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You’re a very nosy fellow, kitty cat

May 9, 2012
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I lied when I said Deus Ex was my first game. I played and loved Portal 2 last year. And I was obsessed with the Myst series back in the day, especially the first one. I’m still a super noob in the game world and I don’t know all the ins and outs and whys and wherefores, but why can’t Myst be re-released for consoles or for Macs with current operating systems? Because maybe I’m a noob, but that’s got to be a classic of gaming and I know they’ve re-released things like God of War and Half Life 2 for updated systems, why not Myst? I’d just really like to play that game again.

The funny thing about me and my Playstation is that back in college I wasn’t the biggest fan of their tagline “Live in Your World. Play in Ours.” I was taking a class about technology and culture or technology and literature or something, the class that bred my obsession with Walter Benjamin and all things copied, and one of the things we discussed resulted in that slogan bothering me. I can’t remember what it was, maybe we’d been discussing video games and their influence on the culture or vice versa. Either way, I got hung up on the whole blurring of fantasy and reality. I overthought much more back in the day. Now I’m already quite fond my my Playstation.

Now to the point of this post. I’m making my way through LA Noire. I was decently excited about trying it, not as much as Red Dead Redemption, but decently excited only I’m not loving it. Maybe it’s because I liked Deus Ex more than I expected to, but LA Noire gets a little boring at times. I’m not a fan of all the driving, partly because I am horrible at it and keep running over pedestrians. It’s also very talky. Also, I don’t find the controls as intuitive as the setup for Deus Ex. I was really hoping there’d be more consistency between games, but there’s not so much. The other weird thing about LA Noire is that they’re all impressed with their fancy facial recognition action, and the faces look great, but the bodies still look ridiculous. The heads look way too big on most of the bodies. Though it is fun playing spot the character actor and I’ve already seen four guys from Mad Men. Especially weird is that a lot of the women’s faces look exactly the same. It’s like they’re just using one face and tweaking little things a bit. At least they got Carla Gallo for one female character.

Here’s my other thing. The title is incorrect. First, why the “e?” Second, I have noir issues. I get why people are obsessed with it. It looks really cool and the stories and characters are usually seedy and great. It’s a tempting style to attempt, but it can’t be done. It was a style that defined a movement that reflected the sentiment of an era. It wasn’t just detective stories, or a font, or a femme fatale, or shadows. And it was killed off by the genius satire Chinatown. After that, anything calling itself noir isn’t really the same thing. And you really can’t be in color and get away with calling yourself noir or neo-noir. Pastiches just make me angry, but then post-modernism makes me angry, even though I think I’ve assimilated a lot of it into my governing life philosophy. Yes, I have a governing philosophy. It’s not very strict and pretty much changes daily, but it generally revolves around the tenets of copying, fair use, and looking at pretty things. It’s a pretty good philosophy.

Such beautiful, bad suits

I’ve yet to actually post this post, but I’ve already finished LA Noire and had to return to add my thoughts on the ending. Without spoiling it for anyone, it starts getting much better during the second half of the game, around the time Jack Kelso shows up. You play the game as Cole Phelps, a fellow I didn’t care for much at all. He’s the golden boy, the war hero, the detective who’s always certain he’s got the right answer. Basically he’s everything I hate in a character, even though he’s fated to have a fall since he’s the hero of a “noir.” Who I do like is Jack Kelso, who has the much less glamorous job of being an insurance claim investigator. Jack is awesome. He’s the chump of the story, the one who’s always getting pulled into bad things by his fuck up friends, the guy who’s actually awesome, but never gets credit for it. Where Cole is “by the books,” Jack is whatever the opposite is of that. This is where the game gets a little fantastic. Towards the end you get to play as Jack! I would have really preferred to play the whole game as Jack. He has a far more interesting story. If they do a sequel, I hope we’ll see more of Jack.

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