The Official Portal to the Madness of Dark Fiction Author Patrick C. Greene

Trench Coats, Pretty Dames, and Video Games

Today we are so excited to host Allison M. Dickson as she tells us all about

Trench Coats, Pretty Dames, and Video Games

If someone ever asks me why I wrote COLT COLTRANE AND THE LOTUS KILLER, those seven words will pretty much sum it up.

film-noir-helpI love the way men and women dressed in the forties, fifties, and the early sixties. Everyone was gorgeous back then. Look at a picture of your mother or your grandmother from those days and try to find a flaw. Her hair will be perfectly curled and shaped. Her makeup and jewelry will be just so. Her dresses will be perfectly tailored to fit her body, because the whole concept of buying mass-produced clothing off a discount store rack was still pretty much unheard of back then, and she probably made that dress herself because it was cheaper. And the men, so crisp in their suits, their features and closely cropped haircuts set off just so by their fedoras.
While I have been in love with the COLT era for quite some time, and I had the idea of this particular book in my head for several years, I didn’t start to feel like I had it in me to actually sit down and write it. Details necessary to writing period fiction tend to elude me, and despite how many years I’d watched movies and studied the history of the era, I felt ill prepared to tackle it until I played a video game of all things. L.A. Noire, to be precise. rockstar gameAs anyone who follows Rockstar Games knows, they pride themselves on highly detailed and authentic environments. The game happened to be set in the same year as Colt, and the main character in the game is a police officer. So not only was I able to play through actual crime scene investigation techniques necessary for Colt to know (as a former homicide cop), I was also able to get a feel for the ways people communicated, the types of cars they drove, the actual landmarks in Los Angeles at the time, and any other cultural nuances. And it was that game’s exploration of the city’s storm drain system that inspired me to create the monster lurking there. Rockstar might have taken creative liberties too, but then again I added robots to the mix.
While some would argue that video games are more of a diversion from writing than an actual tool, in this case, I would have to disagree. For someone like me, who is a very kinesthetic kind of learner, playing this game was better than watching movies or surfing the internet. I was actually able to reach out and interact with the environment in a way that was impossible in any other medium. The game also has a fantastic soundtrack (available on Spotify). In a way, the experience of using a video game to help me write this book was like the world of Colt Coltrane himself. A bridging of the past and the present to create a soupy mix of fun ideas. I can’t wait for folks to eat it up.

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One response

  1. Pingback: Trench Coats, Pretty Dames, and Video Games | Sekhmet Press LLC

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