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“Dad, thieves are very bad!”

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A couple of months ago, I took my son Diego (12) to play a game for his Hockey team, and since the guards did not allow me to park inside the stadium, I had to leave the car parked on the street, with around 20 or 30 other cars.

During my absence, one or more thieves broke one of my car’s windows, cut a safety belt that obstructed them to get some tool inside, forced the trunk door and stole the spare wheel and some tools.

“Dad, thieves are very bad!”

That was what Santi (5) repeated when I tried to explain him what had happened, because he could not understand why the glass was broken. He also did not understand why the baby’s seat where his sister should be going was no longer at its place because someone had cut the seat belt.

GTA screenshot
In Grand Theft Auto (GTA), the player can have fun breaking car glasses to steal them. When that happens to you in real life, it’s not that funny.

Objectively speaking, it could have been much worse. However, being a victim of such a situation is frustrating, both for me as an adult and also for the youngest, who find it difficult to understand that one person wants to harm another by doing something “bad”.

The issue of car theft turned into many conversations with my children about thieves, the role of cops, guards, and many other related things. The little one, above all, was full of questions like any child his age, and so there were conversations about the topic for several days.

Finally, the glass was repaired, the spare wheel restored with a new one and the seat belt … well, I’m still waiting for a spare. It seems that these belts are made on Mars and sent to Chile with a stopover in Neptune.

But the experience served, at least, to talk to the children about these topics. It never hurts to give them a more real vision of the world and the society in which we live.

Cops and Thieves Games

The subject of the robbery also made me remember some videogames that I played more than 20 years ago, games about cops and thieves.

The one that I remember most nostalgically is Keystone Kapers, a very simple and well achieved game that I owned in the Atari 800 XL I must have played hundreds of times, trying to synchronize all the jumps to dodge supermarket carts and small planes while chasing the thief. It was a very difficult but very entertaining game (gameplay video here)

Keystone Kapers screenshot
Keystone Kapers in Atari, a game in which the player moves a cop who chases a criminal escaping between obstacles, small planes and supermarket carts.

There are also very entertaining and challenging games in which the player takes on the role of the thief. Of these, one I really enjoyed almost twenty years ago was Thief: The Dark Project, the first installment of the Thief series.

Despite its name and that it was supposed to be about sneaking into the shadows mocking law enforcement, the game story turned into something quite dark and supernatural, and the player ended up facing skulls, zombies and other weird beings. It was very entertaining, anyway.


Thief screenshot
Thief The Dark Project is a videogame in which the main character ends up fighting against supernatural beings in a creepy medieval environment.

But undoubtedly, the game that I have enjoyed the most in this thematic line, and that in fact is one of the games I have enjoyed the most in recent years, is L.A Noire.

The late 1940s Los Angeles setting is excellent, the story is entertaining and the puzzles and problems have a great level of challenge. I remember playing long hours with Diego and Mariana (my wife). The three of us were all immersed in the story and we were all trying to find out if the suspects were lying or not, to discover the solution of each case.

L.A. Noire screenshot
L.A. Noire is one of the best-produced videogames of the previous generation of consoles. With great graphic quality, an excellent story, and interesting and entertaining game mechanics, the game was a great success.

Truth being said, there are video games about crimes, thieves and cops for all publics. As crime is a topic that is always relevant in society, and many videogame designers try to create experiences in which the player identifies with the characters and empathizes with the story, there will always be material for this videogames genre.

What other games of cops and thieves or similar topics have you played? Which ones do you think are the best?

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Juan Pablo Lastra

Juan Pablo makes videogames since he was 8 and he is a father since 2004. Today, he has three children and he has worked in more than 20 videogames. He got interested on how paternity and the videogame industry are related and he decided to write about it, founding "Papa Game Dev"

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