The consoles change but the game remains the same.
By Patrick Cassels
TEXT: THE WIRE, EVIL VS. SLIGHTLY LESS EVIL, PRESS START
A character selection screen.
TEXT: CHOOSE YOUR CHARACTER!
There are so many characters that each square is tiny and
impossible to read. The cursor picks one. ZIGGY, the show's
lamest character, pops up.
TEXT: YOU CHOSE ZIGGY! (beat) PROBABLY ON ACCIDENT. CHOOSE
Cursor picks a different character. DET. MCNULTY pops up.
CARD: LEVEL 1
INT. POLICE STATION - REGULAR GAMEPLAY
CLOSE on an issue of the Baltimore Sun (a la Paperboy).
Headline reads, "Crime and Drugs Rampant in Baltimore;
Mayor: 'Our Crab Cakes Still Rock, Though'"
McNulty, with his partner BUNK, reads the paper.
MCNULTY: I want to clean up Baltimore, Bunk.
BUNK: You'll need the right tools!
TEXT: MENU > EQUIPMENT > GUN/WARRANT/WHISKEY
The cursor selects "whiskey."
McNulty triumphantly holds up the whiskey.
BUNK: Were... were you even listening to me?
LT. DANIELS enters.
DANIELS: Be careful! The city won't waste resources on this
case. Also want to see my abs? I'm surprisingly ripped.
TEXT: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?: GET DRUNK/SEE DANIELS'S
ABS/ASK "WHAT THE F*#K DID I DO?"/FIGHT SYSTEM
Cursor selects FIGHT SYSTEM and we go into BATTLE MODE!
Daniels and McNulty stand at one side of the screen.
TEXT: YOU HAVE ATTACKED THE SYSTEM...
Two dozen scary BUREAUCRATS ("the system") enter on the
TEXT: ...GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.
Corrupt senator CLAY DAVIS steps out.
TEXT: SENATOR CLAY DAVIS USED BRIBE.
Davis hands money to everyone in his team. They turn around.
TEXT BOX: THE SYSTEM LOOKED THE OTHER WAY.
CLAY DAVIS: Sheeeeee-
CLAY DAVIS: -eeeeeet!
TEXT: MENU > MCNULTY > ATTACK > GIVE A F**K
McNulty sends an RPG like energy wave ("giving a f**k")
toward the enemy. It bounces back and harms McNulty and
TEXT: IT WASN'T YOUR TURN TO GIVE A F**K. THE SYSTEM WINS.
IT ALWAYS WINS. CHOOSE NEXT STAGE: THE BOAT/ANYWHERE ELSE
The cursor quickly picks "Anywhere Else."
TEXT: TOUGH SHIT, MCNULTY. YOU PISSED OF THE WRONG PEOPLE.
CUT TO McNulty freezing his ass off on a police boat.
INT. CRACK HOUSE - ITEM SHOP TRANSACTION
MEDIUM on OMAR, badass, and BODIE, drug dealer. A chip tune
"Farmer in the Dell" plays.
BODIE: Hi! I'm Bodie. Would you like to buy something?
A sad-looking cardboard drug dealer menu pops up.
TEXT: FOR SALE: CRACK/CRACK/MANA POTION/ALL OUR DRUG MONEY
Cursor picks "ALL OUR DRUG MONEY." BUZZ SFX.
BODIE: Sorry, you can't have that. In fact I should probably
shoot you for asking, motherf**ker.
Omar points out a sawed-off shotgun at Bodie.
Cursor picks "Drug Money" again. SUCCESS SFX!
TEXT: YOU, AHEM, "FOUND" $10,000
INT. CLEAN KITCHEN (FORMER CRIME SCENE) - POINT AND CLICK
There are animations of Bunk and McNulty's faces at the bottom.
Cursor clicks on a window, the floor, and fridge to
BUNK WORD BUBBLE: F**K.
MCNULTY WORD BUBBLE: F**K.
BUNK WORD BUBBLE: MOTHERF**KER.
TEXT: CRIME SOLVED! MOST MEMORABLE SCENE BONUS 1000!
CARD: LEVEL 2
EXT. SHIPPING PORT - REGULAR GAMEPLAY
McNulty enters. FRANK SOBOTKA approaches him.
FRANK SOBOTKA: Let me explain in detail how shipping works.
TEXT: MENU > INVENTORY > WARP WHISTLE
McNulty plays the warp whistle.
TEXT: YOU HAVE SKIPPED LEVEL 2 AND MISSED NOTHING IMPORTANT
CARD: LEVEL 3
INT. CONSTRUCTION SITE - BATTLE MODE
STRINGER and MARLO, two kingpins, fight.
TEXT: MARLO SUMMONED OMAR AND BROTHER MOUZONE.
Omar and the uptight hit man MOUZONE join Marlo, their guns
drawn at Stringer.
OMAR: Oh, indeed!
MOUZONE: Greetings and salutations.
OMAR: (beat; then, to Mouzone) ...Shut up, man.
TEXT: MENU > STRINGER > JOBS
A JOB MENU (a la Final Fantasy V) opens. Cursor scrolls
through various avatars of Stringer in random jobs
(including DARK WIZARD). Cursor selects LEGITIMATE
TEXT: MENU > EQUIP > 9MM/MAC-9/ROCKET LAUNCHER/NECKTIE
Cursor first tries to equip the weapons but they are
inactive. BUZZ SFX. Finally, cursor equips the necktie.
Omar and Mouzone shoot Stringer.
EXT. BROKEN DOWN BALTIMORE NEIGHBORHOOD - CHASE SCENE
BUBBLES, a junkie, runs from several POLICE OFFICERS.
The game pauses and the MAIN MENU (distinct from gameplay
and battle menus) opens.
TEXT: SETTINGS > DRUG LEGALITY > ILLEGAL/HAMSTERDAM MODE
Cursor selects "Hamsterdam Mode" and returns to gameplay.
The cops stop chasing Bubbles. Bubbles walks to a legit
store labeled CRACK FOR SALE.
TEXT BOX: BUBBLES RECEIVED SOME OF THAT WMD! 10 ADDICTION,
-1000 EVERYTHING ELSE IN HIS LIFE
CARD: LEVEL 4
EXT. ABANDONED NEIGHBORHOOD - MINI GAME
McNulty enters. PARTLOW, a gangster, scurries in like a
PARTLOW: I'VE HIDDEN BODIES IN THESE ABANDONED BUILDINGS.
CAN YOU FIND ENOUGH TO CONVINCE THE CITY TO INVESTIGATE? GO!
A timer appears. McNulty runs around. Each time he finds a
body there's a pleasant SFX and a "BAD PUBLICITY" meter
rises. He finds A LOT of bodies and the meter fills up.
TEXT: CRIME SPREE MODE UNLOCKED!
INT. CITY HALL - REGULAR GAMEPLAY
TOMMY CARCETTI, a politician, approaches a door labeled
"MAYOR'S OFFICE." He tries to open it. BUZZ SFX. It's
TEXT: SORRY. YOU AREN'T MAYOR YET.
MINI-GAME. Carcetti stands at the bottom of a line graph. At
the top is CITY HALL.
TEXT: TAP "A" TO MAKE EMPTY CAMPAIGN PROMISES.
He rides up the line graph as the player rapidly taps A. As
he hits certain points, empty promises appear on the graph:
-I'LL REDUCE CRIME IN BALTIMORE.
-I'LL REFORM THE POLICE DEPARTMENT.
-I'M NOT ACTUALLY IRISH.
Carcetti reaches the top. The door opens. Carcetti throws on
a sash and sits behind the mayor's desk.
TEXT: YOU HAVE ACHIEVED A POSITION OF POWER!
TEXT: MENU > DISCARD ITEM > MORALITY
CARD: LEVEL 5 - FINAL LEVEL (JUST WHEN PEOPLE WERE STARTING
TO GET INTO IT IT, TOO)
INT. BODEGA - BATTLE MODE
McNulty fights Marlo, Snoop and Davis.
MARLO: I run Baltimore now!
DAVIS: I'll never go to jail!
TEXT: MENU > MCNULTY > ITEM > WHISKEY
McNulty takes out his whiskey and drinks.
TEXT: MCNULTY DRANK WHISKEY. IT'S SUPER EFFECTIVE!
McNulty passes out.
TEXT BOX: ON HIM.
TEXT: OMAR JOINED MCNULTY'S PARTY.
TEXT: MENU > OMAR > ATTACK > SHOTGUN > MARLO
Marlo steps forward to shoot. KENARD, a kid, enters.
TEXT: A SMALL, HARMLESS CHILD HAS JOINED THE BATTLE.
Kenard SHOOTS OMAR IN THE HEAD.
TEXT: ...AND KILLED OMAR. MY BAD.
FINAL TEXT: NOTHING HAS CHANGED. THE BAD GUYS WILL NOT BE
PUNISHED. (beat) YOU'VE WON!
The remaining characters do a victory dance.