It may be a slightly over-romanticised account of the Great Depression, but Mafia is one of my favourite games and for years has been at the top of my list of potential film adaptions. I even remember using the game’s prologue for the basis of a short story for some English coursework once. It’s essentially an interactive film, not in a Heavy Rain way, but in the way the game’s laid out. It’s presented in a series of chapters that possess all the facets of a great movie; it has the perfect balance of action, drama and character, all with enough room for the plot to develop into something marvellous.
It’s 1930, and the Great Depression is in full swing. Tommy is an impoverished taxi driver who finds himself being drawn into a world of organised crime, after being forced to help two gangsters in the Salieri Family flee certain death at the hands of their rivals the Morellos. After a brief conflict with his inner self, Tommy decides to abandon taxi-driving and take up the Salieris’ offer of work. He quickly proves himself to be a valuable asset to the organisation, impressing the Don himself on numerous occasions. He becomes the go-to guy for all manner of assassinations, intimidations, and dodgy dealings.
His story is one of naïvely fine living, money, women, respect, car chases, gunfights, betrayals, murders, sharp suits and hats. Naturally, and as with most stories of this fashion, all the good things come to an end and after several years of living the high life it all comes around and kicks Tommy up the backside. After a dubious deal involving “imported cigars”, a botched heist, and a climatic shootout in the city art gallery, he needs to get out of the city, and his life. This is why he goes to the police, partly to put all the men who want him killed behind bars, and partly to assure a relatively easy way of disappearing from the sight of anyone he ever knew.
The game could do with some work of course, but it is eleven years old after all.