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Noir Affect$
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Christopher Breu and Elizabeth A. Hatmaker

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780823287802

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823287802.001.0001

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Playing with Negativity: Max Payne, Neoliberal Collapse, and the Noir Video Game

Playing with Negativity: Max Payne, Neoliberal Collapse, and the Noir Video Game

Chapter:
(p.178) Chapter 8 Playing with Negativity: Max Payne, Neoliberal Collapse, and the Noir Video Game
Source:
Noir Affect
Author(s):

Brian Rejack

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823287802.003.0009

This chapter analyses the Max Payne series of video games (2001–2012) as an emblematic instance of the noir video game. The analysis focuses on the games’ relations to the anxiety, mourning, and anger associated with the decline of the public sector and the paired rise of globalization and neoliberalism. After the reading of the Max Payne series, the chapter turns to the relationship between gameplay and affect, arguing that various strategies of “counterplay,” as they have been undertaken through the series, offer another way to interrogate the games’ noir affects. The chapter thus introduces an influential example of noir in the context of mainstream video games, reads that series in relation to affects associated with the contemporary geopolitical order, and demonstrates how the gaming medium can afford critical potential through the affective investments we place in the activity of play.

Keywords:   affect, counterplay, Max Payne, modding video games, neoliberalism, noir

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