Y’all, I’m concerned. I was out walking with my kid today and I found a typewritten page lying in the sand on the playground. I picked it up and it looks like Alan Wake was writing about me? In the Alan Wake games, one of the core concepts is that people find typewritten pages written by Alan, and the pages predict the future. It looks like I’m going to write a bad review of Alan Wake 2. Needless to say, I’m worried.
Here’s what the page said:
Jacob fancied himself a writer. He took pride in his legal writing. His motions and briefs emphasized clarity. Simplicity. Brevity. Accuracy was essential. Inaccuracy meant losing. Losing meant embarrassment.
This time he started writing with abandon. The concept was too fun, and the subject demanded discussion. His commentary’s form mimicked that of the commentary’s subject. A commentary on the writing of a commentary on writing. A loop. A spiral.
He knew the game was special. He tried to describe the special while ignorant to the method. He saw the commentary on editing. He saw how the game turned genre expectations into both a plot point and a game mechanic. He saw the commentary on how authors carelessly use people for their stories. But he could only bathe in the themes. He could not see the purpose. Because he was not a writer. Bathing was more than enough for him. Noting their existence would substitute for educated praise.
He was ignorant of the workmanship. Alan Wake 2 played out in layers, recursions, and loops. Layers, recursions and loops of language. Story. Geography. Design. Callbacks, breadcrumbs, trigger phrases. He imagined creating a story with these elements. He imagined building the ship in the bottle. But for all the lawyer knew, it could be the easiest fiction in the world. For him, the brilliance was a sight to behold. He let himself fall into the weave. So he wrote his clumsy feel of the weave.
That it was a game was secondary. He had no interest in writing the mechanics. It was a game. Left trigger, right trigger. Dodge, sprint, reload. It was all done well enough. But the story also seeped into the mechanics. Changing level designs with a typewriter. Opening doorways with a lamp shaped like an angel. He could not avoid the dutiful recitation of game mechanics. He was writing a game review, after all.
Space was running out. These things only last about a page. He would have to think of a clever way to end it. He failed. “This isn’t very good,” he thought. He decided to publish anyway.