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October 17, 2012

Night and the city

Chris Donlan plays through L.A. Noire with his dad, who grew up in the city in the 1940s.

In the publicity pictures, the Richfield Tower looks like a cross between Liberace's refrigerator and an over-engineered art deco tombstone, in fact. It was torn down in 1969, and my dad hadn't seen it since 1961 when he left L.A. to become a priest. I wasn't expecting to see it in the game, because I'd never heard anyone but him ever talking about it. I told dad we'd look for it, but I wasn't optimistic.

I'll never forget the moment we found it. Dad could just about remember the cross-streets - 6th and Flower - and I had a little trouble fiddling round in the game's map to set a waypoint. Then we were off. On the drive, dad kept up a low-level muttering trail of recollections and fiercely specific critiques: the lamps on this bridge were right, but the large dumpsters in alleyways weren't like anything he remembered seeing; a gas station's Coke machine was just perfect, but little skirtings of exposed brickwork around the low walls of vacant lots 'didn't seem very Californian'; this was meant to be 1947? Why was that a 1950 Chevy, then? When we finally turned onto 6th, though, he suddenly stopped talking.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at October 17, 2012 08:28 AM