Alan Wake/Fridge

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Fridge Brilliance

  • The amorphous malevolence which harries Alan throughout the plot with neigh-limitless power to form and control the world he is fighting through, is a Lake.
  • See the below Fridge Horror about free will. Consider also the resemblance of the blobs (and for the matter most manifestations of the Dark Presence) to... ink. What's Alan's profession again and what's the basic premise of the story?
  • The "Quantum Suicide" episode of Night Springs suggests that when you die and reload your save, you're just switching to an alternate universe where you didn't die that that moment.
    • From various POVs, it can be seen as Alan re-writing the initial manuscript, the idea of a narrative universe having alternatives, or what have you. And given how that episode ends, that too can be taken as a interpretation of the Xbox 360 itself. It is the magic box that keeps the protagonist alive... until you pull the plug (turn off the power). When you turn on the power again... that's just another universe.
    • Alternatively, but basically the same idea, dying could be explained as Alan giving into the Dark Presence and killing off himself while writing the manuscript, losing all hope for his wife and the end of the Presence. He then scraps the page, having no way to delete characters with a typewriter, meaning checkpoints are just ends of pages in the manuscript.
  • Odin and Tor help you escape. Now, back in Max Payne, there were heavy Norse themes and included a character also named Odin (well, Wodan but it's just a different transliteration) who helps Max out. See also the Take That below.
    • Also, the manuscript implies that they know about the Dark Presence and and have fought it before. That would explain why they built that massive stage on their farm as well as why their farm was stocked with enough weapons and supplies to equip a small army.
    • While we're on the topic of the battle on the stage, fighting off a hoard of monsters on stage while music blares like that doesn't make sense in a horror story, but would make perfect sense in a metal song. A metal song such as the kind that Tor and Odin would've written near a certain lake. Another song we know they wrote is Lady of the Light, which also turned out to be true to a point.
      • Okay, knowing this, let's now look at the lyrics of the two songs we hear of theirs in game:
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Warriors, torchbearers, come redeem our dreams
Shine a light upon this night of otherworldly fiends
Odin's might be your guide, divorce you from the sane
Hammer's way will have its say, rise up in their name
Oh, Memory and Thought
Jet black and clawed
Children of the Elder God
Scourge of light upon the dark
Scratching hag, you can rake your claws and gnash your crooked teeth
You've taken slaves like ocean waves, now feel the ocean seethe
Father Thor, bless this war, between the dark and light
In their songs let their wrongs bring dissolution's night
Oh, Memory and Thought
Jet black and clawed
Children of the Elder God

Scourge of light upon the dark
—Children of the Elder God
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There's an old tale wrought with mystery, of Tom the Poet and his muse
And a magic lake which gave a life to the words the poet used
Now, the muse she was his happiness, and he rhymed about her grace
And told her stories of treasures deep beneath the blackened waves
Till in the stillness of one dawn, still in its misty crown
The muse she went down to the lake, and in the waves she drowned
And now to see your love set free
You will need the witch's cabin key
Find the lady of the light, gone mad with the night
That's how you reshape destiny
The poet came down to the lake to call out to his dear
When there was no answer he was overcome with fear
He searched in vain for his treasure lost and too soon the night would fall
Only his own echo would wail back at his call
And when he swore to bring back his love by stories he'd create
Nightmares shifted in their sleep in the darkness of the lake
And now to see your love set free
You will need the witch's cabin key
Find the lady of the light, still raving in the night
That's how you reshape destiny
In the dead of night she came to him with darkness in her eyes
Wearing a mourning gown, sweet words as her disguise
He took her in without a word for he saw his grave mistake
And vowed them both to silence deep beneath the lake
Now, if it's real or just a dream one mystery remains

For it is said, on moonless nights they may still haunt this place
—The Poet And The Muse
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        • I could be here for hours going over it all, but suffice to say, both songs came true. Every word of them.
  • If you ask why the Taken don't just take out the transformers so they can assault the power plant, try leading one into the hanging or horizontal wires you've seen.
  • Ok, Alan Wake is a writer, so how do they explain how good of a shot he is? He mentions that he's 'never fired a gun outside a range before', so, he's clearly handled guns. But come on, he's practically a perfect shot, what's the explanation? In one flashback, when the power goes out in the Wake's apartment, you can find a trophy on the bookcase next to Alan's set of novels. It's a clear acrylic trophy set with a pair of gold pistols. Clearly, Alan won it at a shooting competition.
    • Alternately, Alan could be using the flashlight beam as a makeshift set of crosshairs - just like the player.
    • Alternately, Alan is that good of a shot because he wrote himself into the story as being that good of a shot.
    • I'm sure I read somewhere that the trophy is a literary award for one of his 'Alex Casey' books. Nothing to do with marksmanship at all.
    • Alan makes a comment about how he'd never fired a gun outside of a shooting range, so he has experience. He wasn't prepared for the noise and light, but adapted quickly.
  • The Sudden Stop opens with the sentence "It's true what they say about the fall and the sudden stop at the end." It's mentioned elsewhere in this article that Alex Casey is an Expy for Max Payne, and killing off Alex is Sam Lake's way of considering Max Payne 3 a Franchise Zombie. So what the page is saying is "It's not Max Payne 2 The Fall of Max Payne that'll kill him, it's the sudden stop of Max Payne 3."
  • The messages 'The Darkness controls the taken' as well as 'The Darkness wears her face', among others that explain things like how to kill the taken are spread evenly throughout the game. This is despite the fact that the player has long learned most or all of these things-- many in the tutorial no less. The reason? Cynthia had no way of knowing where the battle with the darkness would start, so she instead placed the caches and messages everywhere. Overlaps with Crazy Prepared.
  • Alan's Captain Obvious moments make a lot more sense if you realize that they're the narration of the book he wrote while trapped in Cauldron Lake.
  • Why are there coffee thermoses scattered around, some even being in obscure areas? They were left there for Alan if he needed re-energizing to stay up through the night!
  • A bolt of lightning saves Barry and gets the Anderson's stage running. Now what is Thor god of?
    • The protection of humanity, oak trees, destruction, and fertility!
      • The rockers, being questionable scholars, call him the god of thunder at one point. It's likely their knowledge of Thor is from Marvel comics as much as any books on mythology.
    • That lightning bolt could be the line "Father Thor, bless this war between the dark and light." from Children of the Elder God coming true.
  • If the Dark Presence can take over things, why doesn't it just crack open the ground or other such things (Lawful Evil restrictions not withstanding)? After all, it possess objects all the time. Because it works on living beings or the creative output of living beings such as the technology they use (a sort of minor variant on how it can use the creative power of artists). Why then a tornado? It's not a tornado of air, it's a tornado of pollution!
    • The Darkness is also only gathering its power. It's at its strongest at the end of the game and isn't trying to kill Alan for the majority of the game. By the time the end of the game occurs, Alan has already literally written it into a corner.
  • Thomas Zane's avatar is a man in a space/diving suit. The last song of the game? Space Oddity, a song about an astronaut who is lost to oblivion by a mistake during his mission, named Major Tom. Holy crap!
  • How come no one in Bright Falls noticed countless people going missing and all the chaos and destruction caused by the battle between Alan and the Taken? Because while writing Departure, Alan didn't write them noticing it and carrying on as normal. They couldn't notice it until Alan's narrative let them notice it. They're just as bound to the letter of the novel as the Dark Presence.
    • The game's action sequences also take place over the course of one or two nights. It's quite possible that, after Deerfest, everyone will notice the place looks like the Apocalypse happened.
      • Alternatively, the Dark Presence is keeping them from noticing.
  • The Dark Presence's Taken and Poltergeists are vulnerable to light because Tor and Odin wrote that they would be vulnerable to light in "Children of the Elder God."
  • A meta-Fridge, but why Poets of the Fall, a Finnish band, for the sound track? Because despite the fact that Max Payne and Alan Wake are perhaps iconic American games... Remedy (the developers) are actually a Finnish company.
  • Take a look at Imaginary Barry near the end of The Writer. One will notice that he's not wearing his Christmas lights any longer. Thus marking the transition from good guy to bad guy as the light (even if the light itself is imaginary) no longer protects his imaginary existence from the manipulation of the Dark Presence.
  • A lot of the gameplay contrivances can be explained by A Wizard Did It. How is Alan able to cast magic missile into the darkness, so to speak, with a standard household flashlight? The Light Presence empowered him. Why do flares and batteries have much shorter effective lives than they should? The Dark Presence. Why don't he and Barry die or suffer any significant effects from injesting a massive dose of sleeping pills? The Light Presence protected them. Why didn't they taste something funny in the first place? Ol' DP. And so on.
  • Doctor Hartman considers video games to be "trash" because the process of developing video games generally involves a large development team - something which he can't really work with in his tiny lodge/clinic. Not to mention a development staff of a half-dozen to hundreds of people would be much harder for him to control and turn to developing something he can use to his own ends using Cauldron Lake. Not to mention it would be hard for him to get enough mentally-unstable game developers with the right skills and equipment together, especially considering he has trouble simply keeping a lid on two demented old men like the Andersons.
  • Alan's health meter isn't his physical well being, but his psyche. When it runs out, he's weak enough for the Dark Presence to take him. The Taken's weapons aren't exactly physically "real" anyway. Remember, the DP says it's trying to recapture Alan, not kill him. So his apparent "deaths"...aren't.
    • Pay close attention to the weapons being used by the Taken. They're covered in the darkness just like the Taken, and disappear once the Taken is killed or they've been thrown. This may also explain why the Taken can keep chucking axes and knives and hammers at Alan over and over again.
    • This also explains why standing in Safe Havens replenishes his health: he's thinking, "I'm in the middle of a spot of bright light, they can't hurt me." Smaller lights, on the other hand, don't restore health because they're not as reliable or safe.
    • Why aren't Alan's clothes or body visibly damaged by the Taken's attacks? Because they're damaging his soul, not his physical wellbeing.
  • Why don't the Taken use guns? Muzzle flash.
    • Jossed by American Nightmare. Taken are dumbasses and guns are too complex for them to use. Besides, it's not like they needed to use guns anyway. They could throw those damn axes with Cheating Bastard accuracy.
  • Awfully convenient that Old Gods of Asgard use so many pyrotechnics, right? It's almost as if they were meant to kill Taken. But that's exactly what they were meant to do. Odin and Tor, after fighting the Dark Presence, want to keep it away, so their band uses the biggest, baddest light show in history (aside from that of Trans-Siberian Orchestra) to do so.
  • Why does Tom wear a diving suit and glows so brightly you can't even see him inside? Because Alan had to write him into the story in order to talk to him. But since Tom had already erased himself from existance, Alan had no form of reference with which to describe him by and since simply making something up or leaving it out would allow the Presense to take over, Alan simply created an appearance that represented Tom without ever having to have to try and describe him.
    • Plus an entity glowing that brightly would be impossible for the Dark Presence to suborn.
  • The name "Night Springs" is almost the exact opposite of "Bright Falls". Night isn't exactly bright, is it? Spring is the season of renewal, fall is the season where everything starts dying. Falls and springs are both associated with water (like lakes), but water comes up from springs, while it goes down falls.
    • They're also both pretty subtly depressing. Brightness, or light or the sun or whatever, the only thing that keeps us safe from the Dark Presence, always falls away to the darkness. And Night always springs to replace it. You can't beat the darkness anymore then you can keep the sun from setting.
  • The Deerfest helps explain why even convenience stores carry firearm ammunition.
  • The Taken in American Nightmare aren't as talkative as they used to be, which is disappointing, since a lot of their lines were Crowning Moments Of Funny. But when you find the first TV in the game, you find out that Mr. Scratch likes things quiet, so of course his Taken are pretty much mute.
    • Also, he is a fair bit smarter than the Dark Presence, so he may have strategically made his Taken hold off on dispensing health tips and livestock trivia in order to make it easier for them to catch Alan by surprise.
  • During the first Observatory level, Mister Scratch tries to talk to Alan and Cannot Spit It Out about making peace between one another. It becomes Fridge Brilliance when you realize he's struggling with the fact he's a Card-Carrying Villain in Alan's story (being a literal Expy of Alan he'd be aware of this) but ultimately can't stop being one because that's the way he was written.
  • A moment of Fridge Heartwarming in Hindsight; Barry found all those Christmas lights and whatnot and realized they made the perfect armor against the Dark Presence, yes? But everything that happened was written by Alan. So it makes sense to assume that Alan put the supplies there and the idea into Barry's mind to make absolutely sure, as much as possible, that his best friend wouldn't be in danger no matter how hard the Dark Presence tried to twist his work.
  • Some people have complained that Alan isn't a very good horror writer. That's because a)he was mind-controlled when he was writing, and b)he's a crime writer.
  • All that verizon product placement sure was annoying, right? However, despite being in a small rural town far from any big cities, nestled in the mountains, every characters' cell phone calls went through without a hitch. All of those Verizon ads probably mean the company recently put up a cell tower in the area and want to make sure the residents know it, so the billboards and local TV commercial are well justified.

Fridge Horror

  • Those weird but basically harmless pools of darkness you've been burning away? One Night Springs episode implies that these pools are actually the free will of people.
  • Alice is afraid of the dark, and gets taken by the Dark Presence. By the end of the game, she's been in there for two weeks. Imagine being surrounded by nothing but your worst fear for two whole weeks...
  • You know all the Taken you fight against throughout the game? Those are real, perfectly ordinary people who have committed no crime you are effectively destroying so thoroughly that no physical trace of their bodies remain, which means that they will remain forever missing and their loved ones without closure whatsoever. Which also means that Bright Falls is now missing several dozen of its residents with more on the way.
  • This one overlaps with Fridge Brilliance, but... You know how there's all sorts of abandoned cars just waiting to be driven? Doesn't really make sense does it? Not until you remember that Taken used to be real people, so they probably got sucked out of their cars, keys still in.
    • And one of the vehicles left stranded by the roadside? A school bus.
    • On a similar note, it explains the vacancy of certain areas in the game. Why else would the train depot in Episode 3 be void of any other people? Why else would the small camp in Episode 4 be left unattended?
  • In the 5th Night Springs episode, "The Dream of Dreams", there was no end of episode commentary, and the static fades out like a normal TV Show would normally fade out. Why? The narrator was probably part of the dream too.
  • Another horrifying realization is that Rusty and the literally hundred or so other people killed over the course of the game did so, solely because Alan Wake felt it would make a better story that way. He explicitly mentions at one point there will casualties to make the story work.
    • However, if the story isn't believable, then the dark presence can do whatever it wants with the plot holes and poor writing, and would have free reign to kill and turn everyone.