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DID YOU READ

Insert Credit: “L.A. Noire”

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Insert Credit endeavors to suss out where you should be allotting your video game allowance, sifting out a single title from many and crowning it as The One Game You Need to Get This Week. Don’t consider these reviews, gentle reader. Rather, think of Insert Credit as a mix of hands-on time, informed opinion and intuition.

For the week of May 18, 2011, you should insert credit into: “L.A. Noire”.

For the most part, Rockstar Games’ protagonists have been rebels, people who object to the order of society and/or find themselves on its fringes. If they do make their way to the center, it’s by virtue of bloody reprisals and vengeful comeuppance. From the nameless punk criminal in “Grand Theft Auto 3” to put-upon boarding school student Jimmy Hopkins in “Bully,” the outsider status of Rockstar’s hero characters probably accounts for a lot of their fan base. Their games give you a way to buck the system with the consequence of being arrested.

In “L.A. Noire,” however, you’re the one doing the arresting. Police detective Cole Phelps–portrayed by Aaron Staton of “Mad Men”– maintains the status quo of the social order. You play as a rookie cop and climb through the various desks of the Los Angeles Police Department. “L.A. Noire” faithfully falls in with the tropes of the procedural genre: go to a crime scene, find clues, talk to people who might know something about the crime, use found evidence to expose their lies and/or guilt.

As the game’s writer and head of developer Team Bondi Brendan McNamara has offered, it’s essentially a TV show in video game form. “L.A. Noire” privileges the skill of observation more than anything else. As the actors’ MotionScan-captured faces animate with tics and tells, you confront the veracity of their statements. You can even skip out on the chase scenes and gun fights if you’re having trouble successfully passing them.

You might call it bloodless for the way it de-emphasizing the run-and-gun, but the action is merely shifted to the battle of wills between Phelps and the suspects. No, these faces don’t look real. Better animated than in other games? Yes. But real? No. Yet, there’s something hypnotic about the eye rolls and spasms of the Persons of Interest you interview. On the proving ground of criminal culpability, it’s interpretative skill not twitch reflexes that win the day. A lethal headshot will always have its charms but there’s something satisfyingly addictive about throwing a piece of evidence out that explodes a weak alibi. As you play, you earn Intuition. While this feature is present as a mechanic that lets you strip away false answers and find clues easier, it does feel organic to the way a police career might be built. Of course, you’re getting better at busting bad guys. You’re supposed to, right?

Of course, Phelps does run up against a system to buck, that being the rampant corruption plaguing the LAPD of 1947. But, even in his battles against that perversion of service, he’s righteous in a way Rockstar hasn’t programmed into its games before. The MotionScan technology used by “L.A. Noire” is new and presents a gap between the relative fidelity of the faces and the animations of the character bodies. But the odd brand of intuitive tension the game creates elevates beyond being simply a bunch of Murder in Uncanny Valley sequences and into something far more satisfying. Who knew being a cop would feel so compelling?

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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