Michael Mosel, a student at Marburg University, CC-licenced his paper “↑Film noir Computerspiele—marketing gag oder reales ‘noir gaming’?“ [“Film noir computer games—marketing ruse or real ‘noir gaming’?” | .pdf | 907KB] and ↑published it online, as his brother ↑notified us at ↑PlasticThinking.
After giving a nice introduction into the subject of “film noir”, the paper deals with the games “↑Max Payne“ and
“↑Grim Fandango“. Until now I only was able to do a cursory read across the 54 pages, but the thing looks decidedly good. For those interested in the subject, but who are not able to read German, allow me to point you to Galen Davis’ (↵2002) honors essay “Game noir” which also deals with “Max Payne” and “Grim Fandango”:
For registered and logged in members the whole thesis is ↑available for download [.pdf | 3.85MB] at ↑Gamasutra. Here’s the abstract:
Noir confronts ontological conceptions of modern man in interrogating urban alienation, changing standards of morality, and growing nostalgia for a lost American sacredness. The computer game, on the surface a trivial form of visceral entertainment, has captured the American population in its ability to tell stories. And in so doing the computer game has become a medium with aesthetic importance as it begins to reflect cultural values and re-form (and reform) them for aesthetic evaluation. As suggested above, interactivity and immersion are two properties that on the surface, and in other media, are mutually exclusive. Game noir allows the player to both immerse him or herself as well as interact with the gameworld, making the experience of the content and its contemplation simultaneous. That is, the construction of the illusion (or the suspension of disbelief) is concurrent with a full engagement with the medium as a medium. The fact that game noir’s content holds both epistemological and ontological concerns – and is embodied in a medium whose narrative basis is conflict resolution – holds aesthetic possibilities upon which I hope the reader will reflect.