Alice’s Adventures in Pwnageland

19 Feb

I know what you’re thinking – a nerd of my caliber probably started gaming from a young age, right?
Wrong. I grew up dirt poor, scraping by on the poverty line. One year a family friend gave us a no-longer-wanted SNES system for Christmas; my mother, being an incorrigible hippie, gave it to the neighbor kid for helping her move furniture. My dreams of standing inches away from the TV playing Duck Hunt were crushed.
My senior year of High School I received a scholarship from the English department, and the award was a brand new, shiny, computer. I’d never owned one before. I didn’t have an email address, I had limited experience with the internet, and didn’t know what instant messaging was.
After a couple months at college, one of the guys in my dorm asked me if I’d ever played video games. Not much, I said. He was a nice person and loaned me a few titles to try out. One of them was American McGee’s Alice.

It follows a girl that goes insane after her parents die in a house fire while she lay in her room reading Alice in Wonderland. She is locked in the insane asylum. Inside her mind she battles through a nightmarish wonderland, defeating men made of cards, the Jabberwocky, and eventually the asylum itself with whatever weapons she finds. I fell in love with the game. I’d go to my college classes all day, go to work until nine or ten at night, then come back to my dorm and play Alice until the wee hours of the morning. I nerd raged at the boss battles, wished for an ice wand in real life (for creeps on the bus), and committed the dialogue to memory (When is a croquet mallet like a billy club? I’ll tell you: whenever you want it to be). The weapons were brilliant, and the levels were alternately breathtaking and incredibly creepy. It remains one of my favorite, most fondly remembered video games to this day. Anytime someone asks me for a list of top video games, I have to put Alice on there.

I don’t normally play horror games or watch horror movies, yet I find myself pulled to insane Alice over and over again. In spite of her madness she’s a powerful heroine. Presented with terrifying situations, she speaks in cool rhyme and dispatches her enemies with ease. It is only towards the end as the Asylum encroaches on her subconscious that she begins to lose her cool. Her response is to kill the part of her subconscious occupied by the insane asylum. American McGee’s Alice is nothing like the Disney Alice; alternately lost, confused, and charmed. She’s a badass. She’s there to kick ass and take names.

Alice is making her return to madness this year. American McGee announced that it was finally happening; a sequel to Alice is being released Q4 2011. I’ll be waiting in line the day it comes out, wearing a hoodie printed with Alice dual wielding katanas and slaying zombie versions of the Red Queen, the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. Why do I own such a thing? I just had to have it.


6 Responses to “Alice’s Adventures in Pwnageland”

  1. Bob. T. Bear February 19, 2011 at 5:04 pm #


    I’m a big fan of A.M.G’s Alice, though by the time I’d discovered it, my Computer was too darn new fangled and overpowered to be able to get the thing to run. So I had to settle for watching someone else play through it on a string of Youtube videos.

    Wasn’t there supposed to be a Movie project based on it floating around that got cabbed dye to Tim Burton getting in first on the ‘Grimdark Alice in Wonderland’ gig?

    Regardless, pics or this hoodie never happened!

    • Claire February 19, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

      I know there was a lot of talk awhile back about a movie project, but I think it did get canned after Burton’s Alice went into development. It’s a shame, would have been an awesome movie!

      I’ll try to get a pic taken of me in the hoodie. 🙂

      • Bika February 19, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

        I watched Burton’s Alice and while it was pretty, I think a dark Alice would have been a lot more interesting.

    • Caulle February 20, 2011 at 12:58 am #

      They were trying to develop it for a while with Natalie Portman or Sarah Michelle Gellar rumoured for the lead role. Unfortunately it never went anywhere and it was scraped long before Burton picked up the reins.

      Alice in Wonderland is probably my fav children’s tale, and as much as I love Tim Burton I felt pretty meh after watching his version. I’m not quite sure what it was. It failed to captivate me.

  2. Caulle June 2, 2011 at 7:38 pm #

    Not Q4 2011, but in less than 2 weeks.


  1. Tweets that mention Alice’s Adventures in Pwnageland « Seven Deadly Divas -- - February 19, 2011

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lauren Roy, Bika. Bika said: 1 pill makes you larger, 1 pill makes you small (like @hammaryn): […]

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