I'm a big fan of all things Alice in Wonderland, so of course I was already hooked by the idea of the game and I couldn't wait to get it home and try it out. I was pleasantly surprised at the terrific playability of the game and was immediately sucked in. It wasn't just a mindless shoot-'em-up. It Incorporated all the best parts of all the different game styles and all of these aspects were executed with superb quality. The story was rich, the puzzles were challenging and suspenseful, the first-person action was intense, and all of it was laced together with dark humor, gorgeous art direction and some of the most beautifully haunting music (scored by Chris Vrenna, former drummer for Nine Inch Nails). This game had it all. And the individual challenges, levels, puzzles, etc. all contributed to the story and led to an ultimate and satisfying goal. Game designer, American McGee, certainly knew what he was doing. He created a world that I thoroughly enjoyed visiting.
The game takes place shortly after Alice's "Through the Looking Glass" adventure. Alice's house is burned down in an accidental fire, killing her family, and leaving her as the only survivor. Because of her survivor's guilt, she tries to commit suicide and is institutionalized in Rutledge Asylum. Now a troubled teenager, Alice is summoned one night by the White Rabbit, who asks her to help save a radically altered Wonderland, which has become a twisted version of itself under the rule of the evil Red Queen. Since Wonderland is actually a dreamworld created by Alice's mind, it follows that it has been corrupted and turned macabre by her insanity. If Alice manages to save Wonderland, she will save her sanity as well. A sarcastic Cheshire Cat is Alice's companion throughout the game, frequently appearing to guide her (and the player) with cryptic comments. Here's the trailer for the original game:
Since my time with Alice, I've been disenchanted with most of the current games and have drifted away from playing anything. I've tried out Rock Band and laughed at my terrible faux guitar playing skills. However, most of the games nowdays seem very testosterone-centric and very violent, with a lack of story or character development. I figured my video game playing days were over, and I was okay with that. (In case you didn't know, video games are very time consuming!)
Then, my dear friend Raven, (also a fan of all things Alice), pointed me to a link online - an announcement that sent my little Wonderland heart aflutter - American McGee is currently in production on a sequel to Alice! We both proceeded to jump around the room in utter excitement. Below are two conceptual art images from the new game. It looks like the next couple of years will be the year of Alice, with Tim Burton's film, and now this video game. I simply cannot wait! To read my other posts about Alice, just click here. (I'm surprised, for as much as I am obsessed with these stories, that I haven't written more about them!)
Please leave me a comment about your favorite video game when you were growing up, or that you're playing right now. Know of any good iPhone games?