|“||You've got money, fame, everything you could want. But you don't know what do to with it. I do.||”|
–Mr Scratch to Alan Wake
Act I of Alan Wake's American Nightmare consists of three chapters. This first act has Alan making his way around the area, rewriting reality to find a way to defeat Mr. Scratch. On the radios in this act, Barry Wheeler and the Anderson Brothers promote their new song.
Act I: The Mechanic
The game opens up with Barry Wheeler sleeping in a motel room. The badge reveals that he is now the manager of the Old Gods of Asgard and then the camera turns to the TV for an episode of Night Springs. Alan can be seen standing in a dark, murky place, pointing his gun and flashlight at whatever moves. The narrator explains that he is chasing "the herald of darkness", also known as Mr. Scratch. He hears him laughing in the distance, and turns to the noise, but does not see Mr. Scratch. Alan shouts to Mr. Scratch that he'll catch him eventually, but Mr. Scratch threatens him by saying he'll take away everything Alan loves. Alan is then engulfed by darkness, where he wakes up by a sunken and destroyed Bird Leg Cabin. He wakes up in a canyon in "Night Springs".
He picks up his flashlight, where poltergeist objects block his path, and he soon deals with them. He then picks up a 9mm pistol, where he encounters a couple of Taken. After dealing with them, he makes his way over to the motel, where soon, Taken come pouring out of the oil derrick. He runs to the motel, where he meets Emma Sloan, a mechanic. He asks her for the type-written page that she had found. She explains it had something to do with the oil derrick and a satellite. She also mentions about "creepy guys" she keeps seeing around the motel, and Alan says that he'll deal with them. She hands the page to him, where he makes his way to find the items needed; a Kasabian CD, a valve and a battery. After he finds them, he needs the battery charged up, where he goes back to Emma to ask her to charge it. Once she does, he heads back up to the oil derrick. In order to stop darkness from pouring out of the derrick, he had to do what was on the page to rewrite reality, which was to turn the valve, have the CD playing in the CD player and turn the blinker lights on after inserting the battery. After he does so, a rock smashes into a satellite from space where it destroys the tower and lands outside the motel. The area lights up in flames, where he just manages to escape.
Once he returns to Emma, the garage is being attacked by Taken where he soon deals with them. Alan asks her about the man who looks just like him (Mr. Scratch) where she explains that there was some sort of party in one of the rooms. She doesn't know which room, but carries on to explain that he soon went to the diner where there was a fight. She gives him the keys to the diner which she just "happens to have on her". She tells him that she is going to leave as fast as she can, but Alan tells her otherwise, to which she does not listen. He then goes to find out what happened at the diner, only for Emma to be attacked by Taken and killed. After he's attacked by the motel sign, Alan enters the diner to find out there had been some sort of fight. He finds a hotel room key, and takes it to the correct room, only to find a dead man that Mr. Scratch had previously killed. He finds the observatory keys and makes his way to the observatory.
Act I: The Scientist
He makes his way up to the observatory, where he calls the button, only to be told to go away by a woman due to the trouble he apparently caused. After proving he is not the man that caused the trouble, she lets him in, where she introduces herself as Dr. Rachel Meadows. He asks her what happened when Mr. Scratch was with her, where she explains that there's a strange astronomical event happening, where it's messing up the satellite and projecting a strange signal. Alan says that the signal is what he is here for, and Meadows explains that it was what Mr. Scratch was there for too, but got very angry and sabotaged the imaging array. In order to try to get the signal again, she asks Alan to go to her car to get an imaging array for the telescope. Once he reaches her car and takes the imaging array, he is attacked by Taken Spiders. He makes his way back up to the observatory and replaces the imaging array. Unfortunately, everything malfunctions due to pressure, which Alan is asked to deal with. Once he's done that, he goes back to the observatory, only to be ambushed by numerous Taken. Once he deals with them, he goes back to Meadows, where she explains the signal is rather interesting, as if it was intended for them. Unfortunately, he only receives part of the signal from the print out machine, but takes what he can get for now. The signal is of a new reality and a road map he has to follow, which takes him to the Drive-In Theater.
Act I: The Curator
When he goes to the theater, he meets a woman in a room trying to seduce Alan. She has darkness in her head, and to remove that darkness, he has to go and turn the power on at the transformer yard. He is attacked by Taken unleashed by Mr. Scratch, who makes threats at him, and he soon defeats them and makes his way to the yard. He turns the power on at the yard, heads back to the woman at the guard station and turns on the lights, where the darkness goes away. She introduces herself as Serena Valdivia and tells Alan that Mr. Scratch was trying to get into the projector room, and was talking about fixing things to make the sun never come back up again. She hands Alan the access code, where he heads back to the projector room. Unfortunately, it's protected by security Mr. Scratch had set up, so Alan is forced to take them out. After, he heads into the projector room where he does what it says on the signal page. Unfortunately, what he did wasn't enough to fix things and things start to haze up and turn into darkness. Mr. Scratch shouts at him from a distance, where he wonders what Alan is up to, telling him that he's going to take away everything Alan loves, including Alice. Alan demands Mr. Scratch shows himself, and once he does so, Alan is yet again engulfed by darkness.