There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them.

The console gaming world has finally conspired to produce a game that will all but guarantee your correspondent’s purchase of a PS3 or Xbox 360 this year.  Rockstar Games and Team Bondi offer up their take on the mean streets of the late Forties in L.A. Noire, scheduled for release in September.

Now all that is missing from the pantheon of idealised virtual worlds is a Rockstar-like take on Blade Runner’s Los Angeles, circa 2019.

RELATED: Justin Towell of GamesRadar highlights ten facets of L.A. Noire that differ from its mobster-oriented Grand Theft Auto siblings.  It is highly gratifying to note that for once, the main protagonist is a good guy—a policeman—not the usual blackjack-wielding contractor for organised crime.  Also wonderful to note is that the designers have gone to great lengths to recreate an extremely large and authentic layout for the city, based on aerial photography and hand-drawn maps of the time.

TANGENTIALLY RELATED: Long-time readers may realise that your correspondent is not a fan of mobsters, fictionalised or otherwise, owing to their sociopathic and parasitic nature.  This stems from both familial and fraternal association with law enforcers, personal experience with the victims of crime, and a basic understanding that criminals—however glamorously portrayed—are leeches, existing on parasitic sustenance derived from the livelihoods of the law-abiding.  Entertainment offerings like Grand Theft Auto, Goodfellas, the Godfather films and the Sopranos series have no special place in my heart.  They are momentary fun but perhaps, on greater reflection, paying to have someone glamourise the psychopathic is somewhat counter-intuitive.  This observer prefers to valourise those who catch criminals, as opposed to those who, out of sheer greed and laziness, have made a life’s work of preying on the weak.

And, no surprise, Hollywood offers the mob more sympathetic genuflection than it rightfully deserves.  Denis Faye, penning the Technically Speaking column for the Writers Guild of America, shares some insight on the mafia from FBI agent Joaquin “Jack” Garcia:

The only thing I see that’s phony is that they make them into these likable characters and romanticize them. Like in The Sopranos [Created by David Chase], how Tony’s concerned about his daughter and his son. When these guys take their oath over omertà, they’re taking an oath that their old family no longer counts. It’s their new family, the Gambinos, the Luccheses, the Geneveses, whatever, that becomes their family. If somebody’s child was dying and you’re called in by the boss, you better go there. When I see Tony Soprano roughing around with his kid and being nice – I’m sure some of these guys do that, they have a soft spot – but in reality, they could care less. You know what I mean? They’re criminals; they’re psychopaths, and they’re gonna want to go out there all hours of the day and night just to make money for themselves and enjoy themselves…

[Speaking about real-life Gambino family members Greg DePalma (capo) and son Craig (mob “soldier”)]:  You know, I guess when I saw them, I saw how evil they were… Why would you, in heaven’s name, bring your son into that life? Either you’re going to wind up dead, or you’re going to spend a long time in jail. That’s not a good father! You want your kid to become a [law-abiding] citizen.

You sound as though these guys are too three-dimensional in the movies, yet in reality, they’re more two-dimensional.

Yes, right. Think about every mob movie, the way they are. People love what that Mafia represents, but show the other side more, the killing. Think about this. They kill their own kind. If you do something wrong, you are killed. And who kills the guy? The guy who’s closest to the guy who’s going to get whacked, because that’s the guy who’s going to set him up. That’s the life of the mob. Where’s the loyalty? I love you like a brother but now I gotta kill ya? Why is that romanticized?

Sure, there were mob guys I was with who were hilarious. They’d tell stories and I’d laugh. It sounds sick, but sometimes I’d even enjoy the company. But never once did I forget that these guys that I am laughing with could easily stick an ice pick in my eye.

— Faye, Denis.  “Mob Rules.”  Technically Speaking | Writers Guild of America, August 2009.

Category: Games
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