RE:BIND

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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WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY!

One room, two plants, four creatures, six bullets, no way out. I stared out my window, the inevitability of the situation setting in faster than the wallpaper was rotting off the walls. I don’t know when it happened, I don’t know how it happened, all I know is that my damn tv won’t stay off, and the alarm clock won’t stop beeping. Have I slept? Did I ever sleep? Sure as hell doesn’t feel like it, certainly haven’t been able to shake this headache for as long as I can remember. But no matter how bad things are in here, I know they’re A LOT NICER OUTSIDE, IT IS A REALLY NICE DAY OUTSIDE.

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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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Bin Chickanery, By Ellie (@bideobames on twitter)

HAHA, OH MAN. HOW’S IT GOING FELLOW AUSTRALIAN? I REALLY JUST LOVE STAYING IN DOORS ALL THE TIME BUT I WANTED TO SEE HOW THINGS WERE OUTSIDE THE AIR CONDITIONING FOR ONCE! WHAT A LOVELY DAY OF SUNSHINE AND RIPE STENCH. UH, I MEAN, WHAT I MEANT TO SAY IS, BOY, HAHA, DO I SMELL BAD OR IS IT JUST THE GIGANTIC PILE OF TRASH HERE?

VIDEO GAMES HUH? YEAH THAT SOUNDS GREAT- WAIT, THERE’S TRASH GAMES? THAT SOUNDS UHHH… AMAZING, EXTREMELY ENTICING AND DELI- DELICATE, HARD TO MAKE I MEAN. YOU KNOW YOU REALLY HAVE TO GO SPENDING EVERY DAY JUST POURING YOUR ALL INTO THE WHOLE THING AND.. JUST… Y’KNOW, SOME PEOPLE MIGHT TAKE THE MONIKER OF TRASH GAME AS AN INSULT BUT I THINK IT’S QUITE THE COMPLIMENT. I MEAN WE HAVE TO BE MORE FRIENDLY TOWARDS THE EARTH, AND WHO DOESN’T LIKE RECYCLING?

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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 itch.io 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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Your tiny baby legs patter across the metal grating as you sprint towards a cop, praying to your boss, God, that he doesn’t turn around and pump you full of lead. You lunge forward and possess him. His body pulsates as your powers take hold, and you begin steering this meat puppet that will finally grant you access into the next room. Once you get there and his job is done, feel free to throw him over that railing into the vat of acid. Just make sure you pop out first, you certainly don’t want to take the final swan-dive with him.

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We’ve previously covered Sonoshee‘s (@Sonoshit on twitter) Critters For Sale: SNAKE, a unique episodic take on the visual novel genre through a fresh perspective riffing on pop culture and to which shows no signs of stopping with the new entry GOAT.

Goat keeps up the intense visual style that made the original so compelling, despite going from a hotel to a desert the aesthetic remains fully intact and just as vibrant as ever. What has changed is the tone- Goat is an origin story of side characters from the first episode, and by the very nature of said character follows suit with a more dramatic presentation.

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Launching the interstellar spaceship “Hope,” humanity shunts a baby into the cosmos off of a shattered Earth, its remnants orbiting the fractured rock. You awaken twenty-some-odd lightyears out, the cyropod next to yours bloodied, bearing a note reading “Find me.” Now grown, you don an exo-suit and set off for the alien surface of a nearby planet with nothing more than a trusty blaster in tow.

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