Browsing category: Overviews

Remedy‘s Alan Wake is a bit of a tragedy- and I don’t just mean the story, it’s an exercise in reminding us just how much external circumstances can impact the reception of an otherwise obvious cult classic. After a lengthy development cycle and poor timing that placed it in the middle of an awkward period in Microsoft’s publishing strategies, Alan Wake performed adequately in sales but failed to garner the kind of critical reception it deserved. Once the Xbox exclusivity period elapsed, it was finally brought to the PC, shortly followed by its expansion, Alan Wake’s American Nightmare.

It’s popular these days to riff off the famous American writer, Stephen King, or pull on influences like David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, but Remedy was doing it long before it was on trend. Max Payne 1 & 2 came with a parallel narrative that played out via an in-world pulp noir show “Address Unknown” which served as an allegory for Max’s own internal struggles. Remedy is fairly open about the fact that they have a proclivity for inserting homages into the works that inspired them, and Alan Wake was no exception to this formula.

Spoilers ahead, because if you haven’t played Alan Wake yet… you really should.

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The internet is a weird place. It allows us to connect to each other over vast distances, instantaneously share information, be with our loved ones across the ocean, and, sometimes, introduces swaths of people to a bizarre VN/fighting game hybrid that is tangentially related to one of the most massive anime-media empires we’ve seen since the inception of Dragon Ball. Of course, I’m talking about the expanded universe known as the “Nasuverse”.

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Routine Feat – By Alexandre Ignatov aka sad3d

(content warning, Routine Feat and the games alongside it have a tendency to deal with heavy themes such as depression and the resultant emotions that come with that.)

A gorgeous summer day, but nobody’s outside. The winters are harsh in this country- you think they’d make the time to enjoy the day in the courtyard, perhaps they’re at the stores, or off at the lake?

Routine feat is about exploring isolation, and not in the ways that most try to tackle it. There’s no monsters here, no violent conflict, nothing to contend with except your own inability to focus on the task you set time aside to perform. It’s the kind of isolation, specifically, that arises from forced exile in creative endeavors, the kind that is a direct result of procrastination. Hammering away at the pages, half of it turns into a diary.. what sort of story is this anyway? Why would anyone want to read the frustrated writings of yet another grumbling person looking to vent?

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Not this time, it’s pure fiction. We made it up.

Urban Legends, Myths, Scary Stories, Surreal Tales of the darkness that lurks behind the window and in the shrouded corners of our homes; these so very often form the life blood of our design ambitions, but are we truly doing them justice?

It’s been a popular trend ever since the famous found footage thriller Marble Hornets to make rapid adaptions of the often fascinating concepts and urban legends that have their genesis in the online public domain of anonymous forums and social media. However, it is this very trend which kicked off a seemingly endless assembly line of content, churning the latest viral meme of terror du jour into a cynical cash-in soon to be found in the dark alleyways of Steam recommendations and forgotten tags, with only a handful of genuine gems cropping up from time to time. This isn’t to say that interactive media is alone in this trend, television and radio have a longstanding tradition of revitalizing the most haunting stories in our collective subconscious across multiple decades, bringing us works like Sci-Fi’s Channel Zero which seek to create direct adaptations of work pulled from stories found on the notorious imageboards of the late 2000s.

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I’ve been playing a lot of RUST lately, and it’s left me reflecting on both the works of Joseph Conrad and the various interpretations they’ve inspired. We talk a lot in games about how the subject of violence deserves far more scrutiny in whatever form it takes- Jingoism, Gore, Abuse, but we have a strong tendency in critical analysis to overlook the systematic violence that is perpetuated through the context of the material itself.

If Metal Gear Solid and Spec Ops: The Line are anti-war critiques, then I would wager that the likes of Far Cry 2 or Cryostasis are more in line with the original thesis of Conrad’s subtext, one also found within the core of Coppala’s interpretation: the prevailing focus on the liminal and transformative nature of warfare. One cannot go through war, either as an individual or a society, without drastically altering one’s super-ego (the self-critical consciousness) and their general perspective on life and the world at large.

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Newcomer Jan “Jam” Malitschek‘s take on the popular online urban legend, Backrooms

It’s a recent trend in online folk horror to rapidly adapt those whispers from social media aggregates like Reddit, imageboards, and forums into short films and games. The Backrooms are a famous example, still palpable in the current zeitgeist, now blossoming in horror game jams or bespoke developer catalogues, such as PuppetCombo’s newly announced entry.

“If you’re not careful and you noclip out of reality in the wrong areas, you’ll end up in the Backrooms, where it’s nothing but the stink of old moist carpet, the madness of mono-yellow, the endless background noise of fluorescent lights at maximum hum-buzz, and approximately six hundred million square miles of randomly segmented empty rooms to be trapped in
God save you if you hear something wandering around nearby, because it sure as hell has heard you”

– Anonymous /x/ board user, source:

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Here’s what you’ve all been waiting for! The list of the contributors to the meditations project who reached out to us with their details. We encourage you wholeheartedly to give the list a thorough look, the developers here are doing fantastic work, and we think you’ll find more than one or two projects that’ll just brighten up your day!

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We’ve been very interested in the actual workings of the project, how the crediting system put in place came to be, and the level of social media reception that developers involved with the project experienced, so we reached out to multiple developers involved with the project for their input. Below you’ll find the second batch of interviews we conducted with the developers who did not opt to be included in the partial credits list for the project, and what they had to say.

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We’ve been very interested in the experiences of the developers involved with the project, how they felt about the crediting process and controversy surrounding it, and the level of social media reception that they experienced, so we reached out to multiple developers involved with the project for their input. Below you’ll find the first batch of interviews we conducted with the developers who did not opt to be included in the partial credits list for the project, and what they had to say.

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