Bet Momma’s in the kitchen, cooking fried chicken, wishing that I hadn’t done wrong (The Sopranos, 1999-2007 ; Gangland, 2004 ; Boardwalk Empire, 2010-2013 ; Omerta : City of Gangsters, 2013)

Sometimes all is about WWII, sometimes all is about heroic-fantasy. And some others periods, you got movies like Goodfellas or series like The Sopranos about mobsters.

The Sopranos is of all time overkill: characters are pieces of trash, there’s no attempt to sweeten  their kind of reality, still you want to know what’ll become of them all. Great cast (James Gandolfini obviously, but plenty of others too), great scenario. If you haven’t, please re-watch the whole series. A must have.

No surprise that, at some point, a video game named Gangland was released. Visuals, ambiance, music, everything was in the spirit of The Sopranos. It would have been a wonderful game. If only. The first obvious issue is the fact that, back in these days, the business model of most game publishers was still best to sell one copy of the game at 60€ than ten copies at 7€. And as internet and CD/DVD-writers were becoming available to many people, it no longer really made sense even just from a crooked greedy standpoint. So Gangland was released with a state of the art digital right management system named Starforce. If everything was working correctly, the legit user had to wait a few minutes for his CD/DVD to be verified before playing. And, then, he was subject to performance issues during the game whenever Starforce decided pertinent to do further checking. That is if everything was ok. If not, for instance if your CD/DVD was not clean, or if your CD/DVD player was no longer working perfectly (and we know these are actually short-lived), you had to wait a few minutes and eventually getting crashes, or simply epic fails to start the game. The workaround was actually for the legit user to use Starfuck or Starforce Nightmare, cracking software to get around Starforce. Kind of insulting to the legit user. And then, when you were actually able to play, a few multiplayer games was enough for you to find out that, even if the game mechanics seemed to be ok at first sight, there were completely broken by design. Your cash flow depended on task given to your staff, like collecting protection money from shops. At the begin of a game, you had limited staff and you had to rely on the surroundings shops to get such protection money. Well, starting location were not (at all) alike and, depending on where you started, your staff actually made the trip to the shop and back to the safehouse really fast or really slow. So after a few minutes playing, even without a first fight, or even first sight of the enemy, one player had already much more cash flow than the other, without any possibility to alter this. So the winner of the game was actually already decided from the starting location. It does not break the single player experience though. Anyway, all this trouble with Starforce (metaphor of protection money?) and such design flaw sum up to not so much. And I’m not even going as far as the review in the wikipedia page (« repetitive gameplay […] poorly implemented checkpoint saving system [etc] »).

Chew on that!

Seems to me the trend is back these days. You have Vegas, featuring Michael Chicklis “Vic from The Shield” as a bad guy,  in the setup of Last Vegas in the sixties. The cast is fine, the layout is good, the ambiance is there. The story is a bit simplistic to me however – one mini story per episode and one big story over them all; no real suspense. And you have Boardwalk Empire, sets in Atlantic City during the prohibition. I will not comment it. You have to watch this. I’m not kidding. I’ll check on you.

So, no surprise, a game named Omerta : City of Gangters was released. It takes place… in Atlantic City… during the prohibition. I already read bad reviews about it -and yeah, that’s always bad practice to read bad reviews of a video game, afterwards we tend to check for the issues mentioned in the article that we may have not paid attention to otherwise- but gave it a try anyway. A quick try, but I may continue it further later. Well, the game started, I had to do some repetitive crap a few time (sending guys to steal alcohol) and I had to manage two distinct fights, one of the other with a few seconds transition. Then, I was automatically sent to a new map. Ahem. Not so much the feeling to build an empire on the boardwalk there.

Obviously, Everything’s gonna be all right, Papa They’re teaching us a lesson a day we’re learning pretty well too We’ve already learned a whole lot of stuff already.

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