The Question of Genre

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I feel that LA Noire offers an introduction to the noire genre in several ways; I must add here that before playing the game I was fairly unfamiliar with this particular genre. It certainly has the characteristics of noir, featuring a troubled detective as the protagonist, solving crimes that put him in moral quandaries and also danger. I feel from playing this game, I could describe the key elements of the genre. The game also uses visual similarities to the noir genre; such as the black and white introductions to each new crime, and the cut scenes that hint at the terrible deeds that have taken place, without being to revealing. Other minor details in the game hint at the genre, such as the title screen with it’s black and white ‘movie reel’ feel (sorry, it’s the only way I could think of describing it) and if considering the game as piece of art, details such as this are important.

It has been interesting to learn from the other posts about the neo-noire genre, which involves more sex and violence, due to a relaxation in censorship. This can be seen in LA Noire, whilst there is not a great deal of sex actually shown, it is often explicitly suggested by the characters. Also, the stunning graphics of the game ensure that the mutilated bodies found at the crime scenes shock the viewer almost as much as in a film.

As the noire genre is often associated with film, it is very tempting to classify LA Noire as a film, more so than a game. Whilst this is possible, given the linear nature of the game, and the depth and multitude of characters, I feel there is a difference. Film i a passive medium, the viewer watches and thinks about what they see, but nothing more is required of them. LA Noire is far more interactive, and even though the decisions made by the player do not affect the final outcome of the story, they still affect the pace at which the plot develops, distinguishing the game from a film.

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