Third Week Questions

1

LA Noire is set in the 1940s, before the women’s rights and civil rights movments, so the behaviour of the characters represents the view of the dominant white, male viewpoint of the time, much like the films it draws inspiration from. Women are presented frequently as victims of male violence and abuse. Although Phelps is a product of his enviroment, he seems to feel compassion for abused women, and gets angry at the men who abused them – he’s least misogynistic than many of his other collegues, such as Rusty. Due to the attitudes in post war America, most people belonging to an ethinic minorty are shown in menial jobs of servitude, rather than positions of power or authority – there’s a notable lack of diversity in the game’s version of the LAPD, for example.

The main difference in how video games represent people and places, compared to other story telling mediums, is their interactive nature. In a film or a novel, the audience is forced to observe events at the pace that the author wants them to, in the way that the author wants. In video games, the player has time to explore the surroundings and the characters as much or as little they want. Although we see the narrative through Phelps’s viewpoint, the interactive conversations give variation to Phelps’s mood, and therefore how the characters he talks to act towards him. In other story telling methods, we see what the characters do – in video games, we control what they do, within certain boundaries.

Although classic noir films used voice overs as a narrative technique, the game only has one in the opening to establish the mood of the plot – the exploration of the dark, seedy underbelly of the new, shiny city. Interestingly, the narrator is not Phelps himself, which is unlike the classic noir films, where the usually the main character is the voice over narrator. The voice sets up the tone of the setting, with the city of LA itself being almost a character in its own right (hence the LA Noire title) – but the main narrative focus is on Phelps himself. It’s his story, not just the city’s story.

 

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Comments

  1. Clarkkent / Apr 23rd, 2012 21:03 Quote

    I completely agree with all of your questions particularly the second one where you mention the fact that the interaction between the player and the game where narrative is concerned is the key difference which changes the representation from whnat it would be in a film or novel.

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