If you haven't played this game and are thinking about it, you may want to skip what I'm going to say. Some of it includes spoilers of a sort. You've been warned.
Alan Wake is a mystery/horror/action game told from a really interesting perspective. Alan is a successful horror writer who hasn't been able to write for two years or so. Everyone around him seems bent on getting him back in the saddle (from his agent to the woman he loves), and it just seems to really piss him off. After storming out of the cabin they've rented, he stands around outside being mad. Screams from his lady however, compel him to run back to the cabin and see what's going on. Then the world slips sideways a bit.
He loses a week of time and is suddenly being attacked by what appears to be smoky creations from his own (not yet written) book. The world around him is a dark night, and only the power of lights (i.e. flashlights, streetlights, any light) seem to banish these things.
The interesting thing is how well the story is told. It unfolds almost like a television episode, narrated in past tense by Alan himself. As you wander through, there are references to Stephen King and The Shining (among others). You can also pick up pages of his future book and read them. Here's where it got really interesting for me. I found myself reading the words and noticing things I would have done differently (such as the use of adverbs, telling instead of showing, etc). There weren't a lot, mind you. But I laughed at myself because it was so cool just being aware of the writing, even while I was caught up in the story.
I didn't play very long, but sometime when I have more time (and have already done my homework, my daily writing, and don't have to work LOL) I'd like to continue it to see where the story goes.
Then last night I found myself in another similar situation. I picked up Across The Universe sitting on my nightstand and I began reading it again, this time really taking a look at how Beth did such a marvelous job with the writing. How did she get the characters to be so vivid? What about all this background and cultural information? How did she include it without it being overbearing? It was really fun re-immersing myself in the story again, but with different eyes. Someday maybe I'll be able to just see it automatically as I read, but I'm not sure. Is that possible?
I'd love to hear from you more experienced authors. Do you see the writing as you read or do you have to multiple read-throughs?