someone else, it defaults to walking with no running option.

    3. Mumbles says:

      Do you like Twin Peaks so far? It’s a hard sell with some people, but it’s one of my favorites.

      1. X2Eliah says:

        I still can’t get over the fact that an 80’s/90’s TV show was named after boobs. It’s just way too funny (By which I ofc mean it’s slightly humorous).

        1. Moewicus says:

          I don’t know if the show’s title is trading on those connotations, but there’s a Twin Peaks restaurant chain, based mostly in Texas, that very definitely does. I was disappointed to learn that its “scenic views” marketing point does not refer to poster-sized photos of Dale Cooper.

      2. Moewicus says:

        Twin Peaks is amazing. It is exactly my kind of show. I’m about half-way through it, which makes me sad that it will soon be over for me.

      3. Moewicus says:

        Now I am wondering if my reply to Mumbles didn’t nest properly, or if I clicked the wrong “reply to this” button in my sleep-deprived state.

        It’s another mystery that will be canceled before its time.

        edit: Apparently, the former.

  9. Jakale says:

    Ok, that last bit was awesome. However, I now call BS on the excuse that Alan needs to keep to the tone of the story and can’t write in bizarre “I win” stuff. I loved it, but that has to be the most tone breaking thing I’ve ever seen, after that TV commercial. If all it takes to get a completely tricked out rock concert in the middle of a farm is to claim that some old, kind of crazy, but still awesome musicians got there, set it up, and left in the time it took Alan to get there? Go nuts, dude. “Cause crazy, awesome people put it there” is clearly the perfect excuse to make your life so much easier.

    1. Nidokoenig says:

      Technically, seeing them in the asylum established who they are and what their personalities are and that they own the farm, and this isn’t totally inconsistent with that, it just turns everything up to eleven. If the coherency of the narrative was gonna break as a result of this, it would have broken at the evil bulldozers and cranes made of grim, dark and black, which makes a lot less sense than some old rockers burning their money in an awesomely stupid way.
      And he’s in a constant mental struggle to battle the darkness’ rewrites, so if he tries to set-up and foreshadow anything similarly big and effective, the darkness will fight it tooth and nail. Maybe he did this to prove to himself he could shape the manuscript in substantial ways, and from now on is going to be a little more subtle so the darkness doesn’t guess the end until the last page.

      All guesswork on my part, mind, not having played the game.

      1. Jingleman says:

        There’s ambiguity about how much of the story come’s from the manuscript’s influence on the world, of course, but I like to think that Wake had very little to do with the Anderson brothers stuff. They mirror Thomas Zane as artists who’ve tangled with the Dark Presence. I find the interplay between the brothers, Zane, and Wake more interesting if we take the view that the other artists contributed independently to Alan’s fight.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          There are a couple of manuscript pages that write out the lyrics of songs from their band. Make of that what you will.

          1. Jingleman says:

            Obviously, both the Old Gods and Zane appear in the manuscript. The ambiguity is in how much of their work existed prior to Wake, and how much was transcribed or adapted by Wake. It’s the same paradox as “Did either Zane or Alan write the other into existence?” I like to think that all three did their work independently and laid a little bit of the groundwork for the next artist/victim to come along. But, it could be that Alan created everything, from their work to their lives, just because he needed it. I don’t think that’s as interesting.

            1. Supahewok says:

              Doesn’t he meet the brothers in the diner, BEFORE he started writing the manuscript? Shouldn’t that establish that they existed independent of Wake? And also Zane, since he popped up in the dream/tutorial, before stuff went crazy?

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Its questionable though*.Do the manuscripts affect things independent of time?If so,the events could be written in at whatever point in time and they would happen retroactively.And even if we dont,it was never stated that everything wasnt just a story written by zane 30 years ago.

                *American nightmare does establish a lot about how the manuscripts influence reality,but it still left quite a lot open for interpretation.

                1. newdarkcloud says:

                  American Nightmare even openly stated that trying to figure it out will do nothing but make you insane and that people in that world should really only focus on the results of what the power of Cauldron Lake did, not when it was willed into existence.

                  Of course, it’s still fun to discuss.

                  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    “Of course, it's still fun to discuss.”

                    Especially if you dont worry about insanity mwahahaHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

      2. Vic 2.0 says:

        “Ok, that last bit was awesome. However, I now call BS on the excuse that Alan needs to keep to the tone of the story and can't write in bizarre ‘I win’ stuff. I loved it, but that has to be the most tone breaking thing I've ever seen, after that TV commercial.”

        My guess is that you are assuming they were trying to set a tone that they weren’t. The TV commercial didn’t break a tone; it came right after all the need for such a tone disappeared, because all that was left was one solitary poltergeist and you were out of the lodge. Similarly, there was no tone-breaking involved with the rock show, as all that immediately follows was a mini-puzzle in which you have to figure out how to unblock a barn door. In fact, it can be argued quite sensibly that those few times Alan is given a partner it’s more about the combat and less about the tone.

        The game cannot be blamed for your assumptions that simply don’t fit.

        “If all it takes to get a completely tricked out rock concert in the middle of a farm is to claim that some old, kind of crazy, but still awesome musicians got there, set it up, and left in the time it took Alan to get there? Go nuts, dude.”

        This was not the premise. I don’t even know where you got that. Now, the original idea Remedy had wasn’t too far off in terms of nonsense (which is why they didn’t keep it). It was going to be that Tor Anderson actually did have some control over the lightning (like the god he emulated, Thor), which if you were paying attention, you’d see was actually responsible for giving sudden power to equipment that had apparently already been switched on. It may have been Barry fiddling with the controls while waiting for Wake, or the Anderson brothers leaving it on accidentally or on purpose to give anyone who should happen to flee here from the Taken a fighting chance (After all, they seemed to have left the lights and music on at their house for the same reason). All possibilities are believable.

    2. Destrustor says:

      I’m guessing they had it set up a while before Alan got there. Probably even before they got put in the asylum thing.

      1. anaphysik says:

        Those old, decrepit bandstands? Definitely.
        Rockets, pyrotechnics, a clean sound system (not to mention lithium batteries, guns, and ammo all around)? No way. Those have to be very recent. (And if they’d had time to install those recently, you’d think they would also fix up the bandstands. Besides, my impression is that they’ve been at Hartman’s quite a while?)

        Apparently, in the future, Barry is their manager, and they go on wild crazy tours and are a big hit. Sweeeeeeeeeeeet.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          The establishing shot of them in the diner,however,says that its common for them to escape for a while and do stuff.So maybe they refill everything during their excursions.

        2. Vic 2.0 says:

          “Those old, decrepit bandstands? Definitely.
          Rockets, pyrotechnics, a clean sound system (not to mention lithium batteries, guns, and ammo all around)? No way. Those have to be very recent. (And if they'd had time to install those recently, you'd think they would also fix up the bandstands. Besides, my impression is that they've been at Hartman's quite a while?)”

          They have, but the game tells you they’ve escaped on more than one occasion. As for the bandstands, that’s very observant of you. But, it’s more suggesting they weren’t fixing the stage up for aesthetic purposes. More for survival purposes, which would explain the guns ammo.

          Apparently, in the future, Barry is their manager, and they go on wild crazy tours and are a big hit. Sweeeeeeeeeeeet.

          This is referring to the events in American Nightmare, there being some debate about whether they’re relevant to the main storyline, or just part of an irrelevant spin-off with names and concepts borrowed from the original game.

  10. Littlefinger says:

    On an unrelated note, I’m a backer for the Wasteland kickstarter. On their forum there’s a thread about including eastereggs. What do you think is a good Reginald Cuftbert easter egg?

    I’m thinking skeleton, bonnet, a multitude of empty bottles and a broken incinerator (or something similarly heavy and useless). Am I forgetting anything?

    1. Moewicus says:

      An official document certifying that its bearer is, indeed, not a mercenary.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        I take back my “obvious reasons” eulogy. THIS should be on Reginald.

      2. IFS says:

        can his corpse be outside a destroyed military base and surrounded by the remains of a vertibird/helicopter

    2. newdarkcloud says:

      In a backpack next to his corpse there should be at least 5 of every known illegal substance in the game (and even some legal substances) and a few grenades.

      Maybe a eulogy saying that he was killed for “obvious reasons”.

    3. Nidokoenig says:

      Perhaps his bullet-ridden corpse could be nailed to a bullet-ridden sign that reads “STOP SHOOTING ME!”.

      1. Jarenth says:

        No, that should be on a headstone.

        “Here lies Reginald Cuftbert.
        They stopped shooting him.”

        1. Syal says:

          “You come upon a rave. Everyone has died.”

    4. Even says:

      Add a small mountain of filled flamer fuel containers that can only be used with the broken irreparable Incinerator.

      Better yet, make it part of the gameplay and litter the gameworld with flamer fuel. Only at the very end, after the end boss is dead, let players discover this miraculous McGuffin that will let them fix it. Then roll the credits.

    5. ehlijen says:

      A tomb stone that says: Ate too much at once.

      1. Destrustor says:

        Or “couldn’t eat fast enough”

        1. Alex says:

          “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!”

    6. ps238principal says:

      Should his death be witnessed by the player? Maybe he can throw a grenade that bounces off of something and lands at his feet, resulting in said corpse.

      Also, should his muttonchops be a lootable item?

      1. Even says:

        “Should his death be witnessed by the player? Maybe he can throw a grenade that bounces off of something and lands at his feet, resulting in said corpse.”

        A grenade to the pants would seem like more appropriate.

        “Also, should his muttonchops be a lootable item?”


  11. Milos says:

    I started playing Alan Wake’s American Nightmare this evening and the good thing I noticed is how they ironed out a lot of little frustrating things, some of them mentioned on the show already, which makes the minute-to-minute gameplay a lot more enjoyable. On the other hand it’s 90% combat, but for anyone who read anything about it beforehand that was to be expected.

    I can’t comment on the story because I haven’t finished the game yet, but so far Alan’s evil twin as the arch nemesis is working out pretty well.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      I love Mr. Scratch. He’s an awesome villain.

    2. AlternatePFG says:

      Finished the whole thing, and aside from the fact that they reused the same three areas (To be fair, how they justified it was really cool and the fact that the levels changed somewhat and had new enemies made it less irritating) I didn’t have a complaint with it. Really interested in where the story is going now though, more than ever I want to see an Alan Wake 2.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Well them keeping those areas small did contain the story much better.It doesnt have any wild goose chases like the kidnapping plot in original.Plus,because those areas are all so open,they feel much bigger.Which is a nice break from the originals rails.

    3. Michael says:

      Honestly, what hasn’t been addressed here yet is the “90% combat” thing. The DLC does have an arcade mode that’s just combat, but the meat seems to be the normal story mode.

      Story mode seems to actually have less combat per story than the main game. And the combat that is there is vastly improved.

      Mostly it’s very minor things, flashlight regen has been sped up massively, substantially larger weapon selection, new enemy types, the flashlight burns through shadow armor faster.

      These sound like minor tweaks, but they fit together to make combat, well, actually interesting. There’s some genuine skill, and some room for alternate approaches to given situations.

      EDIT: It occurs to me, the Arizona desert actually makes for an easier time spotting Taken, as well. So that helps, there’s less of the “is that an enemy or a tree” that the main game had.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        And the places where you fight them are usually more open,so you have enough room to maneuver,and not get stuck in a tight corner.

        Plus,it has the best weapon from max payne:The ja…I mean,the combat shotgun.

    4. Vic 2.0 says:

      Alan Wake's American Nightmare = far too easy and lacking substance.

      The environment is truly dull with no variation except when you try to go too far off the map. At this point, you get a watered down version of the original game's environmental and sound cues for the Taken and are stopped by an invisible wall. And of course, you revisit the same three maps twice (that's three times each, all total) which I didn't mind too much but was still inferior to the original game's ever-changing environment.

      Fighting or getting away from the enemies is made too easy in a number of ways:

      1. You're given an unlimited supply of ammo on every map so there's never a worry about running out. Too much ammo was the only real flaw in the original game, and wouldn't you know it, this is what they kept.

      2. You're given semi-automatic weapons, which automatically make it just another shooter, IMO.

      3. Your flashlight battery recharges at a truly ridiculous speed, so much that you often forget that running out of power is even possible.

      4. You're given too much stamina (i.e., you can run way too far without getting tired). I get that Alan's journey up until this point seems to warrant a slight increase in stamina (if you even view this game as a sequel ““ there's some debate over that), but they just go way too far.

      5. There aren't enough enemies to fight. That's concerning the number of Taken per group and how often they spawn. You're almost encouraged to linger around any given area, because even when enemies do spawn at random, it's never enough to motivate you to get the lead out after the last (aka the second) enemy falls. People complained about there being “too many enemies” in the first one (which I disagree with) Well they got their wish; the result is a real snooze-fest.

      The writing is sub-par and the voice acting is even worse. Even the voice for Alan Wake seems just short of the talent he was when they made the first game. Basically, there is almost no sort of suspense in the game, anywhere.

      The story is fairly shallow compared to the original game's storyline (but then again, what story isn't? Hehe)

      Yes, there is more weapon and enemy type variety but none of it pulls the game above mediocre, IMO. The one thing I want to see from this game in the next installment is the “˜Fight Til Dawn' arcade mode. But it should be unlockable for those who have beaten the game, allow access to any weapon on any map (some of which should not appear in the campaign mode except maybe once briefly, if at all), and most definitely give the option for multiplayer (again, only in arcade mode).

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    And there you go,proof that alan wake was a bad writer by design.A mans dying words are “Who wrote this crap anyway”,while the writer of said events was standing above him.

    However,that doesnt mean the game is suddenly good.It still has incredibly boring combat against too many mooks.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      Part of me thinks that this was just a really bad joke that was funny to the developers… but no one else.

    2. Vic 2.0 says:

      Spoilers ahead!

      The claim that Alan’s a bad writer because the manuscript isn’t very good is just silly. The manuscript was neither Alan's project done Alan's way nor was it intended to be reviewed or published. So harping on the supposed lack of quality in the writing of the manuscript (including anything in the game you say “Alan wrote”, because that means you're assuming it's on one of the missing pages) just means that you've failed to see/remember the point of it and/or the environment in which it was written. But that’s neither here nor there. Let’s discuss the line in question:

      Looking at it as a commentary on the writing itself (knowing that some people wouldn’t get it and therefore claim it sucked), I can see the humor in that just fine. I recall some of you insisting that Dr. Hartman and the video game maniac in the lodge were commentaries on the video game developers and their critics, yet none of you want to think the same here? That perhaps Remedy was implying that their critics are like drunken bums who are never capable of being all that bright? Hmmmm…

      There are other possibilities.

      Full quote:
      “It's like a real bad follow-up to a real good movie, where the best friend's suddenly the bad guy. Who wrote this crap anyway?” and then he dies.

      Now, first, let's get this much out of the way: We have no way of knowing whether Alan actually wrote that line into the manuscript. It could've simply been Walter's personality while (presumably) drunk and possibly not even knowing he's about to die. Cursing fate as the writer of the “movie” he had just set the line up with. If Alan didn't put any lines in for this scene, we can assume the person will just say whatever they feel like saying.

      Second, if Alan did write the line into the manuscript, the claim that it was meant to be a joke of some kind makes no sense. He’s clearly not going to be in the mood for writing jokes in that environment (Not sure the dark presence would allow it anyway). And speaking of the dark presence, it wouldn’t want something like that in there as a joke or otherwise, because it could serve as a hint to whoever’s actually living out the story later.

      However, this line may indicate cleverness on Alan's part, actually. If he did in fact add that line while trapped in the cabin, perhaps it was because some part of him knew he (or someone else that's real) would have to actually live out the story, and wanted to leave this line as a hint. The way Walter sets up the line, you can't tell whether he's still comparing his fate to a movie… or now talking about the fact that someone wrote his fate into existence. This fact may have helped in sneaking it past “Barbara Jagger” in the cabin, who surely wouldn't have let Alan just write “Walter told me that I was the one who wrote the manuscript and that we were living out events I had written down.”

    3. Vic 2.0 says:

      Regarding combat, which I found very addictive:

      I don’t see how “too many” enemies could make it “boring”. If anything, they needed either more enemies or less ammo to make surviving a bit more challenging. I’m fonder of “less ammo”, personally, because I understand the need for less variety in the enemies you face. At least in this installment which is meant to be set in the “real world”.

      It’s the atmosphere in this game that’s so immersive and memorable, and that’s not created from the variety of enemies.

      And it can even make sense from an in-the-story perspective, if you think for one moment that more models of Taken = more people who have disappeared. This would also have to mean more public awareness of the phenomenon in Bright Falls and then finally, no town there at all and statewide/nationwide awareness of the region. So following this logical train of thought, perhaps the darkness is reusing the same handful of Taken. Recycling them every time they're killed, so as to keep the citizens of the area generally clueless. This would explain why they look alike, and there isn't much need to explain why there isn't some sort of monster-like attacks or maneuvering among them. The darkness is not creating monsters but possessing people who are already there. Just not enough to give its presence away to the public.

  13. Khizan says:

    Why on earth would you buy a dollar store headset? That’s just asking for trouble.

    1. Amnestic says:

      Not a ‘dollar store’ headset, but I got mine for about £7 (inc. P&P) and it’s been pretty much perfect for my gaming purposes. Sound’s decent, mic is decent, resilient to wear+tear…Only complaint I have is that the volume controls are on the cord which means that more than once I’ve accidentally muted myself when I pressed my leg against it.

      Buying discount isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

      1. Even says:

        It works only so far. Once I tried going for more high-end, there just wasn’t going back. The difference in sound quality alone is staggering the more you go up the ladder. If you’re willing to shell out a little, you can get a fairly decent all-purpose headset with a decent mic. Mine cost around 130€ and I’ve been happy with it so far.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          My inner miser is screaming about a mic costing that much.

          1. Even says:

            I would heartily agree if it was only for the mic. I’ve just gone through my own share of low-end headphones and headsets over the years only to conclude that it’s better to avoid that vicious cycle. They’re just not made to last. Experiencing the glory of a more hi-fi sound finally turned me into a believer. I was in a situation where I desperately needed new headphones plus a headset for gaming, so combining the needs felt like a good idea. 130€ isn’t even that much when compared to more hard duty hi-fi gear.

            1. Sumanai says:

              Even with high price headsets there are bad ones. I bought expensive headphones several years ago, the “leather” covering on the foam has almost completely shed and the foam covering the speaker parts slowly crumbled.

              The problem with more expensive ones is that if you choose badly, it really bites. And if you go “a little bit higher” than the cheap stuff, you can easily end up with overpriced cheap stuff. Again, I bought a headset a few years ago for 30 euro (37 USD) and they felt clunky, had bad sound and made my ears burn if used for too long. I think I gave them to my brother.

              The first is a Technics RP-F290, the latter a KOSS SB45.

              Then there’s the problem with reviews, professional or consumer. How do I know what the critic has as their baseline? How do I know if this same baseline matters to me, since my hearing could be worse? How long has he used it in a single sitting? When they claim it’s comfortable in any head, did anyone actually test them with glasses? And so on.

              My suggestion to people who don’t want to spend a lot of time looking for headphones/headsets is to buy in the 10-20 euro/dollar range. If it sucks, not much lost, if its good, you can afford to stock up.

              1. Even says:

                “The problem with more expensive ones is that if you choose badly, it really bites.”

                Yeah that’s definitely the downside to it. I’ve just gone through quite a few headphones/sets in that 20-50€ supposedly consumer friendly range and my conclusion is that they’re just various qualities of glorified rubbish. I was lucky enough to discover the exception to the rule couple years back though: A pair of KOSS Porta Pros (cost me around 50€)which have proven to be surprisingly sturdy. I use them when traveling or listening to music from my phone. They’re small enough not to be a burden but still decent enough in sound to enjoy the music.

                “Then there's the problem with reviews, professional or consumer.”

                Yeah well, to be honest I think you can only really figure it out by going to the store and testing it out if you want to be 100% sure. Not having the option available to me, I personally just went with previous experience and put my faith in the brand and the various positive reviews I’d read. And so I became the owner of a Sennheiser PC 350 headset. A little gamble, sure, but it paid off.

                “My suggestion to people who don't want to spend a lot of time looking for headphones/headsets is to buy in the 10-20 euro/dollar range. If it sucks, not much lost, if its good, you can afford to stock up.”

                There’s still the risk that you may as well end up paying more for crap quality in the long run than if you’d made the one time investment of getting something actually decent and sturdy. In the end it’s of course all relative to one’s ears and preferences, but I’d say that if you care about the sound quality at all, going for a little more high end is something you may want to consider.

                1. Sumanai says:

                  I don’t have the option to try out headphones/-sets so I would have to go by past experience. But I don’t have a lot of that either. So all I can do is research online, which is a lot of bother.

                  I agree that buying cheap can get more expensive in the long run, there’s a saying “poor can’t afford cheap” around here for a reason, but in the short run it’s possible to not be able to afford buying a bad expensive pair.

      2. Volfram says:

        Dude, a $10 headset is pretty good. It takes noise cancelling or Bluetooth to make me buy something over $15, and even at the $15 mark, it had better have some amazing sound quality.

        1. Sumanai says:

          I don’t know where you live, and I know where I live the salespeople are either overpricing or too savvy for my good, but I haven’t noticed any remarkable difference in sound quality between “cheap” (under 40 USD) headsets or headphones. It’s pretty much luck to find one that’s both comfortable and sounds decent.

          I’ve also heard, but I emphasise that I don’t have personal experience on this, that noise cancelling can have a harmful effect on cheapish headsets. Basically they might cancel things you don’t want it to and fail to cancel what you do want them to.

          But I do know a certain guideline for buying electronics: if the objects are on the lower end of the price range, there’s a small price difference and the more expensive one has “extra functionality”, like dynamic lighting, it’s most likely useless and you can ignore it safely.

    2. newdarkcloud says:

      Headsets can be a bit overpriced. I can’t blame Shamus for just heading to the nearest dollar store for a headset. Aside from this one headset, it’s clearly been working for him.

    3. Shamus says:

      A funny thing: One of my Best Headsets Ever was a $5 model. I’ve bought $30 headsets that felt cheap and died in a couple of months. I’ve bought $5 and $10 ones that have been good. Brands come and go, so I can’t just pick a brand and stick with it.

      (Also, the headset died on a Friday and we record Sunday, so we didn’t have time to wait for shipping.)

      I’m sort of suspecting that it’s all random.

      I’ve never run the numbers, but it’s entirely possible that buying piles of $10 headsets that break in X months is superior to buying $40 sets that break in X+Y months.

      1. ps238principal says:

        That equation will get really complex if your buying strategy involves purchases with “free” headsets. I’ve got two or three of those myself, though I couldn’t say for sure what they came with. Webcams, maybe?

  14. LunaticFringe says:

    For some reason I can’t see Alan McBoringpants writing something as awesome as “And then me and Barry fought off the Taken on a concert stage with flood lights, fireworks, and a light-spewing dragon while bitchin’, theme-appropiate metal played.”

    1. Hitch says:

      I can’t help but feel the Spoiler Warning crew were overly impressed by blowing up the shed. Hotblack Desiato and Disaster Area used to crash a spaceship into a sun to cause it to go supernova at the climax of their shows. That’s pyrotechnics!

      1. Newbie says:

        They also are so loud that the audience usually listens from the safe distance of thirty seven miles away in a well-built concrete bunker.

      2. dovius says:

        It wasn’t used to make the star go nova, since that would completely destroy the planet they were playing on. It was to trigger a dramatically timed solar flare.

    2. LunaticFringe says:

      *Barry and I. I am truly a terrible person. I will perform seppuku now.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Speaking of seppuku,when is the next Josh:Total carnage?

        1. Destrustor says:

          When he’s gathered enough blood from his fallen enemies.

    3. Vic 2.0 says:

      “For some reason I can't see Alan McBoringpants writing something as awesome as ‘And then me and Barry fought off the Taken on a concert stage with flood lights, fireworks, and a light-spewing dragon while bitchin', theme-appropiate metal played.'”

      He wouldn’t write “me and Barry”; he’d write “Barry and I”. Why? Because Alan Wake is a damn good writer! Check The Alan Wake Files.

      If playing this game taught you anything, it should’ve been not to jump to conclusions (like “Alan is boring”) too quickly :P :P

  15. Jarenth says:

    I like how Rutskarn goes ‘The game has legitimately stopped trying to scare us at this point’, and then only a few minutes later the game feels it has to drive the point home.

    1. Vic 2.0 says:

      What is this referencing? Well, no matter.

      Some of the scariest parts of the game are still yet to come! ;)

  16. Timelady says:

    Oh my lord. This had to have been my favorite episode yet. I cannot. Stop. Laughing.

    I’ve been waiting for you guys to reach that stage. Definitely one of my favorite parts of the game, even if I did end up dying. Like, a lot. (And the driving physics totally suck eggs.)

    1. Volfram says:

      Totally agree. Funniest SW ever. I went back and watched the episode again.

      The best part was every time Josh started to completely rage out.

    2. Vic 2.0 says:

      I really liked the rock concert. Very intense!

  17. Destrustor says:

    Maybe the headset keeps falling off because of some kind of squeezing-wet-soap effect: it’s cheap so probably doesn’t have rubber coating or similar friction-inducing accessory, so it just can’t muster up the grip required to stick to your head. Maybe.

  18. Michael says:

    Wait, you guys passed up running into the new enemy in this area? The possessed skeletons?

  19. HBOrrgg says:

    Movies and books are supposed to tell a story. Video games attempt to tell a story but then the player says “wtf your story sucks” and attempts to create his own.

    1. Dasick says:

      That’s where the strategically placed bitchin’ soundtrack comes in.

      In all seriousness, video games rarely “tell a story” in a way that is appropriate for the medium. Someone mentioned this already, but games are much closer to books, in that they both convey ideas and experiences better, but developers insist on making games like movies ie visual

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        I will now be using this in conversations with my friends. This is the best way to say what I’ve said for a long time now.

    2. Mr Guy says:

      And this should be a sign that maybe your story DOES suck.

      Video game writers have chosen to write a video game. That’s a conscious choice. They need to be aware of it, what the possibilities are and what the limitations are that result from that choice.

      You’re giving the player some cool toys and mechanics, you’re giving the player a setting, and you’re giving the player a story. They need to work together. The story has to be the most interesting way the player can use the mechanics you’ve created in the environment. If it’s not, it’s the wrong story, wrong mechanics, or the wrong environment. And that’s the fault of the writers. You have to make something that fits – a story the player will WANT to act out with you.

      It feels like a lot of video game writers don’t understand how to write stories people will want to play. They have to hold players down like a squirming 8-year-old and shove the story down their throats (via cutscene). They have to resort to “shut up and do it because I said it’s the thing to do,” and you’re expected to dutifully care deeply about the mission (and ONLY the mission) whether it makes sense or not.

      You don’t hand someone a butane lighter in the middle of the fireworks factory and expect the only thing they’ll use it for is to light the birthday candle shoved into a cupcake and then take it up 2 flights of stairs for Mr. Johnson in Accounts Receivable because it’s his birthday, even if “that’s what I told you to do.” If the story you’ve written isn’t the most interesting or engaging thing the player could do with the tools you’ve created in your environment, the player will try to do something else.

      In one of Malcolm Gladwell’s books, he talks about the early days of Sesame Street. The writers had a tool called The Distractor they used to test skits before they put them on TV. They put young children in a room with 2 TV sets – one playing the skit, and the other showing brightly colored objects that changed every couple of seconds. The metric was whether the children were watching the skit or the distractor. Skits that weren’t compelling enough to capture more attention than the distractor were cut.

      Video games have The Distractor in spades. You could always be off shooting bad guys. Or jumping around on scenery. Or dragging ragdoll corpses into compromising positions. There’s stuff to do. If your plot isn’t more compelling and fun than the other stuff, they you’ve failed as a writer. The player isn’t cooperating because you haven’t given them something compelling that “works” in that environment for them.

      Don’t hate the player. Hate the game.

      1. Amnestic says:

        And that's the fault of the writers.

        Not necessarily. TotalBiscuit ended up talking about this in his mailbox video on 17th of May. The basic gist is that while everyone is part of a team, it’s sometimes easy to forget that those teams all have a leader, a guy at the top who makes the big decisions. Obviously it could be the fault of the writers, I’m not disagreeing, but it’s not necessarily the case. They could’ve been overridden by their higher ups.

        In short, I’d be more agreeable to saying it’s a failure of the studio (although even that could be questionable if they’re beholden to a publisher) rather than a failure of the writers because we simply don’t know who is actually. personally, to blame.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          It’s not just a failing of the studio, but the system as a whole. With the massive amounts of money and people being throw around, they can’t afford to have a whole team of designers and programmers do nothing while the writing team gets the story in order. Because of this, levels and set-pieces are being created in tandem with the writing team making the story. This means that the story sometimes has to be bent around the gameplay and vice-versa. It’s almost impossible to make everything “fit” together because that’s rarely a concern at the time it’s first conceived. They are more concerned with “awesome” scenes and set-pieces than plot, narrative flow, player agency, etc.

          When you take that into consideration, it’s a miracle that the games we play today are even barely cohesive. I suspect this is the leading cause behind many of the problems the Spoiler Warning crew and we, their audience, have with AAA gaming. I also suspect that this is why low-budget games tend to have better stories/atmosphere.

    3. Vic 2.0 says:

      Alan Wake’s story was actually very compelling and well-written. But you do kind of shine some light on why some people insist otherwise: they’re hating on people who actually are game developers, because they wish they could be one. The problem is, trying to “create your own story” for a game that already has one, just doesn’t work.

  20. RTBones says:

    I struggled with what I thought about this episode. I have decided, slump or no, this episode is so much calculus. Consider the following proof:

    We have bioware.

    We have bioshock.

    Added together in this episode, we have bioshockware, which, using the principle of substitution becomes bioshockwear, because Enligsh likes to have words that sound the same, mean different things, and are spelled differently.

    Since this really isnt scary, we have no need to fear – logically, Underdog must be here – which gives us bioshockunderwear.

    Given we also have ourselves a little rock music that goes on while fireworks get lit off, and the fact that this is somewhat surprising since, while it goes on too long, it is cool – we now have bioshockingmetalunderwearthatlingers.

    Finally, given that the house/building blows up in the end, we have explodingbioshockingmetalunderwearthatlingers.

    A corollary: Alternative proofs, however, translate “blows up” as “inflates”, which leads to inflatablebioshockingmetalunderwearthatlingers.

    Also, nice Firefly reference, Ruts.

    EDIT: This is what I get for having a coffee late in the day on an empty stomach while stuck in traffic in the heat of the day.

  21. Mr Guy says:

    I’m not sure if it’s sad or awesome that I was thinking “So I’m gonna have to JUMP….” right before Rutskarn said it.

    I’m gonna go with awesome.

  22. X2Eliah says:

    How can headphone speakers be tinny?

    Honestly, I’m surprised that there are headphone speakers in the low-mid price range that aren’t tinny.

    The small plastic enclosure and extremely limited driver movement range (and force) is the perfect setup for casing resonance, driver sibilance and lack of range. Your surprise in that is.. well, frankly, it’s about the same as saying “How can ice-cream be so sweet?” – it’s the natural default state of it, and all the effort that makes crazy people like me pay 300+$ for better stuff, goes (well, not all – I’m well aware of markups and pay-for-branding) into preventing that neutral state. What you call tinniness is not only a result of putting something in a big metal can. It is, acoustically, the result of removing bass & low mids, mudding the midrange to lose resolution and add crosstalk, and screwing up the high range to make them sharp, sibilant, harsh and whiney. The smaller a speaker gets, the more it naturally tends to produce such sounds (and lack low-end). The less power it has, the less impact it can give to air, the less detail you can discern. The badder the casing, the more it interferes and resonates with the driver. The worse the connection, wiring is, the more static and pops and crackles youll get. Natural state.

    For small crapware 10$ chinamart speakers.. Consider, they are tiny, they have weak magnetic drivers, they have illfitting plastic crap casing, they probably have wiring connections weaker than 100 year old solder, all of it built from materials cheaper than a SINGLE BREAD BUN.. No base impact, weak range response, case resonance and interference, no optimization for ear canal direction, poor resolution of frequency details.. That’s the definition of tinny right there.

    Anyway. I’m not saying you need to pay ludicrous amounts of money. It’s just that if you get to complain about code etc. that is by your standards bad even if some programmers would happily and obliviously use it, I get to point out stuff about headphones. For some people, audio is just a functional addition to something – i.e. on or off, and for others, there’s all the nuance and shades of the world. Nothing wrong with being on either side of the fence.

    1. Shamus says:


      I will still note that these headphones are exceptionally tinny, far worse than other cheap headsets I’ve owned.

      1. X2Eliah says:

        Might have been a particularly bad day in the korean/chinese/whatever factory they produced the batch you got, perhaps.. Or an exceptionally shoddy driver quality inside there for that headset model – sure, at lower pricepoint ranges I’d say they are all horribad, but as you noted it is possible for some being even more bad. Or just plain a dodgy product you had the misfortune to come across.

  23. crossbrainedfool says:

    As a native of the pacific northwest, I can attest to the plausibility of the pyrotechnic display not starting a fire – if there’s as much fog out as is shown, flares and such aren’t going to get through the layer of dew on everything. I’ve been out on Boy Scout trips where the whole (very pyromania prone) troop had trouble lighting much of a fire. Fireproof wood is about right.

    What impresses me more is that this stage (which seems to be fairly old) is still stable. Something like that is going to be soaked every winter, and unless every inch of lumber is treated, it’s going to be about as supporting as styrofoam.

    Speaking of which, when is the game taking place year-wise? Deerfest implies hunting season, but the daytime sequences look like they’re supposed to be summer. I guess people from elsewhere (like say, Remedy) could make the mistake between a sunny fall day and a sunny summer day. It does explain how everyone is dressed, though. The night sequences look like a dramatic version of February, so I’m generally confused.

    1. Michael says:

      As a resident of the pacific northwest, the game’s geography drives me batty. It’s like they moved North Bend to the coast…

    2. Vic 2.0 says:

      “What impresses me more is that this stage (which seems to be fairly old) is still stable. Something like that is going to be soaked every winter, and unless every inch of lumber is treated, it's going to be about as supporting as styrofoam.”

      It’s likely the Anderson brothers made sure to take good care of it. Reading through the Official Survival Guide, the stage was once something of a tourist attraction (which makes perfect sense, given the fame of the band). They probably even treated it on their various escapes. May even be the very reason for the escapes; it’s strongly implied that they have protective roles to play concerning the darkness, not unlike Cynthia Weaver.

      “Speaking of which, when is the game taking place year-wise? Deerfest implies hunting season, but the daytime sequences look like they're supposed to be summer.”

      Looked like fall to me! I didn’t even think about it being hunting season or any of that. I just got the impression it was autumn immediately.

  24. Alex says:

    Rutskarn liked the Dark Carnival concert more than this?

    That’s like complaining a roller-coaster isn’t as much fun as a root canal.

    1. Sumanai says:

      I think that tells you a lot about the roller-coaster.

      Or about the person’s dentist.

  25. Thomas says:

    One of the more intrinsic problems of this game, is that games aren’t books, so Alan Wake is a writer in a story, but he’s not doing very story like things and minute to minute almost nothing of the writer-in-a-story shows up.

    It could’ve worked, gamers are more likely to dream lucidly. . So it could have been about how Alan Wake by putting himself in the story is completely changing it’s nature.

    But that would take a lot of careful plotting and very intelligent gameplay. It should feel like the game is trying to tell a story that Alan is messing up

    1. Vic 2.0 says:


      I’m not reading a “problem” with the game after all, am I? Just an idea you think would be better, for reasons not clearly defined.

  26. Deadpool says:

    “I hate them, but at the same time I can't help but admire the dedication and ingenuity that went into making them this bad. ”

    Might have been designed by a true life Bloody Stupid Johnson!

  27. TheArtfulNudger says:

    On a positive note, I must applaud Rutskarn’s wonderful taste in sport.

  28. Vic 2.0 says:

    What a god-awful caption for one of the greatest and most memorable moments in the game! And you critics need to make up your minds. One moment, the game is “boring”; the next, you’re being “force-fed combat”.

    There’s a quote by Ruth Burke: “Only boring people get bored.” Certainly fits here. You’re on a rock stage with heavy metal blaring and lights turning off and on while monsters are flooding their way toward you, and you’re just gonna sit there and whine. Tss tss tss. This is one of the sections of the game where repetition is soooo not in attendance. From running from the Taken while having practically no weapon, to crossing the massive field in front of the farm, to rocking out with Barry, there’s nothing here that isn’t new and exciting!

  29. The Truth says:

    1:00 – I disagree, about the combat. I think it’s VERY interesting and would argue that if it didn’t require skill, you guys wouldn’t die so often.

    As for the implication that it’s repetitive, most other shooters are technically worse. “Shoot. Shoot. Shoot again, and again” is far more repetitive than “Burn the darkness away, shoot. Burn the darkness away, shoot.” Just sayin’.

    3:40 – “I was just gonna say that it is weird that a cabin from the 70s that was swallowed by the lake that was sort of the jewel centerpiece of the lake would have the exact same house layout as a random cabin in the woods.”

    It doesn’t. The entire first floor is completely different, the staircase winds up the opposite direction, and the upstairs rooms are quite different as well (albeit in more subtle ways).

    4:32 – “Somebody pointed out that around Cauldron Lake you’ve got a silver mine, a volcano, a coal mine, a lake, and some hydroelectric power plants. From a geological standpoint, that’s like seven different kinds of ridiculous.”

    If it hasn’t crossed your mind yet that the “volcano” isn’t really a volcano at all (but possibly a gateway to the underworld or something), you are beyond help. As for the rest, there is nothing scientifically unsound about silver mines, coal mines, or hydroelectric plants existing in the Pacific Northwest. I just Googled them. The Pacific Northwest has it all. Next off-the-wall attempt at finding a flaw please!

    6:30 – The Wikia page on the Anderson Farm states that Walter was actually looking after the farm, so we have reason to believe he was supposed to be there. Weaver may have “broken into” the basement of this house after Walter and Danny had the first fight. She was at the police station the day Wake first met Walter. It’s not unreasonable to presume she’d have an interest in his story (because she knows enough to suspect he was telling the truth). My guess is that she spoke with Walter and visited the farm for some purpose to help Walt, and in return he agreed to let her perform her weird little rituals there, one of which includes leaving mysterious boxes laying about the property.

    At around 7:10, you ask how someone gets their hands on flashbang grenades. Well, “someone” may have trouble getting the proper license for or registering them, etc., making it a fair question FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T PLAYED THE GAME THROUGH YET. But the game actually gives a strong hint to explain even this at the end of Episode 5. Sheriff Breaker gives Alan and Barry a bit of history about how an old Army Base used to exist in the area and “operated” at the dam. Then, Cynthia confirms and tells the party that it’s her place now. Though it doesn’t explain to what extent its “hers” or how that came to be (to my recollection), the randomness of the dialogue could be an explanation for those wanting to dig this deep as to how Cynthia got a hold of flashbang grenades, ammo, etc., or at least the technology with which to make her own.

    Nice try, though.

    12:40 – I never got the impression Remedy was trying to SCARE me as the player, just creep me out, which it definitely succeeded in. I found most of game pretty intense along those lines. But no, not much effort to give you a heart attack in this particular game… Seems to suit the whole “Psychological Thriller” label they gave it, in lieu of a “Survival Horror” label.

    14:53 – Should we just assume at this point that every time you insinuate there’s no variety in the combat, the game’s ten seconds away from proving you wrong… again? I don’t see how you guys can keep making this statement, particularly in this episode. You’re completely delirious of the content that was just in front of you, at all times.

    15:48 – Actually, Left 4 Dead 2 did come out first, and they did something similar to this… But Alan Wake did it FAR better, if only because you were more or less trapped on the stage so it made it that much more intense. Left 4 Dead’s nothing but a bunch of running around (at lightning fast speed, mind you) and tapping/holding the same buttons.

    And saying the music – ANY music from L4D2 was better than Poets of the Fall = blasphemy.

    12:10 – I’m going to assume they DIDN’T blow up the shed every time they did this, or that they never did it, they just had it set up… because that requires less ridiculousness on MY part to assume than, you know, what you guys said.

    BTW, the rock stage battle seemed like it was taking too long because you died and had to re-do it. You know, in this game that doesn’t require skill :P

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Vic 3.0?

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