Video Summary: Writer Gaming and All About the Reading Tag

What videos did I put up this week? I have two for you!

I was tagged to do the “All About the Reading” tag, which was very fun. What do I hate in a book? When I read, do I care most about characters, plots, or a beautiful writing style? What about a favorite quote? All those questions and more are answered in this video!

As you probably already saw all over my social media, I’m so excited to have worked out the issues I was having with recording my gaming, and now the first ever episode of my Writer Gaming series is up. Thus begins our adventure into American McGee’s Alice and our discussions about dark books, writing, and all things Alice!

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Welcome to Writer Gaming!

Ta-da!!!!! The first episode of my Writer Gaming  series, starting with American McGee’s Alice. In this one we play through the tutorial part, learn the basic storyline, and I discuss dark games and some of the symbolism in this game. There is so much more to come!

Midweek Gaming Update

As promised, here’s my midweek update on the technical problems I was having trying to record my first gaming and reading/writing chat video. Spoiler: it’s good news! 🙂

See you on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time!

Gaming is Still Coming – Tech Issues

I promised you gaming, and gaming you shall get. Here are two things you need to know:

  1. Windows Movie Maker is completely and utterly rude
  2. I think I’ve figured out a workaround

<Rant begins here:

I had to use my six-year-old computer to run American McGee’s Alice, which I don’t mind at all. In fact, that computer works very well! And thanks to fellow author Joshua Robertson’s excellent advice for what software to use to record my gaming (Dxtory for screen recording and Audacity for voice recording), the hard part was done.

And then there was Windows Movie Maker.

Alice and I were quite mad.

Editing the footage should be the easiest part. Well, it is on a Mac with iMovie, and it appeared to be similar on Movie Maker. Not so! Granted, I’m probably working with a buggy, outdated version, but the problem I had made no sense. I couldn’t put my cursor anywhere but the beginning of the footage or else the audio would jump to an earlier section of the movie. Which means I couldn’t split or edit the audio either because it gave me the same issue. Um…weird. There is no excuse! So after lots of messing around to try to work with it on my Mac among other attempts to fix the issue, I’m videoless. Well! Not a happy Christie.

Rant over./>

I think I’ve found a workaround, so I’m going to try it out this week and update you on my progress. If all goes as planned (which obviously it hasn’t so far) I’ll have the video ready for June 25. I plan on recording a quick video midweek to let you know whether I’ll be able to make this work or not. It must! I’m determined.

Thanks for your patience and support. It has been so lovely to see people say across platforms that they’re looking forward to watching my gaming vids. Thank you so much! 🙂

Gaming and Chat This Weekend!

It’s been too long since I’ve posted and I’m not happy about it. You know when you have a week so overwhelming and seemingly never ending that you feel you might go crazy? I had three of those in a row. Being that I’ve now gone totally mad, I thought I might appropriately play American McGee’s Alice, one of my favorite dark video games ever.

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This game is one of many iterations of Alice in Wonderland and it had a huge impact on my writing. In fact it helped develop my taste for dark fiction in general.

This weekend I’m going to start my chatty playthrough of Alice on YouTube with lots of funnes, book talk, writing talk, and more. I’m so excited about it, and I hope you’ll join me in this fun venture! I think you’ll like it. 😉

Alice in Wonderland is 150 Years Old!

I know I’m a few months late on this (read: 3 months late – “I’m late for a very important date” indeed), but this year Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland turned 150 years old. WOW! Even though it’s been around so long, somehow it still seems new. Maybe that’s because it’s constantly being refreshed through new movies, videos games, short stories, poems, etc. Imagine a 150-year-old story being redone and reinvented so many times. What an accomplishment!

In honor of this momentous occasion, I want to share with you my favorite rendition of Alice in Wonderland.

Have you ever heard of the video game Alice by American McGee, put out in 2000? How about Alice: Madness Returns, a more recent follow-up published in 2011? The former was a very underrated, under-the-radar game with a twist on Alice like you’ve never seen before, and it’s my favorite of the two because of its originality.

In the game, Alice is now a teenager. The beginning sequence shows us that when she was young girl, a fire started in her house, and her parents were trapped behind their bedroom door. She escaped, but her parents died, which scarred her psychologically not only for losing them but for not really trying to help or save them and instead just saving herself. She is admitted to a psychiatric hospital because of this traumatic event, and the game picks up when she’s a teenager still in the asylum. Cue the rabbit hole and Wonderland, which keep her trapped inside her mind as her only way to deal with the trauma in a way she understands. Now Wonderland is tainted and some characters are helpful while others try to kill her. They all represent sticking points in the recovery from her childhood trauma, and she must fight her way through Wonderland and, ultimately, the Queen of Hearts in order to escape her own mind.

That storyline was love at first read for me. What a way to spin a children’s classic into a teenage adventure. It’s also a great way to discuss trauma and recovery through a familiar character. It’s never mentioned straight out in the video game, but on the main menu screen and a couple of images in the video game, self-harm is implied, brought on by survivor’s guilt. Self-harm is a HUGE and important topic for teenagers (and other ages) since many of them deal with serious issues by hurting themselves. For it to be dealt with in a teenager-geared video game, regardless of that fact that it’s only implied, is something to be applauded. Ultimately the video game sends the message that Alice is standing in her own way of recovering and she can only escape if she’ll let herself, a positive message to plant in teens’ heads.

Some may see this as perverting an innocent classic tale, but I think the creativity is commendable, especially the positive message of escaping your own demons with time, dedication, and serious work. (Side note: Recovering from trauma without professional help is not necessarily possible for all victims of varying degrees of trauma, but this is still a positive message.)

Between Alice and its more popular sequel, Alice: Madness Returns, there is a ton of fan art, cosplay, and both official and homemade merchandise due to not only the character’s dark outfit but her strength in the face of inner demons. There are very few positive (and fully clothed) female video game role models out there, and even fewer that send an encouraging message about trauma recovery. I think it’s a great way to integrate serious messages into enjoyable entertainment.

What’s your favorite rendition of Alice in Wonderland? The original or a reboot?