Welcome to Hollywoodland

Welcome to Hollywoodland

Featuring specific details from Los Angeles in the 1940s, L.A. Noire successfully weaves together a compelling narrative and a rich historical context without sacrificing one for the other.

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This was a great article, and it's really interesting to see the detail of research they must have been put into the setting.

I hope enough people read this, with the new format

Indeed. It's also pretty educational. I for one was somewhat puzzled about the sign reading "Hollywoodland" until I did some research and found out that that's what it *actually* read at the time.

Well, from my experience with the game. It doesn't get the Gideon trial right. Playing in 1947 for one of the murder cases, i think, the suspect says he has a right to a lawyer. Whish he would, if he knew that from being heavily involved in law. Because the Gideon case only made it so that they were told they could have one. But he was just a scumbag. So I doubt that that justification works

No it doesn't sacrifice story or history, just sacrifices decent gameplay becauase this game was BORING!

It certainly is a well researched & crafted game. But, alas, it was well made papercraft, looking great till you try to interact with something, at which point everything reveals itself to be two dimensional & falls over.

Also, while clearly personal opinion, I found the Black Dhalia murder cases disappointing. The initial premise of each case became increasingly convoluted as yet another suspect with size 8 feet, a wife with a drink problem & skeletons in the closet was framed. Finally, after a completely unnecessary treasure hunt for clues left in the most ridiculous places, you find, corner & kill the perp (who the player has probably already identified but then had to wait 2 cases for Phelp's to catch up when the murderer randomly decides to reveal themselves because they were feeling that way or something) only for the police chief to appear from the wings & tell you that it's all being covered up for some ridiculous reason. The idea of mixing the games fiction with real world events is a good one. But I'd hardly say LA Noire did it well.

Equally, Phelp's is the opposite of a "noir" character. Most Noir detectives keep themselves aloof from their co-workers because they are jaded cynics who have seen enough of the world & try to isolate themselves from it, only for an event or (usually female) character to bring the world crashing through the front door of their office. Phelp's, meanwhile, is a starch shirted, holier than thou character who seems desperate to prove his self worth, perhaps because of his disappointment in not living up to his own image of a good person, & alienates everyone in the process.

Welcome to The Escapist! I, uh. I only read a page and a half of this article, because it actually convinced me that I need to play this game, and I don't want to spoil it more than I already have. Sigh. Needless to say, what I read was very thoughtful and interesting. It's good to have you here, Mr. Ko.

Very insightful article, well done. I have to say I really do like LA Noire more and more as I slowly play through all the cases. It feels more of a "grown-up" game, than many others, which is a good thing in my book.

I hate how during L.A Noire's development everybody was calling it Rockstars game then when L.A Noire wasn't as good as everybody expected (mixed reviews) people start pinning the blame on Team Bondi and acting as if Rockstar had little doing with the game...

great article, loved it. Congratulations David Ko.

That's what I really liked about this game. I learned more about american history in the 40's from that game that I ever had before.

BrotherRool:
This was a great article, and it's really interesting to see the detail of research they must have been put into the setting.

I hope enough people read this, with the new format

Glad you enjoyed it!

Monsterfurby:
Indeed. It's also pretty educational. I for one was somewhat puzzled about the sign reading "Hollywoodland" until I did some research and found out that that's what it *actually* read at the time.

As I was playing, I wished there was a pop-up commentary (perhaps only on playthroughs) to point out things like that.

whaleswiththumbs:
Well, from my experience with the game. It doesn't get the Gideon trial right. Playing in 1947 for one of the murder cases, i think, the suspect says he has a right to a lawyer. Whish he would, if he knew that from being heavily involved in law. Because the Gideon case only made it so that they were told they could have one. But he was just a scumbag. So I doubt that that justification works

I didn't realize this sequence until I did a bit more research after your post:

1932: Powell v. Alabama - states must provide lawyers for capital cases (involving death penalties)

1938: Johnson v. Zerbst - the Federal Government must provided lawyers for Federal felony cases.

1942: Betts v. Brady - state governments don't HAVE to provide a lawyer for non-capital cases (different justice backpedaled from the earlier decisions)

1947: L.A. Noire - Grovesner McCaffrey claims the right to have a lawyer. He's insuffrable, but it's a state murder trial, so according to Powell v. Alabama he has a right to a lawyer. Either LAPD is misreading Betts v. Brady, or are just depriving him of his rights

1963: Gideon. v Wainwright - convictions are invalid if no lawyer is provided for any and all felonies (including state).

Fursnake:
No it doesn't sacrifice story or history, just sacrifices decent gameplay becauase this game was BORING!

I totally recognize that it's not everyone's cup of tea.

Cousin_IT:
It certainly is a well researched & crafted game. But, alas, it was well made papercraft, looking great till you try to interact with something, at which point everything reveals itself to be two dimensional & falls over.

Also, while clearly personal opinion, I found the Black Dhalia murder cases disappointing. The initial premise of each case became increasingly convoluted as yet another suspect with size 8 feet, a wife with a drink problem & skeletons in the closet was framed. Finally, after a completely unnecessary treasure hunt for clues left in the most ridiculous places, you find, corner & kill the perp (who the player has probably already identified but then had to wait 2 cases for Phelp's to catch up when the murderer randomly decides to reveal themselves because they were feeling that way or something) only for the police chief to appear from the wings & tell you that it's all being covered up for some ridiculous reason. The idea of mixing the games fiction with real world events is a good one. But I'd hardly say LA Noire did it well.

Equally, Phelp's is the opposite of a "noir" character. Most Noir detectives keep themselves aloof from their co-workers because they are jaded cynics who have seen enough of the world & try to isolate themselves from it, only for an event or (usually female) character to bring the world crashing through the front door of their office. Phelp's, meanwhile, is a starch shirted, holier than thou character who seems desperate to prove his self worth, perhaps because of his disappointment in not living up to his own image of a good person, & alienates everyone in the process.

I do recognize that L.A. Noire, in some respects, doesn't live up to its hype in terms of interactivity. I feel like it comes closer than Heavy Rain, though, for example.

My frustration with the Black Dahlia murders was that the cases were all too similar. I was able to suspend disbelief on some of the inconsistencies and possible plot holes, but examining the fifth dead naked woman's body got to be a bit much. The killer's scavenger hunt-type case bugged me, until I realized the creators decided to switch to a typical "I'm smarter than you" model of cat and mouse.

It is true that Phelps is atypical in many respects as a Noir anti-hero. He's isolated from peers, but as you point out not for the typical reasons. I imagined him ending up as a Noir anti-hero if he SPOILER! doesn't die at the end of the game, and ended up embittered and cynical. I thought of him as more of one of the small number of Noir heroes rather than Noir anti-heroes.

commasplice:
Welcome to The Escapist! I, uh. I only read a page and a half of this article, because it actually convinced me that I need to play this game, and I don't want to spoil it more than I already have. Sigh. Needless to say, what I read was very thoughtful and interesting. It's good to have you here, Mr. Ko.

Glad I could tip you off the fence. Hope I didn't spoil too much.

pepitko:
Very insightful article, well done. I have to say I really do like LA Noire more and more as I slowly play through all the cases. It feels more of a "grown-up" game, than many others, which is a good thing in my book.

I'm glad you enjoyed it. As I was re-playing it (not through case select, but from start to finish for the article) I realized that its pacing is a tad slow at times.

I agree with what you mean by grown up. It's mature not just graphic sex or violence, but in its thematic exploration.

Aiberg:
great article, loved it. Congratulations David Ko.

Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks.

Pinkamena:
That's what I really liked about this game. I learned more about american history in the 40's from that game that I ever had before.

Me too. My own studies and teaching of US History usually jumps from WWII to the 1950s, leaving 1945-1949 mostly untouched. A lot of the article looks at references to these earlier and later times, largely because that's my background.

dkl415:

whaleswiththumbs:
Well, from my experience with the game. It doesn't get the Gideon trial right. Playing in 1947 for one of the murder cases, i think, the suspect says he has a right to a lawyer. Whish he would, if he knew that from being heavily involved in law. Because the Gideon case only made it so that they were told they could have one. But he was just a scumbag. So I doubt that that justification works

I didn't realize this sequence until I did a bit more research after your post:

1932: Powell v. Alabama - states must provide lawyers for capital cases (involving death penalties)

1938: Johnson v. Zerbst - the Federal Government must provided lawyers for Federal felony cases.

1942: Betts v. Brady - state governments don't HAVE to provide a lawyer for non-capital cases (different justice backpedaled from the earlier decisions)

1947: L.A. Noire - Grovesner McCaffrey claims the right to have a lawyer. He's insuffrable, but it's a state murder trial, so according to Powell v. Alabama he has a right to a lawyer. Either LAPD is misreading Betts v. Brady, or are just depriving him of his rights

1963: Gideon. v Wainwright - convictions are invalid if no lawyer is provided for any and all felonies (including state).

To me understanding, the Gideon case also made it so that they have to inform the accused of their rights. Before it, like i said to my understanding, you just had to know. So it is plausible that the guy was familiar with law cases from 15 years previous, but that leaves soo much room for plausible deniability that a even the most ambulance-chasing lawyers wouldn't prosecute /meta-phor

I do appreciate that you did this though. your thoughts?

Nice article and I agree - Knowing a fair bit of history after my interest was sparked by the Hearts of Iron games (They're not realistic, I know) I've grown accustomed to disliking games for getting history wrong. I managed to enjoy LA Noire even if I don't approve of the labour conditions it was made under.

 

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