Monday, January 28, 2013

The Sandbox Project - Channeling Chandler

Inspired by Darcy Osheim's thesis that examines World of Warcraft from a pedagogical perspective, I'm launching a little experiment in paragraph-level writing that explores the intersection of pedagogy and sandbox style gaming, focusing mainly on console games like GTA, Red Dead Redemption, and LA Noire. Aside from common interest, my project and Darcy's thesis are unrelated. These 'graphs are written without an outline. Their connections may be tenuous or superfluous. I may never finish. 

It's 1947 in all its postwar glory, and I'm stalking these sunburned, dusty streets, going nowhere. All my leads have dried up and the clues are cracked like a broken beer bottle. All jagged edge, not one piece that fits. It's a good day to be on the beach. It's a bad day to be a cop. What's worse, my partner is wearing my nerves down but good. He's aways sour though. The kinda guy who liked The Wizard of Oz just fine until they switched on the color. He lost his passion for this job years ago, he's worthless in a firefight, and he yelps every time I sideswipe a Studebaker. Still, I can manage him. Just one gentle press on the B-button turns him into a talking map: "Hang a right at the next corner," he opines. "Roll right through this intersection…" In mid-complaint he becomes as handy as Rand McNally. Just one button. And I need him like that, friendly and docile, because this town is a big place. Bigger than me. And it groans. The City of Angels stretches for miles, jammed with construction sites (new housing for returning GIs), packed with blocks of dive bars that swim in neon and despair, and pulsing with crimes of all shape and size. I'm playing L.A. Noire on my Xbox, filling my clue book with names and places, when the radio squawks out an APB. A bank job's gone bad. I guess they all do in the end. But this one features some twisted whack-job who's decided to spray the downtown gentry with an army issue machine gun. Some guys, I'll never understand. But I know my job. I hit the siren and bang up a few more unlucky parked cars on the route downtown. Cocked and loaded, I'm feeling the itch. 

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