October 18, 2005

Game Boy


Big news on the freelancing front: my videogame hits stores next month.

OK, when I say "my videogame," what I mean is the videogame that I was hired -- more than a year ago -- to do a few days worth of research for. But still, I worked on an effing videogame. How cool is that? I would have mentioned it before, but I signed a confidentiality agreement. Me and Judy: we're all about the security clearances.

The game is True Crime: New York City, Activision's sequel to True Crime: Streets of LA. The first game was widely compared (not always positively) to Grand Theft Auto for its open-ended sandbox design, though in tone it was closer to The Shield than anything else (where is that Shield game, by the way?). The best thing about it was the detailed recreation of Los Angeles: every street just where it is in real life. I'm not a hardcore gamer, so I pretty quickly got bored of the main storyline and spent my time driving around the city causing trouble. Of course, the problem with a totally accurate rendition of driving around LA, is who wants to drive around LA for very long?

Wandering the streets (and interiors) of New York, however, is a different story. Like the first game, TC:NYC is getting buzz for its authenticity, and for that, I'm going to take just a little bit of credit. My job was to generate lists of 1) real people that one encounters on the city streets — both generic types and specific characters (the "free hugs" guy, the Shuttle Lady), and 2) real weird or funny crimes that have been committed in the city (remember the society ladies who got into a knife fight at Tavern on the Green? Or the trend of setting token booth clerks on fire?). As a sign of at least the designer's original ambitions, I was specifically instructed to note not only which on streets you might find certain people, but what time of day.

I have not played the new game yet so I have no idea if any of my suggestions were incorporated (I checked a few of the screen-grabs and videos, but didn't notice anything). Anyway, if you're one of the people who got an e-mail from me in June 2004 about a street characters census, now you know why, and thanks for your help. I'll let you come over and play the game.


Posted by Daniel Radosh


this is so the precursor to the holodeck.

Or Shadow World. You have read Cast of Shadows by now, haven't you?

I personally WOULD like to drive in LA. But that would be a crime in itself.
However,there was an event here some years ago, where blind and vision impaired kids got to drive cars with a fully sighted co-driver, which I dubbed "the Blindie 100." Maybe they'll do it
again, and I'll get my chance. Who's brave enough to be my co-driver?

I hope the guy who plays "Redemption Song" made it in.

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