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Lost Treasures of Gaming: American McGee’s Alice

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WARNING: Due to the nature of these titles, there is some graphic violence and harsh language in this video.  All mature content is in-game only.

This week’s show was a treat because Sean and Syd had on American McGee, the lead behind the fantastic titles Alice and Alice: Madness Returns.  Separated by eleven years, this “twisted” take on the already dark world of Alice in Wonderland, I loved both titles.  It was just the right blend of action platformer and fantastic art design.

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Written by Fred Rojas

December 4, 2015 at 11:00 am

Now & Then: American McGee’s Alice

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Now & Then is a series where we dissect the culture of a specific series or genre or compare an influential game from the past and how it holds up today.


It’s a bit wierd that American McGee (yes, that’s his real name as far as I know) was given an opportunity to be a Creative Director on this ambitious project, even moreso as an early project with EA.  He began his career at idworking mostly in level design for many of the first person shooter series that I grew up playing: Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake.  He was fired from id for reasons not known and eventually ended up at Electronic Arts, where after a few sound design and writing projects he was given a large budget and the role of Creative Director for Alice.  Why EA back then agreed to put his name as part of the title or allowed him to create such a vivid project (in the Quake III engine, for irony’s sake) is beyond me, but it was a solid and pivotal decision.  American McGee’s Alice is one of the darkest, most twisted games I’ve ever played and takes the story begun by Lewis Carroll more than a century prior and turns it on its head.  To be fair, Wonderland has never been a “normal” place, begot mostly of fantasy concepts and mind-altered states, but I never felt that violence, murder, and insanity were heavy themes.  While the gameplay wasn’t spectacular even at the time, the imagery and graphics impressed gamers enough to sell more than 1.5 million copies.

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Written by Fred Rojas

June 26, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Posted in Now & Then, PC/Mac, Reviews

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