Posted: February 18, 2013 by mbchesler in Uncategorized

Looking back at the same question I posed last post, about why do a lot of gamers dislike L.A. Noire, I attempt to explore and analyze experience of play and narrative play within aspects of the game design.

Unlike many video games, where embedded narrative and emergent narrative aspects of a video game are balanced, L.A. Noire attempts to use a well-informed and detailed embedded narrative constructs or structures more than emergent ones. However, as I have observed, the emergent ones are more heavily weighted, with a focus on embodying the role of the protagonist. The creators of L.A. Noire might have taken a the opposite position of Salen and Zimmerman and Schell and Shochet’s analysis of Pirates of the Caribbean, “play experience should always trump so-called ‘realism'”. The repetition of core mechanics, much like in Alleyway, that also constructs the ‘situational’ elements of the narrative in L.A. Noire, parallels with the repetition of the narrative descriptors found in the ‘form’. This is evident with many of the criticisms found in class, and the formal elements of the descriptors, which essentially communicates the environment of L.A. Noire, L.A. in the late 1940s, the role of the player as protagonist, Phelps-the-detective.


These pictures is the typical digital space that the emergent narrative takes the place of embedded narrative.


IMG-20130217-00064 IMG-20130217-00061 IMG-20130217-00059

This shows how even the narrative descriptors extend to the main menu, and even further intertwines the first-person style, allowing the hands of character to indicate where the cursor is.

Risking opinions, such as Gabe Newell’s description of ‘dead space’, “long lulls where basically all you where doing was doing stuff that you’d done before”, and rely on classical game’s experience of repetitiveness as a way to construct a different type of design for play, which is focused on ‘mimicry’, defined by Caillois. I posit that expectations about how the ideal play in a video game should be experienced, and how the narrative of a game should unfold, lead to differentiations in opinions about whether or not L.A. Noire creates meaningful play. These expectations are constructed from the conscious image of what that particular game might be like, ideally and realistically, and the unconscious memories about how an ideal game should be, influences opinions of meaningful play in L.A. Noire. I do not believe the purpose of this video game is to beat it, focusing on the situation and conflict in narrative play–more agon–, but to experience the role of the protagonist in the larger environment in a realistic fashion, even if it has a slow pace and can be very repetitive. My friend who was is not an avid videogamer, but plays almost daily, said, “[L.A. Noire] is not really a video game. Its more like an interactive Noire T.V. series.” Understanding different ways of constructing play experience and narrative play, I agree with his statement because it described my conscious experience of the game, and because it spoke two less explicit aspects of my expectations, which are the following:  the preference of media I enjoy is television, and I am not an experienced video gamer, so I do not have a well formed version of ideal play. I believe have enjoyed since the beginning because of this


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