Can video games deal with mafia-related topics effectively? In this special we will try to answer this remarkable question
The idea of the special that you are reading arises spontaneously from candidly simple premises: can i video games effectively deal with topics, such as those relating to mafia, that go beyond the mere entertainment? And if so, can video games do it in a way more incisive compared to other media who have historically dealt with such facts?
Answering these questions will involve a wide-ranging reflection and examination of the medium videoludico itself, on its scope, on its target and its own multifaceted identity. Already from these summary introductory excerpts it emerges, in its clarity, the fact that the aforementioned premises are so simple how much, to be honest, burdensome and deserving, perhaps, more than a simple article and a single writer.
The latter is the reason that will often lead us to cite the work of Dr. Luca Federici, formerly Brand Ambassador for Sony PlayStation and currently candidate for the Legum Magister in Law of Internet Technology at Bocconi University, entitled “Mafia and mafias: Cosa Nostra is the winning dowry“Published in 2018 and currently available on Amazon.
The aforementioned text analyzes, with formidable lucidity of analysis and wealth of sources, the mafia phenomenon and right inside it contains a chapter specifically focused on the binomial mafia and video games. The extract will provide us with a precious help and an indispensable source for our dissertation which otherwise would certainly be more arid and circumscribed.
One could not argue about mafia and video games appropriately without first dwelling on the very identity of the medium videoludico. This is because, essentially, any medium you use to deal with a given topic will itself be a give shape to the argument treated and not only vice versa as instead, erroneously, one would be led to believe. The argument, therefore, enters the medium but also the latter, inevitably, enters the subject itself, penetrates it and gives it new appearances, different from those that characterize the subject in its real aspect.
As brilliantly pointed out by the Dr. Luca Federici in his study, the portrait that i video games, historically, they have outlined themafia associations, differs, partly, from the real features of associations same. This, however, does not imply that video games cannot talk about the mafia in an appropriate and effective way.
We will see, for this reason, that this has actually already happened with the series Mafia of 2K Czech and Hangar 13. In particular, the first iteration of this popular crime saga and the respective remake, released just in the current year, are the ones that probably dealt with the mafia in the most powerful and partially in accordance with tragic reality facts.
We just used the adjective “powerful“To describe the communicative ability of video games. With powerful, in this case, we refer to the characteristics of immersion and involvement that this medium has congenital in its very nature as video games are the first and only interactive medium. Differently, therefore, from other media that place the user in a purely role passive, the video game instead reserves a certain degree of to it activities.
As can be seen in titles such as the very recent Cyberpunk 2077, just to make the name more bombastic, the current trend of the videogame industry seems to be precisely that of immersing the player more and more making it active part of the story and able to shape the first person to his own destiny by means of multiple choices in dialogues e alternative endings. Thinking about it, then, this whole discourse itself is unequivocally symbolized by the first-person game view, which has always been widespread.
It is certainly true, moreover, that the video game medium does not reject the language of other media and indeed, it does so frequently, especially that of the cinema. The video game, however, remains the only one to allow the overlap between ourselves, the players, and the fictional protagonists of the events represented. This consideration, banal at first glance, instead has extreme consequences that perhaps only those who have had the opportunity to approach, pad in hand, videogame virtual reality are able to fully understand.
The discussion of mafia and criminal topics, over time, has been supported by different media and, our thesis, is that the video game could, precisely because of its interactivity and his versatility, be the one “definitive“Or at least the most full. This is because, in films and books, we see or read about mafiosi doing something, in the video game, on the contrary, we are often ourselves the mafia by acting and carrying out the assigned tasks, we redirect in a dazzling way the tragic and unfortunate consequences of the actions performed.
By virtue of this, therefore, the video game, to avoid any ambition for entertainment, is done educational. Especially since, as demonstrated by various studies, and by the same Federici, the audience to which the video game tends to address is that young to which other media are struggling to reach. This target has also expanded more and more over time, becoming more and more numerous and coming to include an increasingly heterogeneous audience for age, thanks also to the titles which will be seen in the next paragraph.
Mafia vs. GTA, mafia associations vs. gangsterism – Mafia and video games
There was a time when video games were alone stuff of animated puppets jumping from point to point for the delight of the gods children. We are in 2020 and, at least in this, we can finally say that everything changed. Do not misunderstand this consideration. It is not our intention to say that Mario is no longer needed, Sackboy, Kirby and whatnot. There will always be a need for lightheartedness, entertainment and beloved, how true the world is.
What the writer would like to reiterate is that a given form of communication, such as the videogame medium, to be considered complete, must be able to treat properly all sorts of matter and argument. The video game, perhaps starting from the years Ninety, it has, rather overwhelmingly, shown us to be prodigiously successful in this regard.
Over the years, the “mature content”Have become an increasingly intrinsic part of the storytelling of video games. In short, over time we have had Red Dead Redemption, The Last of Us, Wolfenstein, Days Gone, This War of Mine and many other titles that have been able to scream to the world that the medium himself had made himself. mature and complete in all its facets.
For the purposes of our discussion, of this large videogame group, we choose to place under the lens of critical analysis Grand Theft Auto and the series Mafia precisely because of the approach shown towards thecriminal associations. Before doing this, however, it will be appropriate to propose a distinction within this category. We refer here to the words of the Dr. Luca Federici:
The mafia is intrinsically a crime also from and of living room. Gangsterism, on the other hand, is a stubborn form of delinquency yes organized but coming from the street; it arises, takes root and thrives on the margins of society.
Here, then, is that the series Mafia it is an expression of the former, where Grand Theft Auto, it is of the second. However, it should be pointed out, to be honest, that even Mafia, in portraying the criminal phenomenology of which it bears the name, sometimes confuses the two concepts tending to make the logical boundaries of the two realities blurred and evanescent. The latter, in the “real-lifeInstead they are always MIXED and the gangsterismo, even when he gets rich and wants to make his debut in society “he does not have that alphabet that allows him to be openly welcomed by white-collar workers” (Luca Federici).
The acceptance by the “White collars“On the contrary, as it is sadly known, the mafia, on the contrary, he had it all right, and as will be seen in the next paragraph, among all video games, the one that bears the very name of this type of associationism is the same that has most figuratively denoted this point.
Reality interpenetrates the fictional – Mafia and video games
Why, among all videogiochi Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven and its remaking, Mafia Definitive Edition are probably the most videogame sources adequate when it is proposed to examine how the mafia phenomenon has it penetrated the medium in question? To be sure, this question could actually be answered with a plethora of examples. The text of the Dr. Federici, to which we link up, it proposes almost all of them and we certainly refer you to it if you wish to deepen them.
What we will talk about here is perhaps the most obvious and is represented by the character of Frank Colletti. Frank, the right arm of Don Salieri, the boss for whom the protagonist of the first Mafia “works”, is the bridge between the mafia and the guarantor of the law at Lost Haven. In other words, Frank is what he is does not get your hands dirty and assesses with diligence as an employee the moves of the “Family“. In it, the connivance between “State” and “mafia”. Crime “from the living room”Mentioned above.
A character like Frank is absent in many other expressions of videogame crime and he is the real feature which allows Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven and Mafia Definitive Edition to stand out in this sense. Where the crime of video games pushes to massacre everything and everyone and at the first necessity, Mafia, through Frank, shows us instead that we must try not to step on the toes of the authorities: “Don’t step on the cops’ toes, we pay them“.
In this the first Mafia is decidedly close to reality of mafia associations tangible. Mafia shows us, in essence, that the authority of the law coexists, coexists and is accomplice of that mafia. In short, with the pad in your hand and from the first minutes of the game you can feel the sensation of having entered one very strongly fetid, rotten and corrupt dimension, like rotting flesh, in all its facets. This is the bomb launched by the first Mafia. Something that is often not felt by playing just any one GTA, in which to leak is perhaps the madness, nonsense generalized and lo squalor congenital in the human soul.
In what else Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven e Mafia Definitive Edition can be considered the most, forgive the necessary pun, “mafia” between video games? In the cold morale of their story, of course. If the two titles were two teachers the lesson they would have given us, at the end of the fair, would be that sooner or later the mafia law collides with the naturals values and aspirations of man. Because? Because the law of the mafia is individual law, selfishness…