Life of a Gamer: Alan Wake
You should really stop playing horror games, you think. If you did, this kind of situation would stop happening.
It is late – darkness has settled upon the world like a thick blanket, and not a single star shines through the shadowy sky. You stand outside the English building, having just left your last class, and all that stands between you and your car is that inky blackness.
The only lights which brighten the night are a short series of lampposts lining the sidewalks, their dim bulbs casting an eerie glow across the path. Somehow, their presence makes the situation worse.
Cautiously, you approach the line of lights, and step under their halo – and though the rules of the game would say you are now safe, you feel quite the opposite. As if stepping under the lamppost was playing into their hand; as if admitting that ‘light’ means safety is the same as saying that darkness is dangerous…
Your movement forward has slowed to a halt – your eyes dart across the distance, looking for any sign of… something. Fear roots you to the spot, yet you force yourself to move forward. It would be ridiculous to let something as childish as a fear of the dark keep you from leaving campus.
But then you hear it – rustling. It might just be a squirrel or a cat but it could anything, anything at all, you have no way of knowing what. An overactive imagination is almost as deadly as whatever might be waiting in the shadows, and suddenly you burst into running. Flying out from under the light, rushing through the darkness, you barrel towards your car. You don’t stay to find out what’s lurking in the fathomless night.
You get in, lock the doors, and turn on the headlights. Then you wait to hear noise. The voices of madmen. The caws of a murder of crows. The wind winding through the trees. The thunderous boom of debris tumbling from the sky. You hear nothing.
You should really stop playing horror games, you think.
Based on personal experience, this is one part of a series of pieces focused on how video games change the way players see the world. Lampposts will never be the same, for me…
The Gaming Muse