Alice in process…

Instead of the question “Who is Alice?” there are now paths leading to what Alice might come to be…

7 Apr 2011

Alice American McGee

 Alice drunk from a bottle written poison.

"American McGee's Alice is an action game with psychological horror elements released for PC on 2000. The game is an unauthorised sequel to Lewis Carroll's Alice novels. It was designed by American McGee Set years after Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, the game features an older, more cynical and macabre incarnation of Alice. 

The game's setting presents a considerably more macabre rendition of Wonderland. Wonderland, being a creation of Alice's mind, has been corrupted by her insanity. Alice's primary objective is to save Wonderland, and in doing so restore her own sanity. 

When Alice falls down the rabbit hole, she finds herself in the Village of the Doomed. 
Beyond the subterranean village she follows trough the Fortress of Doors, the Vale of Tears,  Wonderland Woods,  the Cave of the Oracle, the Pale Realm, the Jabberwock's Lair, the White Castle of Looking Glass Land, the Majestic Maze, Land of Fire and Brimstone and Queen of Hearts Land. 

Queensland is the final province of Wonderland. In it lies the Heart Palace from which the Queen of Hearts commands. Tentacles and other repulsive appendages are seen protruding from every organic wall in this area, and numerous areas even resemble body parts, giving the impression that Alice is travelling through her own body. "

Alice Madness Returns: America Mc Gee's Alice 2
Explore Wonderland 

"Beyond a shattered Looking Glass
Fairy tale becomes Nightmare
Imagination becomes Madness
Toys become Weapons
Friend becomes Foe
and time is running out
Alice grew up
So did Wonderland"

 Conceptual art for Alice Madness Returns

 Conceptual art for Alice Madness Returns

  Conceptual art for Alice Madness Returns

 Conceptual art for Alice Madness Returns

Alice: Madness Returns is the sequel to American McGee’s Alice.

"Alice: Madness Returns is a psychological horror video game from a third-person perspective. Within events of the first game, Alice Liddell becomes insane, believing herself responsible for a fire that consumed her home and her family, escaping into a twisted version of Wonderland. While held at Rutledge Asylum for treatment, Alice was able to conquer her doubts, and eventually was released from the ward. Alice: Madness Returns takes place in 1875, a year after Alice's release.

Alice, now 19 years old resides at an orphanage in Victorian London, under the care of Doctor Angus Bumby, a psychiatrist who uses hypnotism to help his child patients forget their memories. Though she believes herself cured of her madness, hallucinations of Wonderland continue to appear."

For an interpretation of the game 
American McGee's Alice
and its influence in the Dark Alice wave


Follows an excerpt from the article:

Images of Alice and Changing Conceptions of Childhood
Victoria Sears Goldman

" If Gaskell's children aesthetically and beautifully suggest that today's children are threatening, the 2000 computer game American McGee's Alice throws it in our face. Juxtaposed with Tenniel's Alice, we see in this radically new Alice how far we have come from the Victorian ideal of pure, innocent childhood. 

The premise of the game is that Alice has re turned from Wonderland and gone mad. Upon her release from a mental institution, where she attempted to kill herself, she returns to Wonder land to destroy, with various unsavory "toys," all of its inhabitants. Alice is no longer able to deny the Cheshire Cat's claim that "We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." 

One reviewer describes Alice as "wielding an im- mense, glittering carving knife, gazing at it lovingly . . considering its potential for mayhem. Her face bears an expression of restrained malevolence. She wears an upside-down cross. Blood drips from the scen-ery."" This Alice also has sexual undertones, though these may not be obvious to everyone. The game's creators appropriated the universally recognized Alice costume, thus evoking associations with both the original text and the Disney movie. However, her straight red hair, pale face, catlike green eyes, and black bondage boots give her a Goth countenance. As an edgier, scarier version of the child robbed of her innocence, Alice's physical appearance and the- matic associations make her highly sexualized for the underground Goth community. 

The game has transfigured a journey through Carroll's wonderfully witty imagination into an "exploration of the naughty joy of murder by a demented antihero" a game containing "material not suitable for those under the age of 18."' Alice is an adolescent killer who suggests that graphic violence is a seductive solution and perverse pleasure. Today's angst-ridden teenagers and children see the blood-drenched game as an outlet for their trendy inner torment and Goth- induced melancholy. Increased juvenile violence and graphic images on television and in movies have desensitized many of today's youth. They crave violent computer games like Alice and the perverse thrill they derive from them. This digitized incarnation of Alice no doubt conforms to the redefinition of and uncertainty toward childhood at the turn of last century. American McGee takes Carroll's heroine "and gratuitously twists her into a weapon-wielding vigilante. It's a ham-handed play for profit through sensationalism and controversy."' 

Does this Alice represent exploitation of the digital medium and of contemporary obsessions? Or is she in fact an accurate prediction of where childhood is headed if it continues its present downward spiral? With the inevitable aid of games and movies such as Alice, for as long as today's atti- tudes toward children and adolescents hold sway, society's youth will continue to "become alien crea tures, a threat to civilization rather than its hope and potential salvation."'

The very qualities that made the Victorian child society's "hope and salvation" turned "out to be highly susceptible to commercialization."'' Innocence proved too fragile to withstand the onslaught of pro- paganda, movies, advertisements, and other images that assailed childhood at the end of the twentieth century. That which was implicit in the Victorian child has become explicit: sexuality. However, when thinking about recent changes in representations of childhood, one must bear in mind that the age of childhood innocence was not without its inherent difficulties. 

During the Romantic and Victorian eras, only the most affluent children could hope for a childhood in line with the ideal. Working-class children were exploited and brutally mistreated in factories and workhouses. What brought about the exploitation of children and adolescents that is pervasive today? Did the media shatter our ideal of a pure childhood, or did children shatter it themselves? Was the wave of child worship that swept the mid-nineteenth to midtwentieth centuries a mere digressive phase or a temporary detour that led to childhood's ultimate destiny? In any case, Alice's dark side has surfaced, and only time will tell what will follow. The child has disappeared, and we have returned to the miniature adult, albeit in extremely different form, of the world prior to the nineteenth century."

This text was originally published at:

Summer 20o8
Number 80
Volume II Issue 10

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry, i can tread this. and being a huge Alice fan, it bothers me. so could you please tell me what it says?