Dark and Stormy Night

The Noir issue.

Dark and Stormy Night

"The victim was connected with the Dies Arcanum Brotherhood, a shadowy group that liked to work out of the local churches. Somewhere along the line, he'd made some enemies with the Order of Socrates, a social club that also happened to run things in City Hall with the efficiency of the Tammany Machine. While the Brotherhood was pleased that the murder of one of their own was solved, the Order was not. Dashiell was going to be fighting City Hall again, and this time, he wouldn't have a badge to protect him."

Shannon Drake delves into the seedy underworld of Sleuth.

Dark and Stormy Night

"With BioShock still close to release, Thomas is reticent to talk about specifics of his work, even though it rests even more heavily on lighting theory. 'Suffice it to say that my section of the game is an attempt to generate a sort of surrealistic dread, leaning heavily on the sense that the player is on a stage, and some of the key tropes that people associate with the artificial, exaggerated atmosphere of a theater production are constantly active around you.'"

Kieron Gillen speaks to Jordan Thomas about lighting effects, level design and Bioshock.

Dark and Stormy Night

"Obviously, the mysteries vary in quality. Some dangle too many red herrings or contrive inane solutions. But as with tabletop roleplaying campaigns, the event's success or failure seldom depends on the game proper. Novelty is a big factor, and even more important is chemistry among the guests. Murder games succeed less through writing than through event planning."

Allen Varney explores the mean streets of murder mystery party games.

Dark and Stormy Night

"'I'm interested in film noir,' says Jonas Ferry, the Swedish creator of One Can Have Her, 'and have watched a lot of old classics. There's something about the strict formula of transgression/punishment, the desperation of the characters and the moral ambivalence that makes me watch them.'

"With One Can Have Her, Ferry says he was looking for 'a new way of generating story through conflicts.' And to do so, he had to reinvent the roleplaying game, introducing an element sorely lacking in spite of over two decades of RPG evolution: real storytelling."

Dark and Stormy Night

"Noir, at its heart, is about atmosphere. An atmosphere described by Taxi Driver scribe Paul Schrader as "fatalistic, hopeless." Protagonists often find themselves betrayed (Double Indemnity), murdered (The Killers) or usually some combination of the two. Yet for all the corruption and death, noir often remains astonishingly low on violence."

Anthony Burch examines the gritty, yet surprisingly non-violent roots of noir.