By Cameron Simek, Life Editor
I remember playing Tetris on my Game Boy, and fitting those block together to clear lines.
Recently the game Alan Wake was on sale via digital download on the Xbox 360. Never having played the game before, and having five dollars, I decided to immediately purchase it.
Alan Wake is a little different than most other games. The first noticeable difference is the episodic format that it uses to tell the story. Each episode takes about 30-45 minutes to beat, giving this game an advantage over some of the other games I own.
When I want to sit down for a little bit and play a game, I normally pick up my 3DS and ignore my console. However, Alan Wake’s short episodes give me the perfect starting and stopping points to have a short console gaming session.
During my play through I enjoyed the characters and the way they interacted. Though they were essentially stereotypical characters for a story, it was still a fun adventure. Alan Wake’s storyline is about a horror author who travels to a small mountain town to help with his writer’s block. Due to mysterious circumstances, he ends up in a cabin that shouldn’t exist and writes a story that could doom the entire world.
The thing that struck me most about the story is how it seemed to blend gaming into an interactive television experience through the use of the episodic content. It felt as though I was playing within a movie, and my choices affected how the story ended. The content increased my interest in the game and drove me to play it until I had finished.
Alan Wake also made me look back at my own gaming history. I realized how far games have come in the last 20 years. I remember playing Tetris on my Game Boy, and fitting the blocks together to clear the lines below. The game never gave a reason why I needed to clear the lines, all I knew was that it happened.
Thanks to the advances in technology over the years, games have managed to develop a better experience for the gamer. They have developed stories to give you a reason for your actions, characters to motivate you to perform those actions, and most importantly, consequences that change the story based on what actions you choose to take.
Games have advanced to the point where they can be compared to a great film, or a great book. Alan Wake, sadly, is not one of these great games, but it is pretty fun. It’s fun to sit down for about an hour and help Alan save his wife from the darkness that is devouring a small town.
Games are still moving forward; better technology will allow for better experiences. My hope is that one day a great game will change the way stories are told and be recognized for the wonderful experience that it will be.