Alan Wake EP21: Wayne Knight, Superhero

By Shamus
on May 29, 2012
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

193 comments


Link (YouTube)

I notice that several times I’ve mentioned, “This part was unexpectedly hard,” and had most of the rest of the cast chime in that they had trouble in the same spots. Now, you could argue that this was by design, but these spots always seem to appear in odd places. Like I said in the episode: The small battle outside the locked garage was harder than the giant “defend the helicopter” set-piece.

If you’re curious about Axe Cop, you can have your curiosity sated at this website.

This is Wayne Knight.

Also: The thing with the birds and the helicopter really did bug me. It felt wrong. I don’t know thing about non-videogame helicopters, but I just couldn’t picture how those birds could be a threat to the thing. From above they should be pulled through the blades and turned into paste. From below they should just be forced downward by the draft. This seemed stupid and nonsensical to me until I remembered: Alan Wake is a hack writer.

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From the Archives:

  1. Ambitious Sloth says:

    I once saw a bird on the ground beneath the spinning blades of a helicopter. Well, I saw half of it. Pretty sure I could piece together what happened though.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      Well, to give the game justice these flocks are composed of shadowstuff. Basically the same shadowstuff that makes the human taken impervious to a shotgun to the face or being hit by a speeding car until it’s dispelled.

      • ps238principal says:

        It seems that supernatural power is often a kind of min-max deal.

        “Okay, you can stop bullets, you can pass through walls, but contact with… oh, let’s say Reddi-Whip is as fatal as touching radioactive battery acid.”

        “Deal!”

  2. neon_goggles says:

    liking transmetropolitan makes you a hipster?…. So i found something out about myself today. also Spider Jerusalem being batman would be silly. crossing him with Batman would make him less cool not more cool.

    • el_b says:

      I don’t know, I think I might start reading Batman comics if he had a bowel disruptor.

    • Rutskarn says:

      I think Mumbles’ position isn’t that Spider Jerusalem is hipsterchow, it’s that a.) he’s a hipster choice for, “favorite comic hero,” and she knows he’s mine, and b.) it’s hipster if I like him.

    • Sumanai says:

      Less known than Superman? Check. But still liked by bunch of people? Check. Is not trying to become the next Superman by mimicking DC or Marvel? Check. Being interesting and not complete shit while doing that? Check. (Well, presumably. I haven’t got around to reading it.)

      Hipsterrrr.

      I think that the reason for Mumbles’ comment was what Rutskarn is saying, but what I’m saying is why you shouldn’t be surprised that someone has called someone else a hipster for liking Transmetropolitan. It was bound to happen sooner or later, and I’m certain it already has before and that at that time it was made in seriousness.

  3. tjtheman5 says:

    I think there is a possibility of birds, especially a large swarm of them, doing damage to a helicopter. The blades are very finely balanced, so maybe, but I’m not an expert by any means. As a side note, could it be said that the darkness gave that helicopter the bird?

    • Audacity says:

      Actually yes, birds are a problem, not just for helicopters, but all types of aircraft. I remember a pretty recent story about an airliner from the local airport that was forced to make an emergency landing when one of its engines was damaged by a suicidal canadian goose that flew into the intake. It doesn’t happen often, and a single bird isn’t normally a problem, but a flock of the size that routinely chases Alan around would likely be able to inflict some substantial damage.

      • Jingleman says:

        Apparently, a bird took down a USMC helicopter last year. I would have thought it unlikely, but there you go.

        With regards to Shamus’s thought about birds being “pushed down” by the rotors of helicopters at low speed: I don’t know how much it would affect the flight of small birds, but Mythbusters did an episode that examined the downward force of helicopter rotors as an inhibiting factor for a person attempting to climb up a landing skid. The down-force didn’t bother anyone who attempted the stunt.

        So, yeah, I thought it was implausible, too, but it’s looking more realistic now. Weird.

        • Amnestic says:

          Don’t forget that these aren’t just birds. They’re Taken Birds. Filled with the power of being vulnerable to light contact with commercial torches!

        • MatthewH says:

          Depends on the aircraft. The Super Stallion is not used in S&R because it’s downdraft will push anyone under it below the water surface and drown them (well, so says Mail Call -though I really wish I could attribute it to Clear and Present Danger so as to push back on the Tom Clancy hate)

    • decius says:

      Birds aren’t much of a threat to the blades of a helicopter, but bird parts are very dangerous to air intakes of gas-turbine engines.

      The typical (real) helicopter can be described fairly accurately as ‘a million precision parts all flying together until something goes wrong, at which point it becomes a million parts all flying apart’.

  4. Amnestic says:

    “They could’ve made one of [The TF2 characters] a girl.”

    The Internet has taught me that the Pyro is an attractive and well endowed female under her pyrosuit. I trust it implicitly. After all, when has the internet ever lied?

    I concur with the point though.

    Sheriff Breaker: “You’re a pretty good writer.”

    I was gonna write something about it but then I listened a little more and Josh/Shamus commented on it. Still…wow.

    • Mr Guy says:

      I was also really disappointed by the opportunity to humanize Sarah here. She’s a sheriff in the middle o’ nowhere in (presumably) Washington state. Out of nowhere comes the comment that her dad was a New York city cop. That’s….different. How’d she wind up here? Did her dad see something that made him give it all up and move away? Was her dad from out here, and if so why did he go to New York? Did she grow up in New York and it was HER decision to move here? How does her dad fit in with this whole “secret society to fight vague evil”? Why did she decide to follow in daddy’s footsteps?

      This was a real opportunity to give her character some kind of backstory and depth. Nope. A throwaway line that her dad was a cop in New York that’s never mentioned again. Sarah is “Sheriff Breaker” and that’s all we apparently need to know about her.

      • Jingleman says:

        Speaking of missed opportunities, that “secret society to fight vague evil” went completely unexplored. Maybe that could have been a cool engine for the later acts. Like, they might have eliminated the Mott stuff, pushed the reveal of the supernatural threat towards the front, and at the mid-game climax reveal the secret society and have Alan spend most of the latter acts getting them together, culminating in going to the Light Lady. Or something. I don’t know.

        It comes out of nowhere, making it sound like the townsfolk are prepared for something like this and might have something up their collective sleeve, but it ends up being nothing more than an excuse to separate Alan from Barry so Barry show up later all Christmas-like. Which was funny. But the secret circle is just dropped, and I was disappointed. I haven’t played any DLC, so maybe they pick it up there, and I’ll see it eventually, but in the main game, it’s an orphaned plot point.

        • newdarkcloud says:

          The DLC doesn’t touch on it at all either. It is just another reference that’s in the game like all of the other references.

        • Vic 2.0 says:

          “Sheriff Breaker: ‘You’re a pretty good writer.’

          I was gonna write something about it but then I listened a little more and Josh/Shamus commented on it. Still…wow.”

          I concur with Sheriff Breaker, as she and I have read Alan’s actual work (and it would seem none of you have). Some pages in The Alan Wake Files show his writing altogether and in context, and it’s very good. Alan Wake is a really good author, despite how some manuscript pages essentially written by the dark presence (someone else entirely) happened to turn out.

          “This was a real opportunity to give her character some kind of backstory and depth. Nope. A throwaway line that her dad was a cop in New York that’s never mentioned again. Sarah is ‘Sheriff Breaker’ and that’s all we apparently need to know about her.”

          Well isn’t it? Would it have changed the story for the better knowing about the Sheriff’s private life? “Because you can” is not necessarily a good reason to add extraneous dialogue to a video game.

          “Speaking of missed opportunities, that ‘secret society to fight vague evil’ went completely unexplored. Maybe that could have been a cool engine for the later acts… It comes out of nowhere, making it sound like the townsfolk are prepared for something like this and might have something up their collective sleeve, but it ends up being nothing more than an excuse to separate Alan from Barry so Barry show up later all Christmas-like.”

          Considering that the game doesn’t take us farther than that same night, we have no reason to demand closure on it. The game leaves plenty of things unresolved and plenty of questions unanswered. Why should this be any different?

          I think it’s believable, though. Look at the older generation in this town, people who know about the dark presence: Thomas Zane, Cynthia Weaver, the Anderson brothers. It’s very possible more people know about this and aren’t quite so “crazy”.

    • Thomas says:

      We haven’t had Meet the Pyro yet have we? I don’t think Valve can not have Pyro be female, because if everyone sees this lumpy figure under the suit and they’re wondering if she’s female and it turns out, no she’s just a guy like every other guy in a suit, well thats boring.

      The only other things they can do, is give us an almost reveal that doesn’t quite remove the ambiguity, or have Pyro be Yeti or an alien or something stupid. Maybe an incredibly handsome Prince Charming might work but all of those are unlikely.

      Or they might ignore the reveal, which would be a bad choice, make everyone go crazy, but could happen if they just didn’t think about it.

      • James says:

        or Valve could troll everyone and not reveal it at all, like not even go close to revealing it.

        also they could be even more annoying and have him/her have a lambda tattoo just ‘cus

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    And thats it for the fun part of the game.Its just downhill from now*sigh*.

    The place where that bus blocked us off from barry was the worst kind of plot door.Sure that bus was blocking the road,but on the side of it was a plastic waist high fence,and yet these two couldnt simply jump over it,or move it?

    I imagine the birds could clog the exhaust of the helicopter.And if they are swarming like that,they could crack the windshield,and maybe even bend the blades a bit.I mean one bird wouldnt put a dent on them,but hundreds might be a problem.

    • Vic 2.0 says:

      “And thats it for the fun part of the game.Its just downhill from now*sigh*.”

      You’re insane; Episode 6 is a WORLD of fun! Very intense, very action-packed.

  6. Johan says:

    MOOOOOOOOOOOORE TAKEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN YAY

    This is seriously feeling like exactly the wrong mix. In an actiony shooter you really need as many different types of enemies possible so that the player doesn’t get bored with “oh, more of THESE enemies” (see Doom or HL or even military shooters which will give you a bunch of different military hardware to blow up).

    In a non-action oriented game where you’re expected to avoid combat, you can get away with less kinds of enemies (Hitman comes easily to mind). The problem is that this game has pretensions to being the second, but plays like the first. On the surface it seems like they want you to be playing this game for its story and it’s atmosphere ala Silent Hill, so the combat doesn’t have to be good. But the gameplay is mowing down mooks so it just feels like a really terrible third person shooter

    • Vic 2.0 says:

      I couldn’t disagree more. Maybe that’s why I like the last episode so much; I find the combat addictive. The flashlight and gun combo keeps everything interesting, even when the enemy models do repeat. They’re always bringing the enemies in different ways, in different environments. And of course your inventory is constantly changing.

      Oh, and the game case tells you it’s a “Part action game, part psychological thriller”. So your comment is very telling. Basically, critics of Alan Wake thought it would be one or the other… even though it spelled out the fact that it was a hybrid.

      But somehow it’s still the game’s fault.

  7. newdarkcloud says:

    You know, at one point, I checked out a book written by Tom Clancy. I thought that since the video games with his name on it are generally pretty good, the books might be too.

    I returned it the next day. I was so bored. If you can’t hook me in the first 1-2 chapters (if I’m feeling generous), then I don’t care anymore.

    • Shamus says:

      His later stuff was long, self-indulgent, wearisome, and suffered from a bad case of “President Mary Sue”.

      But when Hunt for Red October came out? That was something really fresh and new. It was the first techno-thriller for a lot of people, and the mix of knowledge, action, and (very mild) characterization was a great blend.

      A shame that so much of his early work was built around the cold war. When the wall fell, his stuff suddenly became campy alt-history instead of gripping possible future.

      • Thomas says:

        I’ve only read one or two, but I didn’t think it was awful. It probably didn’t stand up to literary criticism but it managed to fulfill the task of being enjoyable for lots of people.

        What annoys me about Clancy (and Stephen King a little bit) is just how commercial he is. He gets other people to write books and pay him money to stick ‘Tom Clancy’ on it … it’s just so… so… not literature like.

        (Remember I’m British and here we’re traditionally embarrassed about the idea of trying to make money. You call your sports team Franchises, we do our utter best to forget that making money is ever ever involved in the idea of sport in any form)

        • ps238principal says:

          I think Clancy was doing research/consulting on the old military sim “Harpoon” when he wrote Red October. I read almost all of his stuff at the time, which was pretty much military pr0n. When his main story arc wildly deviated from real life by nuking the Super Bowl, I lost interest.

          On the one hand, his writing was becoming very schlocky and pretty one-sided (though he’s not the worst by far), but the bigger issue was that it no longer had that “this could be happening because it’s all spy stuff and cloak-n-dagger” factor.

      • Dave B says:

        Clancy fanboy here: You are probably right about all of your compaints, but I still enjoy the books. They are long, yes, but I don’t think of them as wearisome, because I like techno-thrillers with intricate plots and fantastic attention to detail (which is something I think Clancy does very well). I do agree that Jack Ryan is much less interesting as the president than as a CIA grunt. Fortunately, he’s rarely (never?) the only major character in a book. There are even a few books where he doesn’t appear at all.

      • False Prophecy says:

        Although I don’t like Clancy’s post-Cold War output, it doesn’t bother me that it exists. Sure, Clancy made the Jack Ryan-verse into a vehicle for grinding his political axes and fabricating some comic-book version of reality. Cutting-edge untested military tech always works as advertised without complications (Impressively, Foreign Policy called out a Black Ops 2 consultant on the same thing, but the question was evaded), and where all branches of the US military and intelligence communities co-operate freely without friction, rivalry and bureaucratic battles over jurisdiction and funding. Clancy’s hardly the first author to get self-indulgent, and won’t be the last.

        What bothers me is how people think Clancy’s some kind of expert on geopolitics based on his taut, detailed Cold War techno-thrillers, when almost every book after Clear and Present Danger is way out of step with how the real world works. Almost nobody in Rainbow Six even acted like a human being!

        • Thomas says:

          He wrote the one where an American came along to Israel and went ‘Hey guys, why don’t you try getting along?’

          And then they did, right?

          It was funny times, two months ago, blowing each other up, now apparently Priets, Imams and Rabbi’s strolled downed the street arm in arm having fun discussions about theology (seriously, literally, exactly that)

          The book was fun, the subtext less so

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Thats the same how I feel about stephen king.I like his movies,but not so much the books.

      • Amnestic says:

        The only film adaptation of Stephen King’s works that I’ve seen was The Mist.

        I didn’t like it. Especially the ending.

        • AJ_Wings says:

          Was that the movie with the ending that had the main character pointlessly kill all his loved ones with a gun because the apocalypse happened and he wanted them to “spare their pain” but after literary one minute, a rescue team arrives and showed him that the apocalypse never happened and the world is still A-ok, rendering the entire ending sequence pointless and stupid?

          Yeah, I really hated that movie.

          • Amnestic says:

            That was the ending, yes. Not only that, but I’m fairly certain the film made a big deal about it being silent around the car when he mercy-killed the people he was with, but the military convoy had trucks, heavy weapons, and I’m fairly certain at least one helicopter. There was no way in hell they didn’t hear that coming. No. Way. In that one moment it killed ANY suspension of disbelief I had up until that point. I don’t know if this was a facet of Stephen King’s original story or of the adaptation changing things but whoever was responsible should be ashamed.

            …yeah, I didn’t like it. It really felt like nothing new. It seemed like a fairly cookie-cutter zombie flick except they replaced zombies with monsters whose origins were never explained or explored.

            • ps238principal says:

              The original short story was partly responsible for inspiring “Half-Life.” In that, the survivors just made their way into an uncertain future, not knowing how far the phenomenon would spread, if I remember correctly.

              Part of the difficulty with suspense and the supernatural is that if you fully explain it, it loses a lot of its scare potential. It’s kind of like having to explain a joke, really. All that the movie and the story ever revealed was that the military had been messing around with something and things went pear-shaped, which was fine with me.

            • ps238principal says:

              Edit: Double-post deleted. Had internet connectivity issues and it caused a transporter malfunction or something.

          • ehlijen says:

            I actually liked that part, and the movie in general.
            For me the main argument against suicide has always been: “How do you know it won’t get better?” And this movie shows us that they didn’t. They assumed it was over and gave up instead of fighting on.

        • ps238principal says:

          If you want some pretty roundly-loved King films (as I mention below), go see “The Shawshank Redemption” and “Stand By Me.”

          One of the better TV miniseries he was behind (though it was written for TV, not as a novel) was “Storm of the Century.”

        • Alex says:

          I didn’t like the ending because it hinged on the performance of the main character, and Thomas Jane is the world’s worst actor. I should not be laughing after that many major character deaths, but he found a way.

          That said, Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile are where it’s at, as far as Stephen King adaptations go.

      • ps238principal says:

        Really? That’s kind of odd. Which have you read? I ask because if King’s good at one thing, its characterization. It’s why (usually) you care about what happens to the characters, no matter how crazy the monster is.

        Personally, I think “The Stand” is really good, if you like post-apoc. “The Dark Tower” series also has some gems in it, but it also has a few clunker parts (especially the ending, for many).

        But the idea that the movies are better is baffling, for the most part. “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Stand By Me,” and “The Shining” are often cited as the best, but the first two are non-horror (not that that’s a bad thing) and the other, while good, leaves out a ton of stuff from the novel. Most of the movies based on King’s stories concentrate far too much on the evil menace and forget to bring along the character development, resulting in the audience not giving a rip about who gets eaten next. The TV minis are usually better about detail, but they’re hobbled by the medium (like in the case of “IT,” which had to edit a lot due to regulations about depicting child endangerment).

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Admittedly,I didnt read much of king because the few I tried didnt engage me that much.I tried it and a book of his short stories that I got for birthday.Dont remember which stories were there,but I know it had 1408.

          And you know,now that youve made me think about it,I think I know why I didnt like these:I dont like horror books.I enjoy some horror movies,but horror books simply arent my pleasure.

          • I’m not a big fan of Stephen King, but Dragon’s Eyes was seriously awesome.

          • ps238principal says:

            He’s not all horror per se. A lot of his stuff is fantasy (“Eyes of the Dragon,” “Talisman,” the Dark Tower series) and some crosses into science fiction (“Under the Dome,” “11/22/63”).

            In fact, he’s not terribly horror-oriented now that I think about it, unless all stories involving the supernatural are “horror.” I mean, the whole paranormal romance sub-genre (not to mention the “Twilight” series) seem to be taking a lot of the horror out of horror. People die in bad ways in King’s books, but compared to others out there, he’s no worse than a lot of thrillers or action-oriented stories I’ve read. He just sometimes has a supernatural element in how someone gets offed.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Fantasy and scifi arent genres,those are settings.After all,we dont classify books as “WW2 era novel with spy elemnts”.Discworld and game of thrones are both fantasy,yet are completely opposite genres.

        • Nick says:

          I really like the ending to Dark Tower, but I can see why for many it’d be too dark/too meta/too much of a copout. The clunkiest part for me was King writing himself into the story, but that gets resolved fairly quickly and has some nice things to say about King and his relationship to his longest series of books, so I didn’t overly mind it.

          • ps238principal says:

            I figured he ended it the way he did as an homage to the “Planet of the Apes” series of movies. I mean, the whole Dark Tower series was, according to King, his “Lord of the Rings” as filtered through the things he grew up on: Cowboys, robots, etc.

  8. HBOrrgg says:

    You know, the amount of taken with axes kind of makes it feel like the darkness is trying to go with a viking theme. Further proof that the actual authors of this story were the Old Gods of Asgard?

    • LunaticFringe says:

      Is it ever stated that the birds are crows? I know ravens are big but it fits with Norse mythology.

      • Jingleman says:

        Do they have wild ravens in the Pacific Northwest? They would fit in thematically, especially when you add the Norse mythology.

      • rrgg says:

        Well, applying the rest of norse mythology, their end of the world story features a scenario where the sun is eaten by a wolf and the world is plunged into darkness for an age.

        So the lake cabin is the sun, the darkness is the wolf, and this game’s combat certainly seems to go on for ages. . .

        Oh, also the game’s mountains were made from the massive bones of an openworld giant!

  9. Sleeping Dragon says:

    Since we’re done with the town part. I was pretty surprised by the lack of a “haha! I am taken by the darkness!” traitor moment when I got to run around with companions, I mean what with all the “trust nobody in the darkness” photosensitive messages throughout the game.

    • Jingleman says:

      Good point! Everybody is on the side they appear to be on; it shows in their face and clothing without exception. This game suffers from the old spaghetti western trope. The good guys are all in their proverbial white hats, the villains in black. Max Payne didn’t do this. Remedy (and Sam Lake in particular) has done ambiguous characters before. I wonder what happened in this game.

      • PurePareidolia says:

        Well they did get betrayed by the waitress, even if she was kind of obviously evil.

        • newdarkcloud says:

          More like obviously possessed, but the point still stands.

          • Sleeping Dragon says:

            Oh I remember about Rose, but she hardly counts as a betrayal to the player. I mean, we can see Barbara/DP dictating her words when she calls Alan. I was thinking of a betrayal that would be surprising, or at least not obvious in advance, to the player, it just felt to me like those warnings were foreshadowing something that never came.

            • PurePareidolia says:

              It’s a “betrayal” in the same way the Taken “ambush” you. That is to say, only Alan is surprised.

              • Vic 2.0 says:

                The game may be over, but the story isn’t. There are theories that Zane is actually a bad guy, which could fit in a number of ways. And Agent Nightingale wasn’t what he seemed either. Though he was too heavy-handed, he was actually a good guy but misled in thinking that Alan was intentionally causing all the mayhem in Bright Falls…

                …or was he right about Alan? Hmmmm…

  10. The Hokey Pokey says:

    I know birds can do significant damage to jet engines, so it wouldn’t be much of a stretch for birds to chew up a helicopter’s rotor. They spin rather quickly, so if they hit something even a little solid they will be damaged.

    If there is only going to be one gender of enemy, then it will always be male. Male enemies are safe. This is a world where people protest killing attack dogs in COD and using meat products in Cooking Mama. I don’t think this country can handle a game where a male protagonist shoots a horde of women.

    • ps238principal says:

      I think the game where I’ve “fought” the most women was “City of Heroes.” The male NPCs probably still outnumbered the female ones by about 3 to 1, but they were a lot more common than in most games.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      The problem is that you already have a female combat npc.So the lack of female taken is pretty noticeable.

      • Vic 2.0 says:

        In this game, it makes a bit of sense why you don’t see any female Taken. It seems that the dark presence is taking people who are outside at night. That’s what the varying professions/hobbies represented by the Taken all have in common. It may also be that the dark presence wants no witnesses (at first). And those relatively few women who like camping (true camping, as in in a tent) probably would not want to do it alone.

        Nevertheless I’m sure they’ll show up eventually.

    • Dasick says:

      Fallout and Oblivion/Skyrim come to mind. Female raiders and bandits are pretty common, and the things you can do to them… let’s just say that in Fallout 3/NV, I always carry around a cleaver and baseball bat.

      I’ve gotten pretty good at the throw-up pitching.

  11. ps238principal says:

    And Mumbles’ “You know nothing” count increases by 1.

    I’m adding this to the “George R.R. Martin has much to answer for” file, which until now was filled entirely with the deaths of characters I liked.

    • Dasick says:

      I know it’s pretty hipster to dislike something that is popular, and I’m basing my judgement on the first episode…

      But Game of Thrones is pretty damn overrated. It seems to follow the “Grim-dark = realistic = high art” school of thought. In the first episode there was a repeating pattern of terrible shit happening (to sympathetic characters), followed by a screen-full of tits.

      Does not surprise me in the least that Boromir’s character, ie the only person of power who is not a fucking sociopath kicks the bucket.

      • X2Eliah says:

        Not really. It just seems to follow the books.

      • LunaticFringe says:

        Actually it’s pretty in line with the books, they do seem to be changing more in the second season, but considering the books have twelve and fourteen year olds having sex the show is actually less grimdark (and as a result actually less accurate to medieval Europe).

  12. PurePareidolia says:

    Worst Taken: Mikehey, you missed, palDawson.

    “ALAN? DID YOU KILL RITA?”

  13. jdhays says:

    It’s rare but it unfortunately happens:

    How A Little Bird Brought Down A Gunship

    http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htatrit/articles/20120523.aspx

  14. Lunok says:

    if the bird got sucked into the jet turbine it could take out that turbine atleast on jet aircraft and helicopters work off of jet turbines.

  15. jdhays says:

    I wonder how a female mercenary would work in Team Fortress 2, story-wise. In the supplementary material, the men are various shades of sadistic, psychotic, dumb, and amoral. It’s played for laughs but I wonder how a woman would come off written like that.

    Look at this comic and imagine it’s a female Soldier with the severed head collection.

    • ps238principal says:

      So you’re saying the announcer-woman isn’t at the very least a sadistic voyeur?

    • LunaticFringe says:

      I was wondering that as well. As soon as they brought it up the first thing I thought was ‘well, it’s probably easier to play TF2’s bizarre humour off of male characters instead of female ones.’ I don’t know if that makes me a horrible male enforcing the phallocracy or something.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Women can be pretty sadistic and psychotic too.For example,check out mothers day or the loved ones.Or better yet,just click those links and check out the reviews.

    • Mumbles says:

      That’s like saying it’s weirder to have me going on about cannibalism than Rutskarn simply because I’m a girl.

      • Tse says:

        It would be, if he wasn’t a child. Cannibalistic children are weirder than cannibalistic women.

        • Mumbles says:

          I literally never say this on the internet, but y’all being sexist.

          • jdhays says:

            That’s kinda my point. I think people would apply a double standard to a female mercenary. I’m not saying it would be weirder if the Soldier was a woman. But there is a underlying nastiness to the TF2 universe. A female Soldier would have to be dumb, delusional and xenophobic. Miss Pauling and the Administrator are as amoral as the rest of them but not drooling, sadistic, idiots.

            • Amnestic says:

              I suppose the big question is: Is this something people attribute only to TF2? That is, does having women in other games do such things bother them?

              I think Saints Row as a series is a pretty good case for this since the protagonist can be of either gender (and many ethnicities). Your supporting cast of characters has a mix of both male and female characters. It has a similar campy over-the-top sadism and sociopathy that TF2 characters seem to have. So…do people take issue with female protagonist in that, bearing in mind the only difference between them and their male counterparts is that one has boobs and a slightly higher pitched voice?

              • False Prophecy says:

                TF2 and Saints Row are basically violent cartoon playgrounds. So does it really have any impact on “the story” if your avatar is male or female? Other than the differences in race and gender, the only fundamental character difference between James Bond and Cleopatra Jones is that the latter might demonstrate monogamy.

                If an overly-serious military melodrama like the Metal Gear Solid series can have a character like The Boss in a post-WWII setting, why is it so hard to work in female characters into satirical settings?

            • Mumbles says:

              Why can’t a female character be dumb, delusional and xenophobic? Two of those elements are in Harley Quinn and that works out just fine.

              • jdhays says:

                They can and, in the hands of a good writer, they would be awesome.

                I haven’t played Arkham City or read the comics. So the worst I’ve seen Harley do is kick a guy, or maybe pull a lever on a death trap on the Joker’s orders. It would be nice, after all these years, if the new dlc let her straight up murder someone on screen.

              • Dasick says:

                Sure Harlequin is delusional, stupid, and a criminal to boot.

                But let’s say we switch Joker and Harlequin’s characters around. Everything joker says/does is said and done by Harley exactly as it was said/done by Joker, and vice versa.

                Would nothing change about the story? Would nothing have to be changed for the story to remain the same?

                Also, GLaDOS – she is maniacal and psychotic, but imagine we switch the gender. The voice actor is now male and the secretary is now male as well, but everything else, like the dialogue, stays the same. Nothing changes?

                • ps238principal says:

                  Cave Johnson’s romantic interests? And maybe those of his employees?

                  “Sorry fellas, he’s married – to science!”

                • jdhays says:

                  The story wouldn’t change but people’s reactions to the story would. People have a double standard. I’ve got a better question. What if Harley wasn’t sexy? What if she had the personality of R. Lee Ermey?

                  • Daemian Lucifer says:

                    No peoples reactions wouldnt change.2001:space odyssey has a male computer going psycho,and a male protagonist fighting it.People have analyzed both by their stories,and not by their genders.

                • Amnestic says:

                  According to a quick wiki, there’s apparently an Elseworlds comic (“Thrillkiller”) in which Batgirl and Robin fight a female Joker in the 1960s and Bruce Wayne is a detective so…it’s not exactly the same idea as swapping Harley and Joker, but the genderbending has been done before.

                • Mumbles says:

                  I am not saying gender isn’t a factor that should be considered in the detailing of a character. I’m saying that claiming it’s impossible to have female Joker in some other universe is ridiculous.

                  • jdhays says:

                    I never claimed that and I’m sorry I’ve irked you. Female Jokers exist of course. Diamanda Hagan is a perfect example. The movies she reviews are a bit squicky but the reviews themselves are hilarious and she is a pitch perfect psycho. I’d love to see a mainstream video game with her as the villain or, even better, as the protagonist. But I don’t think I will see one soon because the game buying audience isn’t ready for her.

                    What’s Harley like in the dlc? Does she get to Joker it up onscreen?

                    • Mumbles says:

                      It’s okay. Sometimes people tell me I can’t use a certain door and I get mad and shake the handle until someone comes to find me.

                      I’ve yet to play the DLC, but I have no doubt she’s hilarious. Paul Dini helped create the character and has penned both Arkham games, so I’m certain she’s awesome.

              • James Pony says:

                But das sexis! All women are perfect, pretty flowers made of 110% pure purity concentrate!

                Seriously though, it’s because either the writers actually feel that it would be sexist to portray any female with any degree of negativity, or because they believe that they WILL BE KILL BY FEMINISTS if they do.

                However, I call that spinelessness. It is also the same kind of excessive caution that produces lame and clichéd male characters.

                So in the end it looks like the issue is just plain sub-par writing.

                • ps238principal says:

                  The bigger problem, I think, is that writers default to “sexy” for both genders (though women far more often) when they don’t have any idea what else to do with someone.

                  One of the most bad-ass female characters at DC recently got this “treatment.” Amanda Waller, head of CADMUS, was a heavyset woman who had more balls than Batman, but when they rebooted everything in the new universe, she became a Beyonce look-alike. Sigh…

          • Tse says:

            I was joking, it’s hard to do sarcasm over the internet :(

            P.S. Or maybe you were joking in your reply and I didn’t get it…

        • Harry says:

          Yeah I don’t get this. Because men cannibalizing each other is not weird at all? Once you have a character THAT weird and psychotic their gender literally doesn’t factor into the “weirdness” of it any more.

      • Shamus says:

        I think the trick here is that this can feel like a trap to the writer.

        You leave out women, and people like Mumbles (and myself) will complain because the Boys Only world is boring and lazy. (Allowing for variations in setting and tone. I mean, I obviously don’t expect to see female prisoners in Shawshank Redemption just to meet a diversity quota.)

        On the other hand there’s another group of people who regard women as if they were a minority. “Your portrayal of women promotes violence against them and a mindset that women who break from the established gender norms are less than human.”

        So you have to include women or you’re a sexist. But you can’t de-humanize them (which is what you need to do if you want a character to be a mook in a videogame) or you’re a misogynist. And if you try to please both groups and have the fighting take place between men and leave the females to support roles, then you’re backward thinking and your setting is demeaning to women.

        Sigh.

        This is why I try to shy away from accusing people of sexism or hatred. It’s a minefield out there, and there’s no end to the number of people who will DEMAND your fictional world adhere to their agenda / worldview / diversity standards. You really can’t please everyone.

        Then there are the business concerns, where money really does create incentives for developers to take the easy way out. (We can sell more if we can justify putting some tits on the cover.)

        So I try to just continually stress that what I want is variety: If you’re going to get hammered no matter what you do, then at least make something interesting and inclusive for the player: Make the people in your story distinct from each other. Try to avoid the “unshaven thirty-something white dude” rut. Make individuals the villains, not specific groups.

        And my continual mantra: You can do better than this.

        • What I want is for developers to be intentional. Make your gender passed decisions with a purpose. Look at Valve and TF2: fixed gender has a purpose – to produce recognizable silhouettes. Could some characters have been female? Of course, but there was thought that went into the selection.

          Simply going with cultural defaults without analysis is lazy. You can have an “unshaven thirty-something white dude” as your hero – just do it with purpose, to improve your story, not because you couldn’t think of anything else.

          • James Pony says:

            A problem I sometimes encounter, being a comic artist, is that you want diversity in your characters (this also applies to facial features and build, not just ethnicity/gender/religion), but at the same time you want to avoid token gender-, religion- and ethnic-quota characters.

            But then, if you naturally end up with a group of white males, someone’s going to be offended because you aren’t “politically correct” (all political, with complete lack of facts).

            In the end I choose to do what feels proper for me, to hell with the whining of professional offendees. A naturally occurring homogeneous ensemble is more likely better written than forced diversity. Although it’s still important to make sure you’re not just copypasting your favored archetype over and over again, ’cause that’s just boring.

            Political correctness is like nuclear war: it’s a game you win by not playing.

            • Alex says:

              Give all of the male characters boobs.

              PROBLEM SOLVED!

            • Mumbles says:

              Obviously I’m not saying you should throw in women because you feel guilty if you don’t. I’m also not saying that an all male cast is sexist. I’m saying that assuming one character can’t be portrayed a certain way simply because she’s a woman is sexist. It’s along the same lines as “Well, we can’t kill women in a video game because they’re the gentler sex!”

              Maybe there couldn’t be a female soldier in Team Fortress 2 because retro law dictates that there were very few women back then in the military and the archetype they were playing off of was originally a man. But, to say a woman can not under any circumstances be written as a psychopath for laughs is complete bullshit.

              • James Pony says:

                I think TF2 would benefit from a (playable) female character. The lack of one doesn’t detract from it, but I’d trust Valve to keep up the existing quality.
                I’m also curious to see if Valve could implement a tenth class that would have fully unique mechanisms.
                One half-assed idea I accidentally came up was a cat that can stop members of the enemy team performing any attacks by staying within a certain range, by being an adorable cat that distracts the enemy from the battle, and would have an attack that does little to no damage but has some debuff effect. There could also be a buff for friendlies, such as purring (which would limit the cat’s movement speed significantly) that would make healing, rearming and the building up of other effects faster. Just for example. The cat could also have very little health, but be hard to hit (possibly even have a limited Bonk-like sprint ability), or just plain have nine 1hp lives.
                Don’t know if that’s actually a workable idea, but I would like to see something equally unusual, such a class that can not directly kill anything or anything anyone smarter than me can come up with.
                Or something like that in a completely new game, by Valve or anyone good.

                Also, if I get this particular comic I’m trying to write to actually become the start of a viable project (because it’s based on old stuff I doodled in school during breaks and is not a valid comic as-is AND there’s really too much potential material for just a single album/book so the planning phase is pretty intensive), almost all the characters in it (many of them female) will be stupid, incompetent, insane and/or psychopathic and even the “straight” people are not really winning any prizes because there’s really no room for sanity in the inherently ridiculous setting of the comic. Some of it is deliberately politically incorrect, other parts I just don’t know if they are “appropriate” or not – and mostly I do not even care.

                And again, I am wont to classify a lot of “careful” and “considerate” writing as spineless and just plain sub-par.

                Also, if possible, I would like to see a podcast or blog-post(s) from the Spoiler Warning team about female characters in movies, games, all media, comparing the standard to the best, exceptional characters and the worst. For example, is Ellen Ripley a good or bad character, is she too perfect and unrealistic, or how much do characters need to be realistic in order to be considered well-written, etc.
                Because a lot of media still have problems with female characters, they’re either too “grrl-power” or too “sex-object”, are publishers just too afraid to try things or does the significant majority of customers really feel uncomfortable if the protagonist of a game (or movie) is anything but the “standard”, and so on.

          • silentlambda says:

            Another issue is that the existing TF2 characters are all broad national stereotypes that you might see in the campy sixties movies that the whole aesthetic was based on. If you introduce women, you have to show how women were portrayed in less researched sixties media, which would probably come off as offensive to some, even if it was satirical.

            Valve had to tread the line between a throwback to a simpler, sillier time and just perpetuating cultural ignorance.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            I remember someone posting a picture here with female skins for team fortress where the silhouettes remained the same.So could that someone please repost it?;)

      • Volfram says:

        I would actually find it weirder if it WAS Rutskarn going on about cannibalism instead of Mumbles. That may be a trace of my developed misogyny showing through, though. I’ve had more than a few bad experiences trying to interact with women.

  16. Thomas says:

    I think the story would have worked better, if Wake’s writing style, as it is revealed throughout the game, actually said some things about him as a person, apart from “is a hack writer”. It could have gone to Silent Hill levels of characterization and a reflection on the creative process, but none of that happened, since apparently Alan is such a mediocre artist, that he put none of himself into his work.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      I honestly don’t think the writing is indicative of Alan’s abilities at all. Not from the standpoint of “it was written in a week”, but from the standpoint of someone analyzing the prose of each page.
      It’s pretty obvious that each page was written in a vacuum, separate from the others. It’s also fairly obvious that they weren’t intended to look like they were part of a novel.

      I’d actually like the manuscripts to reflect Alan and agree that it’s a missed opportunity. It was a very neat idea and I love the concept of this story. It was just poorly executed.

      Come to think of it, a lot of things in this game could be described that way: Great idea but poorly executed. I give Remedy props for doing something different, but the game could use some polish.

      • Jingleman says:

        I blame it on the language barrier. Even for the most fluent and talented speakers of second languages, it’s incredibly difficult to write the kind of natural prose a native speaker can produce. Which is not to say that there aren’t native speakers who write crappy prose in their own language, Lord knows. It’s just an extra layer or two of added complexity in a process that’s already riddled with obstacles.

        Of course, there are plenty of writers who produce excellent prose in their secondary languages. Still, when I see odd syntax or inelegant sentence structure in a work produced by someone working outside of their native tongue, I often wonder whether it was a product of the writer being more accustomed to thinking in a language that works differently.

        • Tse says:

          If you can’t think in a certain language, you don’t know it well.

        • newdarkcloud says:

          Still, Remedy wrote Max Payne too. I’ve heard tons of good stuff about the writing in Max Payne (the games, not the movie).

          • Thomas says:

            I was fun, but in many ways it was the same as this. It’s just that style fits the Max Payne universe, whereas it doesn’t this one. Plus there was always a touch of parody with Max Payne. And they used it deliberately enough that they found it easy to parody the writing of Max Payne 1 in Max Payne 2

    • Thomas says:

      Oh :( It was so nice to come to a place and actually be able to use my actual name for a change. Can we both stay Thomas and if people want to differentiate us they just have to look out our pictures?

  17. DirigibleHate says:

    Argh, Josh, you missed a coffee thermos and it was right in front of you, in the window of the shop you passed through. Then moments later you go far out of your way to find another one. Consider me trolled.

  18. IFS says:

    Did that helicopter have the number 1408 on it? I think thats the title of a Steven King story.

    Also, I whenever I see the subtitles for Alan going “Aaaaaaah” in the credits sequence, its under Kevin Macleod’s name so for a second I think its a subtitle for him and I wonder why.

  19. Mr Guy says:

    This strikes me as less “because I said so” as a reset than most, actually. Alan just fell out of a helicopter unexpectedly. It’s not crazy that, even if he could be carrying 5 guns beforehand, he’d drop a bunch of them (or that he’d have taken the incredibly uncomfortable flares out of his pocket once he was “safe” in the helicopter.

    The odd thing for me is that for some reason Alan falls out of the helicopter with the starter flashlight and exactly 2 batteries. Why bother? Why not go full reset and drop him in the dark and make him find the flashlight (with a “plot lock” similar to the “we won’t let you past until you’ve picked up the gun” lock they use in that scene)?

    That said, I found it jarring precisely because of the previous battle. My guess is the battle at the helicopter was meant to be difficult and challenging. Then they playtested it and found sometimes people ran out of ammo, so they dumbed it down to an incredible degree (9 flares, a pump shotgun and tons of ammo, a flaregun, and a bunch of flashbangs? Why not just give Alan a nuke? Or a “skip the pointless battle” button?)

    My point is the game deliberately gears you up to a degree I can’t recall seeing the like of in this game. And if you’re like me you hoard those precious flare gun shells and flashbangs during the battle. You use the mounted lights to save your batteries. But the fight itself is incredibly easy, and you walk out with “yeah, OK, I killed them all and I was rewarded for being frugal with some sweet gear.” Then it’s IMMEDIATELY ripped away in a Norm McDonald-level “Wait What?” moment.

    • Jingleman says:

      Right on. The supply distribution for most of this game is way out of whack. The game can become unbalanced very quickly, in either direction.

      Alan falling out of the helicopter here is indeed a natural place to remove all of his guns (where was he keeping those, by the way?), but I think it would have been less jarring to have, as part of the cut scene, a moment where the Alan tries to hang on to his revolver but can’t. A brief shot of one gun falling away as Alan tries to hang on to the chopper would have conveyed the concept and saved us some fumbling around on the ground.

      • Vic 2.0 says:

        “Right on. The supply distribution for most of this game is way out of whack. The game can become unbalanced very quickly, in either direction.”

        How is that “out of whack”, for a game in a genre where you’re not supposed to be taking things for granted?

        Anyway, I actually disagree with that “in either direction” business. There is precisely one area in the game in which you’re not given “enough” ammo (unless you count the infinite enemy respawn areas, but even then you have plenty to stroll right through). This one area is after the crash with Barry, where you’re left with no gun or flashlight for a while.

        Even the area where all you have are flashbang grenades, it’s entirely possible to wipe out all the Taken with those grenades (if you have the skill) and have plenty for the next section.

    • PurePareidolia says:

      Some questions arise:
      A) Why not fly with the doors closed so he doesn’t fall out?
      B) He’s lost these guns several times before, why would he ever let them out of his sight?

      • Mr Guy says:

        Re: A, perhaps this model helicopter doesn’t have doors that close.

        Re: B, because Alan’s a lousy writer. :)

      • Syal says:

        A: They probably had to dissolve the doors with their flashlights to get inside.

        B: It’s dark! With shadows! It’s hard to see guns in the shadowy darkness!

      • Pete says:

        Because in Videogame Land helicopters never have doors capable of closing, or if they do, are required by law to open said doors whenever a dramatic moment is occuring.

        Its a bit of a pet peeve of mine ever since Crysis and Singularity did it.

      • Even says:

        A) I guess it would be too easy for the sake of the story. It’s like he puts himself in harms way just to make sure the balance stays right.

        B) You could excuse it off with Alan trying to make the story more dramatic. Not that it makes it any less annoying for gameplay.

        • Vic 2.0 says:

          Why is everyone complaining about losing guns/ammo in this section? You get all the ammo and guns you’ll need in that small outdoor office and then in the main building.

          Anyway, I agree that it was about keeping things interesting and challenging , from both a gameplay and storyline perspective.

    • Viktor says:

      I think the deliberate gearing, though terrible, is why they stripped your gear here. Basically, they were afraid the average player might use all batteries/ammo during some fights while other players would hoard it. So eventually one player would be completely out of everything and the other would have maxed-out inventory. To keep the game challenging for both, occasionally they strip all your gear and then give you loot drops to bring you back up to a certain point. It makes sense, but like so much else in this game, was done terribly.

  20. Mr Guy says:

    Regarding the Christmas Lights. Feels like that would have made an epic power-up for this game. Just on a few levels (say the ones that go through town) you could find some Christmas lights. With the lights, low-level taken would take damage trying to melee you. Allow the player to “boost” the lights for a short period by using a battery, which would act like a flare and push enemies back (batteries are more common than flares, and if it’s a suit you could shoot while it was active, unlike a flare).

    I could imagine a scene where you have just this and no flashlight, where you use it as part of an unarmed run through an area. Why invent such a cool mechanic and not let the player use it?

    • PurePareidolia says:

      So basically make parts of the game into Pitch Black?

      I’m pretty strongly in favour of that.

    • Thomas says:

      I just love the idea of a scene, maybe the climax of the game, where Alan raids a light shop, wraps himself in layer and layer of christmas lights and strings of light and torches in every pocket etc, crawls up to a high place (lighthouse, top of church etc)

      And _focuses_

      The light sweeps through Cauldron Lake and burns away all the darkness, but the strength of burden on Wake’s mind (whilst he does it we see him imagine Cauldron Lake as it should be, with the darkness sealed away and everything perfect, until eventually it turns towards him thinking of his wife) and he collapses.

      Wake up in hospital a few weeks later and looking at wife. Can slowly (very slowly) walk through hospitable, getting brighter and faster as you walk, with lots of happy details, you walk through the front door and the light flares, shot of a bright beautiful day.

      Cue credits.

      But Alan Wake isn’t going for that style of think and particularly doesn’t want you to think about mechanics or practical ways of solving problems and would need to set up an ‘Alan Wake, afraid of taking on responsibility plot, tied into his fear of writing’ to work :(

    • Vic 2.0 says:

      That’s so far from the tone of the game it’s not even funny.

      Why not just give him a light saber and Nike shoes with lights in the heels for ultimate weapons while you’re at it? Lol. *shakes head*

  21. Naota says:

    “Aaah!”

    “Barry!”

    “He made it inside, Wake. He’s okay!”

    Oh. Well thanks for that. For a second there I was almost about to actually feel a little tension and uncertainty as to whether or not Barry had been crushed flat by a flying schoolbus.

    Wouldn’t want the audience to not know exactly what’s going on at all times in this horror story, now would we? We certainly wouldn’t want them to feel uncomfortable or worried anything.

    • Even says:

      On the contrary, the combat has all the trappings for it. You’ll constantly feel uncomfortable fighting the never-ending waves because it’s boring busywork and during downtime you’ll always worry whether yet another wave is going to spawn and further delay your progress foward.

      It’s like a whole new genre of horror!

      • Vic 2.0 says:

        “‘Aaah!’
        ‘Barry!’
        ‘He made it inside, Wake. He’s okay!’

        Oh. Well thanks for that. For a second there I was almost about to actually feel a little tension and uncertainty as to whether or not Barry had been crushed flat by a flying schoolbus.

        Wouldn’t want the audience to not know exactly what’s going on at all times in this horror story, now would we? We certainly wouldn’t want them to feel uncomfortable or worried anything.”

        That was your tension and uncertainty, reason to worry! Who says they have to drag everything out? Isn’t it bad enough his wife has been missing for the length of the entire game and he has no idea if she’s even alive?

        • Vic 2.0 says:

          Also on that note:

          Before criticizing, ask yourself, “What’s the alternative?” You run over there yelling “Barry!” and he doesn’t answer (giving you a real reason to complain about the barrier blocking you from getting over there). So you assume the worst. And then when you see him again, you’re not thinking about the Christmas lights he’s wrapped up in; you’re thinking, “Why the hell didn’t you say, ‘I’m okay, Al’ when I was calling your name, you asshole?” And whether Alan asks this or not, whether Barry has a good explanation or not, you’ve now given the player a good 30 seconds of boring chatter and staring at the Christmas lights wondering when someone’s going to get around to commenting on them. The pace is gone. And all because you wanted to drag out a dramatic moment that was just fine to begin with.

          You create more problems than you solve that way.

    • Tse says:

      Of course Barry’s ok. Wake wrote this, he only kills people he doesn’t know or like….
      Wow, I just realized what a monster the protagonist is…

      • Mr Guy says:

        Except in the ending, where he kills someone I don’t like.

      • Vic 2.0 says:

        “Of course Barry’s ok. Wake wrote this, he only kills people he doesn’t know or like….
        Wow, I just realized what a monster the protagonist is…”

        Just because Alan physically put pen to paper doesn’t mean all of it (or any of it was his doing. The game even tells you that everything he writes is “heavily revised” by the dark presence in the cabin. All you just realized is your own potential for assuming beyond your means.

    • Naota says:

      It’s even worse when you realize that the next time you see Barry, he’s decked out in christmas lights and boasting an enormous head lamp. The scene was already hilarious, but imagine how much better it would be on top of that if you spent the previous ten minutes of the game seriously wondering if he had made it out alive.

      Damnit, Wake! This is worth at least a Silvur Riter Award for flabbergasting mismanagement of tone and sheer missed opportunity.

      • Vic 2.0 says:

        “‘Aaah!’
        ‘Barry!’
        ‘He made it inside, Wake. He’s okay!’

        Oh. Well thanks for that. For a second there I was almost about to actually feel a little tension and uncertainty as to whether or not Barry had been crushed flat by a flying schoolbus.

        Wouldn’t want the audience to not know exactly what’s going on at all times in this horror story, now would we? We certainly wouldn’t want them to feel uncomfortable or worried anything.”

        That was your tension and uncertainty, reason to worry! Who says they have to drag everything out? Isn’t it bad enough his wife has been missing for the length of the entire game and he has no idea if she’s even alive?

        • Vic 2.0 says:

          Also, on that note:

          Before criticizing, ask yourself, “What’s the alternative?” You run over there yelling “Barry!” and he doesn’t answer (giving you a real reason to complain about the barrier blocking you from getting over there). So you assume the worst. And then when you see him again, you’re not thinking about the Christmas lights he’s wrapped up in; you’re thinking, “Why the hell didn’t you say, ‘I’m okay, Al’ when I was calling your name, you asshole?” And whether Alan asks this or not, whether Barry has a good explanation or not, you’ve now given the player a good 30 seconds of boring chatter and staring at the Christmas lights wondering when someone’s going to get around to commenting on them. The pace is gone. And all because you wanted to drag out a dramatic moment that was just fine to begin with.

          You create more problems than you solve that way.

  22. ENC says:

    Ahh don’t call it crescendo events! (It’s pronounced creSHendo not cre-sendo)

    Crescendo means ‘gradually becoming louder’, whereas in L4D they’re already at the loud part.

    • Alex says:

      This. ^

      That’s why I don’t know if it’s fair to compare Alan Wake to L4D, the way the Spoiler Warning crew did here. Alan Wake at least had quiet moments. It didn’t do a great job with pacing, but once in a while it did try. It did ocassionally remember that, “Oh yeah, there are characters that maybe we should explore a little bit!”. So that the player might have some slight personal investment when the action scenes pop up again.

      L4D doesn’t have crescendo events. It is just one long crescendo. It’s all climax, and nothing else. No pacing. No buildup. No quiet moments where you get to know the characters. No chance to stop and take a breather. No Barry with christmas lights. Just pull the right trigger until we tell you to stop.

  23. AxiomaticBadger says:

    5:43 – lET’s haVe A kIT-KAaaAAT!

    Worst taken – HIM

  24. decius says:

    Reference difficulty going back and forth:

    Remember DOOM, where you could get lots of nifty weapons and then lose all of them, go back to the pistol, and restart the level? You don’t even go back to fighting zombies.

  25. bigben says:

    I had to think of Rutsy when I saw this.

  26. Thomas says:

    Mumbles has become so negative :D It’s like anti-Bioshock, easily the most negative cast member now.

    I thought the two manuscript pages this week were interesting, in that they filled in some plot gaps.

    Also the Barry thing was awesome and the whole level wasn’t bad … except for the combat as usual

    • Vic 2.0 says:

      I thought the combat was fun, as usual.

      Actually, the combat itself is more fun when it’s just you, because you don’t have anyone stealing your “kills”. But it was a nice change of pace and environment, as always.

  27. Grudgeal says:

    02:50 – Duck season!

  28. Alex says:

    RE: female characters in TF2:

    I vaguely recall reading a theory that the cast of TF2 are all parodies of different kinds of masculinity. Which would mean all of those mods where they give the character models boobs are kind of missing the point.

    But then it occurs to me that I might be overthinking a game that literally has no story. That, and the Pyro’s going to get a “Meet The…” video, so maybe there’ll be a surprise there.

  29. Dasick says:

    Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait…

    Is Rutskarn old enough to know who Ron Jeremy is?

    Also, what was the pun Shamus made? I missed that, because people were talking over each other.

  30. Jarenth says:

    I am saddened by the lack of Axe Cop knowledge in this group. And by ‘this group’ I mean Mumbles.

    Unless more of you don’t know what Axe Cop is. In that case, I am double saddened.

  31. Eärlindor says:

    To bring up something Shamus mentioned in half-jest early in the episode: I think the idea of a Female Pornstar Taken being more unsettling than a male one really speaks to our Western culture and literary devices (can’t really comment on the Eastern since I’m not well versed in it)–the whole “woman as the monster” trope. Do you think that has to do with humanity’s history of a patriarchal society and it being “okay” for men “do it” with as many women as possible (but if it’s the other way around the woman is considered a whore) while simultaneously putting that idea alonside those of fear, the taboo, immorality, etc. of such sexuality?

    Am I making any sense…?

  32. Sumanai says:

    Wayne Knight is a DC alternate history short story like Marvel’s 1602 where the focus is on that era’s Batman, who changed his surname into Knight in order to not embarrass the Gretzky family name. In the end a child, called Bob, adopts Wayne as his last name in honour of Batman. It’s left unclear whether or not Bob is actually Knight’s son.

    There, Rutskarn. Wasn’t that hard, now was it?

  33. Alex the Too Old says:

    Re what Mumbles said about Strong Bad: I was well into my twenties when Homestar Runner hit the interwebs, but I’m still gonna say it – “Ow, my childhood! ;_; “

  34. Vic 2.0 says:

    “I notice that several times I’ve mentioned, ‘This part was unexpectedly hard,’ and had most of the rest of the cast chime in that they had trouble in the same spots. Now, you could argue that this was by design, but these spots always seem to appear in odd places. Like I said in the episode: The small battle outside the locked garage was harder than the giant ‘defend the helicopter’ set-piece.”

    What’s so odd about the game getting progressively more difficult? And what’s so bad about something being unexpected in this game; isn’t that one of the big complaints, things are too predictable? Again, a little consistency among the critics would be great…

    “Also: The thing with the birds and the helicopter really did bug me. It felt wrong. I don’t know thing about non-videogame helicopters, but I just couldn’t picture how those birds could be a threat to the thing. From above they should be pulled through the blades and turned into paste.”

    Just like the human Taken should’ve been blown to bits by a shotgun? Everything that is covered in darkness is invincible until the darkness is burned away; this concept was explained in the very beginning of the game.

    “This seemed stupid and nonsensical to me until I remembered: Alan Wake is a hack writer.”

    hack – a person, esp. a professional, who surrenders individual independence, integrity, belief, etc., in return for money or other reward.

    So… um, what?

  35. The Truth says:

    0:20 – Quick question. If you have both hands full (one with a lantern flashlight and the other with a shotgun) and you have to use more force than a nudge to manipulate something… What do you do?
    A) Put down your flashlight or gun, so you can free a hand to open it?
    B) Keep nudging it, possibly hitting it with your hip because that’s what cool guys do?
    C) Kick the damn thing and get on with your journey?

    I suspect that blowing it to pieces with your shotgun would’ve produced somewhat more (and better founded) criticism than all the kicking.

    0:39 – YOU’RE the ones who need to read the damn manuscripts, not us! There are literally countless examples of you not getting the story (because you didn’t read the manuscripts or listen to the narration, the videos of Alan in the cabin, and cut scenes) and yet still criticizing it with the premise that it doesn’t make sense.

    1:05 – Reference to Axe Cop. Good eye!

    1:10 – The achievement was for capping 100 Taken with the revolver.

    1:46 – I’m going to attribute the flash bangs to Zane, as only he would know ahead of time that they’d need light-producing “firepower”.

    3:40 – “So the fishing Doc is still perfectly fine.”

    …Yeah?

    4:47 – He “wasted” the flare to let Alan and the Sheriff know where he was. And you guys seriously whining about Remedy referencing one of their OWN works, given the comparably huge number of references they make to other artists?

    5:06 – “And the gimmick is (Sam Lake) is famous for making (the Max Payne) face in this universe.”

    How do you get that? The talk show host merely asked him to do it for the audience as an afterthought. There’s absolutely nothing to imply that’s his whole profession, lol.

    5:36 – The game actually does address this, when she goes to unlock the door to the bookstore. “Perks of being the Sheriff” is all we get. I think it’s believable, due to the size and nature of Bright Falls. Everyone seems to know and trust her, which isn’t unheard of in really small towns. And these are businesses, institutions, etc., not private residences or something.

    6:25 – A likely explanation for why the Taken are only male is that the dark presence took just a handful (recycling their bodies, by the look of their bodies simply disappearing when you “kill” them) in the middle of the night, where the vast majority of people out are men. Note that they are campers, hunters, fishermen, joggers, etc. Though women DO get involved in these activities, it’s primarily men out at night doing this stuff.

    7:05 – It’s altogether silly to say that the fighting is a waste of time. It’s in almost every video game; it’s called gameplay.

    7:41 – Alan has lapses in judgement, and he is an asshole, but there’s nothing to suggest he’s unintelligent. If nothing else, he developed an understanding of the manuscript before YOU guys did :) While fighting for his life I might add!

    7:57 – It’s not actually a crypt (note the absence of coffins and vaults). Alan semi-humorously REFERS to it as a crypt in light of the predicament they’re in. It’s actually clever, given the odds you WILL find a “dead” body down there on this particular night.

    8:29 – No evidence that Alan is a bad writer. I’ve heard you guys attribute every little thing in the game to his writing, which is unfounded because it never suggests that every little thing in the world was something he wrote into existence, nor does it suggest an event that wasn’t written can’t happen (It just can’t bump out what’s written altogether). I’ve heard you guys go on about the manuscript ad nauseum. But given that Alan only PHYSICALLY penned the manuscript while the dark presence “heavily revised” it so it would be exactly what IT wanted it to be, that would be more reason to say the dark presence was a “crap writer”. But then, it’s meant to be an incantation and not a form of art, so even that’s somehow more ridiculous than it sounds. All of this is explained to you in the game, if you had bothered to pay attention.

    There is some of his writing that’s rather good, however. You can read a couple pages of it in the next episode, and then more assorted works if you ever get your hands on “The Alan Wake Files”. That’s not to mention his nationwide fame for being a writer, which further implies he’s actually rather good when left to write his own stuff HIS WAY.

    9:44 – You’re not putting Christmas lights on yourself because it’s only an assumption on Barry’s part that it will protect him… That’s part of the humor.

    10:15 – From the manuscript “Focusing the Beam” in “Alan Wake’s American Nightmare”,

    “There’s more to fighting the Taken than just burning away the darkness that protects them. When I’m fighting for my life, I find myself slipping into a state of intense concentration that makes the beam of my flashlight seem more powerful and focused. I used to think it was just my imagination, something brought on by the adrenaline and fear of death, but now I’m not so sure. I have been touched by powers that I can’t begin to truly comprehend, and they’ve left a mark. I’m starting to think this might be a part of it.”

    Translation: Much like the ability to see the paint used by Cynthia Weaver on various objects in the game, the ability to boost may be a characteristic bestowed upon Alan due to his close encounter with the darkness. Part of the “stain”, as Cynthia Weaver calls it, left by the darkness’ touch. In the first case, it is simply a matter of the brain suddenly picking up images that were invisible to it before. In this case, it is actually a matter of the brain interacting with a now more familiar phenomenon: darkness.

    But there are other interpretations, made possible by the genius of the story as it unfolds. Is it the light or “what it represents” (as is said by Zane in the first DLC) that actually drives the darkness back? If it’s the latter, heightened concentration on the enemy (whether it implies faith, rage, love for his wife, or just clearer thinking) could be the explanation for “boosting”. Or, is it one more reason to think all of this is in his head? Take your pick.

    12:08 – Finally a decent bit of criticism. There should’ve been some explanation for (or at least acknowledgement of) the fact that Barry’s sitting in the helicopter as you fight the Taken by yourself. Would’ve been sufficient if they had just given us a line from Alan, “Thanks for the help, asshole”, something!

    16:50 – No, the reply “No one’s ever said that before” was to the “A little heavy on the metaphors maybe” line, and the whole lot of it is Sam Lake poking fun at his own “heavy use” of metaphors in Max Payne. A clever reference I’m surprised none of you picked up on, especially considering how you went on and on about the game’s other references to Max Payne earlier.

    17:29 – Actually a single bird can take down a helicopter by getting stuck in mechanism where the blades come out. And if a shotgun can’t harm a Taken without first breaking their dark shield, it’s not hard to figure this means they are essentially like stone until that darkness has been removed. So it’s perfectly believable a swarm of them can take down a helicopter.

    Good criticism again (getting better?) about not having the lantern but having a flashlight again. I have no issue with the game taking stuff from you for the purposes of the gameplay (keep it challenging). But if they were going to do it here, they should’ve simply left you without a flashlight at all, maybe putting one nearby for you to see and grab real quickly before the birds attacked.

    Now back to you guys being your usual selves…

    18:15 – This battle seeming more difficult for YOU than the tornado fight makes sense because:
    A. You’ve been relying on flashbangs and flares too much, which one of you more or less admitted.

    And in general, it makes sense that it might be harder because:
    B. It is further in the game, and one would expect the game’s difficulty to get harder, not easier.
    C. It’s more of a surprise where everyone’s coming from… You know, the same thing you were complaining about the game not doing earlier?

    And you not knowing that your inventory’s gone is all you. Once the gun icon that is normally in the corner of your screen is gone, that’s your first clue you’ve lost something.

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