L.A. Noire Fridge Horror

I borrowed L.A. Noire over the Weekend. I was interested in finding out what the fuzz is all about. First, I was blown away by the facial animation. Then, I was surprised about the streamlined and quite accessible interface and controls. Then I almost rage quit because of the arbitrarily punishing interrogation system. Finally, I was on the floor laughing because of this:

But I would not be laughing for too long. For I was reminded of the recent L.A. Noire Kill Screen review by Kirk Hamilton. He brought up the interesting Idea that L.A. Noire’s rigid, protagonist-centric world tells a much more terrifying and bizarre story than the game developers wanted us to believe. It’s a story of a man trapped in a bloodless, inescapable purgatory of convenient solutions, make-believe victories and hollow promotions. The god-like powers he seems to have support this notion. Investigating a case of two women almost killed in a car falling from a cliff, the Protagonist himself is able to effortlessly survive the most amazing car stunts. There are never any consequences. No investigations. Nobody ever even comments on that elephant in the room.

At times the game seems to have been designed to actually cause said dissonance on purpose. In the above mentioned case, the protagonist eventually gets into a race against the clock to reach a certain location by car. One of the cliffs in the video I posted above is placed suspiciously convenient straight on the path to get there. As this is one of the early missions, players are not familiar with the map and are bound to make that jump. An oversight? Or is it a deliberately placed stumbling block? A Verfremdungseffekt. A wake-up call. A red pill. The golden key to unlock the fridge horror of L.A. Noire.

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

2 responses to “L.A. Noire Fridge Horror”

  1. Christophe
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The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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