Thursday, June 09, 2011

The Streets of L.A. Noire

Of late, I have become quite immersed in the recently released videogame L.A. Noire.  And although a discussion of the subject would be better suited to my neglected sister blog Boom-Pop!, I find myself more interested in playing six degrees of Hyperion and relating the certainly very obscure connections to my own research efforts that I found within the game's expansive recreation of Los Angeles circa 1947.

I  have spent an enormous amount of time over the past few years via testimonials and photographs, attempting to visualize in some way the Los Angeles that existed during Disney's Hyperion days, and also explore the area's iconography that inspired the Imagineers who created the initial designs for Disney-MGM Studios.  To free roam within a virtual replica of a place I have extensively explored on an academic level has been a great deal of fun to say the least.

The setting of L.A. Noire is a decade removed from Disney's Hyperion days, and unfortunately does not as yet include the Silver Lake and Los Feliz neighborhoods which were central to the studio's early history.  I've as yet only completed about 50% of the game but I have bumped into a few landmarks that relate to the architecture of the Hollywood Studios park at Walt Disney World.  The Brown Derby, the Max Factor building, the Crossroads of the World and Grauman's Theatre can all be found with L.A. Noire's virtual landscape.

The oddest bit of game to blog synergy happened when, during gameplay, I discovered the RKO Theatre.  I had recently published a Window to the Past here at 2719 Hyperion that showcased that theater's location on Hill Street in downtown Los Angeles.  Upon seeing the theater within the game, I quickly pulled my police car over to the curb, and ran down the street to find the area that was documented in the photograph I had featured.  Here is what I saw:

Just a little bit of fun I'd thought I'd share.  Please do not judge my momentary over-the-top geekiness too harshly.


Connie Moreno said...

I am not a gamer but my son is and he has this game. He loves it especially because it lets him "see" places that his grandparents often talked about.

jeffk said...

As soon as I cancel my Gamefly account, Portal 2 and LA Noire come out. Poor planning, I guess. So many people are talking about this game that I guess I'm gonna have to cave and pick it up.

Jeff Kurtti said...

Your geekiness is enriching and informative--and fun!! Don't change!

Bob Lindstrom said...


Don't worry about it. Although I play games a lot (and once designed and produced them, including a stint at Disney), I preordered LA Noire just for the pleasure of wandering around the streets of 1947 Los Angeles.

Fellow L.A./game nerd,

pinkplumeria said...

I'm not the only one?? I felt super geeky when I stopped, mid-mission, to admire the Crossroads of the World. As someone who actively seeks out connections or references to Disney history, it definitely made exploring a lot more engaging

Paul F. Anderson said...

Okay, now you did it. Off to buy LA Noire and "borrow" my son's Xbox. Now all of us Disney bloggers need to start a campaign to make a game where we can wander in and out of LA in the 1930s and 1940s AND both the Hyperion and Burbank Studios. I can dream! Thanks for a most excellent Disney history website!!! And I concur with Mr. Kurtti ... DON'T CHANGE!