Media scholar Jason Mittel of the blog Just TV, has published a draft of what seem to become an excellent essay about the Wire and how it is narratively constructed. A good read for anyone interested in understanding some of the underlying appeal of the show.
After discussing whether or not to assess the wire as a televised novel, he goes on to compare the wire with the narrative structure of a video game. This actually made me think – is this something you would like to see?
Excerpt: Ultimately the characters in The Wire, while quite human and multi-dimensional, are as narrowly defined in their possibilities as typical videogame avatars. They each do what they do because that is the way the game is played—Bubbles can’t get clean, McNulty can’t follow orders, Avon can’t stop fighting for his corners, Sobotka can’t let go of the glory days of the shipyard. The characters with agency to change, like Stringer Bell, D’Angelo Barksdale, or Bunny Colvin, find the systems too resistant, the “boss levels” too difficult, to overcome the status quo.
Ultimately it is through its focus on procedure, at the levels of action, play, and code, that The Wire generates its verisimilitude, creating a ludic engagement with the SimCity of 21st century Baltimore.
Me myself would love to be able to take on the role of a Baltimore cop or hoodie and be part of evolving the story; solving crimes, having a drinking session with Bunk and McNulty or running packages.
What do you think? Would you play good cop, bad cop, king pin or perhaps junkie? Would it even be possible to transfer the dynamics of the show to the video game medium?