Video Games

Lady Business: The Traffic Report

(For any newcomers: My wife, Kris, writes a weekly column under the heading “Lady Business”, giving her perspective on movies, television, pop-culture, and in this instance, video games!)

My attempt at playing L.A. Noire ended in tragedy…more than a few times.

I can only really get my mind around two video game controllers. The first being the Atari 2600 joystick, because the thing had a single stick and button. The second being the Wii controller, because if you want to move forward you just push your arm forward. Both are beautifully simple. L.A. Noire for X-box means that I’m stuck attempting to click on a whole host of buttons, all of which seem to be super sensitive.

On Friday night, Chris manned the controller while I made the choices on where to go and what to do. We solved the cases fairly quickly, though I felt squirmy about calling a suspect a liar even though they were clearly lying. Turns out my wussy non-confrontational side calls the shots in video games as well as real life.

Since I wake up at the crack o’ dawn, I thought I’d attempt to play it on my own Saturday morning. I chose a traffic case involving a suspicious car crash. For starters, it was hard to get my guy out of the building. He kept walking into walls, but not to worry…no one even noticed. Even though they mentioned that the crime scene was across the street, I still got in my car and began to destroy the city. I ran over light poles, smashed into the sides of tunnels and generally made the pedestrians of old-timey L.A. very nervous.

I found my way to the scene. Luckily, I figured out how to get the guy to run because he had to go up a crap-ton of stairs. On the way, people would randomly say things like “That’s the cop who cracked the big case!” or “Are you drunk?” I admit, I was bobbing and weaving. I knocked more than a few people over, but they didn’t seem to mind much. They’d just get back up and move along.

It took me way longer than I’d like to admit to figure out how to get down to the crime scene. Even though there was a map, I kept running in circles and trying to run off cliffs. I get to the crash site one hundred years later, and gather some clues. My interrogation of a woman involved in the accident was botched because I couldn’t bring myself to call her a liar. She didn’t tell me much.

After that, I also botched the questioning of a witness and was supposed to follow the woman. That’s when things really started to turn sour. I tried tailing her, but my driving skills made me a little obvious. I would try to creep up on her, but then suddenly floor it and bash through street signs and run over citizens. Fail. A re-start had me driving so slowly that I lost her. Another re-start had me get to the café, but then my guy got out of the car and was promptly run over. He screamed like a woman when he fell down, and I laughed so hard that I woke Chris up.

With his help, I learned how to commandeer cars, which was good because my car was a smoking pile of junk at this point. The driver would tell me to be careful with it, and I’d immediately smash it into a building. Then, I’d reverse and smash it into another building. Confession: I don’t know which button controls the brakes in this game.

A very long period of kicking down doors and picking up items that meant nothing followed. My partner didn’t do much of anything other than get his hat shot off in a car chase. (My hat remained dapper.) The best thing about the car chase was that my horrible driving seemed to pay off. I ripped off the suspect’s bumper. Then, I accidentally re-created a scene from World’s Deadliest Police Chases where I somehow caused him to spin his car around. I knew watching that junk would pay off one day.

I finished by killing my guy as he was chasing a suspect on top of a three story structure that was shoddily built. I was going to give it another go, but I realized I hadn’t bothered to learn how to shoot a gun, duck behind objects or any of the other important things needed to get me out of this endless loop of dying.

I didn’t save the game and attempt to finish later because my detective work was pretty awful and I didn’t want Chris to get stuck with a score of negative flobbidy-jillion points. However, I would have liked to know my cash value of damage to the city. I bet it was a doozy.


  1. Jacquilynne says:

    Oh, god. I thought I wanted to play this game really, really, really badly before this post. And now I have an extra few reallys on the list.

    I have been eying up devices that would let me stream Netflix to my TV, so getting a PS3 wouldn’t be a total waste, right?

    • Christopher says:

      You know, I have a new PS3 still in the box that I don’t want. I could make you a good deal. Would it work in Canadaland?

  2. Radoslaw says:

    Did you have fun? Or was it simply an exercise in frustration at the controls?

    • I had a lot of fun playing this. I did feel like a goof and wish I had been a bit smarter on the controls, but I got a lot out of it. Plus, Chris and I had a lot of laughs. It was a good way to spend a lazy Saturday.

  3. This post sounds exactly like the time my husband tried to teach me to play co-op Halo, except he kept yelling at me for being stuck in a corner and causing him to get shot. It’s something about using both joysticks on the Xbox to move–I simply cannot do it. Does not compute.

  4. I can say that if I’m given a controller I can drive pretty well, good even, one might say. Although As soon as I get out of the car I’m as effective as a drunktard on LSD.

    Really sad rockstar can’t be bothered to get this (and RDR) on the PC, think they got a bit butthurt on the critisism from GTA IV.

    At any rate, want moar “Kris moments”!

  5. In Ghostbusters, the pretty okay game that was based on a pretty okay movie, they make sure to let you know how much damage you cause to hotels and establishments with your ghost blasters. Maybe that bit would interest you and also it’s easier to be mean to ghosts I think and call them liars (though that feature is not available in Ghostbusters). They should make a game that combines accusing beings of lying and some of those beings being ghosts.