Quality Time with Mr.Wake

Only in the dark does a flashlight prove to be soo useful.

How many of us had a fear of the dark as a child? What if that darkness could breathe life to crazy axe-wielding people who chase you down as you try to run toward the light. Now imagine a cabin on a lake, spooky abandoned farms, lonely forest roads, and a mysterious town surrounded by darkness. You try to escape…but you can’t…this is what childhood (and adulthood) nightmares are made of. And this is why it’s so hard to awake from the nightmare of Alan Wake.

Set in the fictional Pacific Northwest town of Bright Falls, the eerieness set in during the first few moments of the game as I was introduced to the ‘darkness’. Any horror movie fan would appreciate this survival horror tale complete with many moments that will make you jump out of your seat.

I recently spent some time in a small secluded town which, except for the fact that it’s on an island, reminded me of Alan Wake. It also reminded me of Twin Peaks but way smaller and minus the cool diner, falls, etc etc.. In this island town, not picking up hitchhikers means you’re a snob. Weeeird…

Although my time spent with Mr. Wake was not while on this island, my trip to this place inspired me to write this quick blog on the game.

(side note: I left my Alan Wake copy to my friend who is currently living on the creepy island and even he wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to play it while he was there… ALONE…in the DARK… LOL. )

Playing the game on Hard was frustrating at times because of the number of enemies that showed up every time I was in the forest. I’m sure Nightmare would have introduced even more darkness at once. I have to admit that I had a small annoyance with the combat. Sure, you can avoid their attack if you press the button with the right timing but when you are surrounded, there’s no escape. I later learned to just avoid the swarms of enemies when overwhelmed and make my way to the light at any cost.

Combat aside, I really enjoyed playing through each episode. Using light of any kind from flashlights to flare guns against the darkness was brilliant. Another element I thought was pretty cool was the player is shown parts of Wake’s past like in his city apartment. The player can then control Mr. Wake in that setting and once complete, the story transitions back to the present day nightmare.

The soundtrack for the game is pretty good as well. It was nice reward getting to hear a new song after finishing each episode.

It’s a beautiful looking game with an immersive story. Play it in the dark or in the light. It’s up to you. But definitely worth a play.

And also, be sure to watch the prequel live-action short webisodes, Bright Falls, before playing!

Recently finished the first DLC ‘The Signal’ for the game. I didn’t get as many achievements as when I beat the full game but I’d have to play through the entire chapter again since my last save point was just before the boss.

Saw this bridge at the old growth forest on my way home from the island. Doesn’t it ┬áresemble destruction in Alan Wake?

Looking forward to the last DLC, ‘The Writer’! Can you help the writer, A.Wake, awake from the nightmare once and for all? LOL.

Tis the season to be jolly?

Falalalala lala la laaaa….

The carolers are out, the Christmas decorations are up, the gift buying has commenced, greeting cards are being exchanged,
holiday parties are in full swing and those planning on traveling are getting ready for their trips. There is definitely no shortage of things to keep one jolly over the Holiday season.

But with all the hustle and bustle of preparing for the Christmas holidays, comes an added stress for those
(unlucky) individuals who just have too much to do, to buy and to prepare. It helps if you have an idea of what needs to be
done. Be sure to follow Santa’s example and make those lists and check it twice.

This year, it feels like Christmas is sneaking up on me. Just ten days before Christmas and even a fewer number of days until
I am off on Christmas vacation! Although I welcome the break from work and the chance to spend time with family and friends during the holidays, this Christmas just won’t be the same. Those familiar with my blog might already know why, but
this is the first Christmas without my older brother. It’s still hard for me to accept that he won’t be there to pick us up at the airport like he did every year. It will be difficult to celebrate and be jolly when someone we love so much is missing. But thanks to my brother I have many wonderful Christmas memories. This Christmas don’t forget to let your loved ones know how much you appreciate them.

If there was one person who absolutely loved gift-buying and giving, it was my brother.A number of my favorite possessions were gifts from my older brother. He never ceased to surprise me with something really useful.Like the year he gave me my first computer so I could program from home instead of commuting 45min to work in the school computer labs. His generosity and enthusiasm for Christmas gift-giving is something I will always remember.

My brother also made sure to provide some entertainment for my family. You see, after the eating and the talking, we must have some form of entertainment. It could be either, a movie, cards or playing games (video games or board games), just something to keep us entertained after a nice holiday feast.
I’m going to try to take on this role by bringing a couple Wii games for my family to try. I checked out the Wii games at the crowded Futureshop earlier today and the poorly reviewed “Wii Music” was still a ridiculous $50 which makes me think twice about buying it.
There are other games I might consider like Warioland Shake it, Cooking Mama, or Samba de Amigo (although not as good as the original, I remember how much fun we had with the Dreamcast version and how much my brother loved this game).
I guess I still have a week or so to decide, but games are flying off the shelves so I need to decide soon.

The World Begins With You


In other news, I have finally finished the original Square Enix IP, ‘The World Ends With You’, and it was no easy task.
The final five-headed boss was pretty tough. My hand actually started cramping, and I noticed that I had finally gotten some good use out of my DS screen protector (So many scratches!!).


The game wouldn’t let you save in between bosses which was slightly annoying. I ended up leaving my DS on for a few days (with the charger plugged in of course) to avoid losing my progress. Siiigh, this game reminds me so much of my trip to Tokyo! Shibuya, Hachiko, 109 building, the Scramble Crossing, Harajuku st…I was there!!! Even if it feels like such a dream now, I was actually there. Just like Neku, Shiki, and Beat, I woke up each day not really sure what happened or where I was. Haha!


I’ve been terrible at keeping up with my gaming (and updating my blog!). Hopefully, I can fit more gaming in during the holidays!

The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round…

Crazzy Taxi Bus!

Imagine a game where you play the role of a bus driver. Picking up and dropping off passengers would be your primary task, but avoiding cars, pedestrians darting across your path, and cyclists are all in a day’s work too. Now, imagine the bus you drive is composed of two parts connected in the middle (similar to the image below) and your shift is during rush hour. This is what bus drivers must often deal with to ensure that the transit system remains efficient.

Riding home the other day, I overheard the bus driver chatting with another passenger about all the stuff she has to deal with on her route. It’s about a 45 min bus ride from the heart of downtown to a suburban area and she has seen it all.

From a car turning left and scrapping the bus and speeding away, white paint on his black SUV, to pedestrians who don’t care and dart across the street like they are invincible and cyclists who cycle dangerously between buses and cars.

Her daughter loves to play video games and she herself used to play a lot before she became a bus driver. Driving that route each day got her thinking about a video game exactly as described above, but with a really good AI, and realistic physics. The speed of the bus would be dependent on the conditions of the road, the load of passengers and the traffic. Avoiding collisions with other buses, cars, bikes and people would get you the points, Crazy Taxi Style.

An Interesting premise for a video game, wouldn’t she be surprised to find out one already exists? Released in ’07, Bus Driver lets the player drive up to 12 different buses, transporting their passengers to their destinations. The SCS Software developed and published PC game is a 3D driving simulation that can be downloaded for $29(Free trial download also available).

The game uses the arrow keys and a few of the other surrounding keys to make driving the bus as realistic as possible. You need to remember to turn on your blinkers as you maneuver into the next lane and to each bus stop.

You open the bus door so the passengers could board (that part reminded me of the little people in Theme Park and their crowd chatter as they boarded the rides). You also need to stay within your lane and watch out for traffic.

Good graphics, a varied selection of buses and environments to drive in, and the wide array of realistic maneuvers one must pull off to add to your score, Bus Driver makes for a great bus driving simulation that is actually pretty fun too. I wanted to play it a little more, but to my dismay the demo expired after an hour.