Dreamation: Joanne Oakley

Character: Officer Joanne Oakley
Game: Noir World
Episodes: 1
Theme Song: Beauty and the Beast by David Bowie
Keywords: Scheming, impatient, hungry

Saturday AM rolled around and I was in a game of Noir World. I had been wanting to try Noir World, mostly because I love the genre when it's not pulpy and I have a lot of feelings around the sexism and racism inherent in the genre. But I was fucking tired and I had zero spoons left when I sat down to this game. People were on the ball, all the other players and the facilitator, but I was so far down the rabbit hole of exhaustion I'm afraid I didn't have much to offer for story.

I even grabbed a decaf coffee by accident. Ugh.

I digress though. The list of options that came up as playable classes was impressive and expansive. I knew I wanted to play someone in power, I wanted to play a woman, and I wasn't interested in that woman being inferior to another playbook in terms of social clout. I wanted someone who people were somewhat afraid of pissing off. I don't think I was successful at these, but I did play someone who didn't take shit.

Joanne was created with a few loose ideas in mind. She was a dirty cop who got her job through nepotism (daddy was a police officer too, and a good man). Why was she a dirty cop? Because most of the clean ones ended up dead and Jo wasn't gonna go the way her partner went. She was working specifically as head of the gang violence part of the precinct and swept a good number of cases under the carpet. Why hadn't anyone called her on it? Because she'd arrest a few nobodies now and then to keep the numbers looking good. She wasn't stupid.

In background, it was established she was dating both the mobster, who was JoJo (a retired baseball star) and the PI, Deckard. She knew Kenny, the gambler, although it seemed they were friends and Kenny kept telling her she was doing well. We didn't explore that relationship that much, nor did we talk much about the backgrounds. I knew I had promised Deckard I would break it off with JoJo because Deckard wanted a future.

I extrapolated from this that Joanne just thought men were somewhat dumb and she was good at saying what they wanted to hear. Unless she was done with them and then she was pretty much cold as ice. I knew she was done with JoJo mostly because he was a good roll in the hay but she wasn't interested in being more to him than that. And I knew she valued Deckard because he was useful contact and better at getting to the truth than she was.

Alas, she agreed to help kidnap a wealthy kid to get some money. Money was her goal. I hadn't really figured out why. I knew she didn't want kids and she didn't want prestige, she just wanted cold hard cash. Maybe to retire? Maybe to rise in power? Probably to rise in power. She wanted to own the precinct. She wanted to rule them all.

Things didn't pan out, as usual, and a couple of awkward scenes with boys later, there was a great moment when Deckard punched someone, failed miserably, and Joanne white-knighted and protected him from the mob kid. It was definitely not what you usually see in those movies, and I liked it, a lot. I knew Joanne had a soft spot for Deckard then, because he was a good man caught in a dirty world and she wasn't any better. She was trash. And somehow he liked her, but only because she hid this side of herself from him.

Playing a Noir female character was interesting. I got to know how dogged and resourceful and manipulative she was by the end because every scene had her playing the angles and figuring out how she'd come out on top. And she did. Because she was a bad guy. And I dug it a lot.

The only challenge I set for myself was playing someone in power who was also a woman in a traditionally sexist setting. I feel like I pulled that off, and I think given time, Joanne would have been a compelling character. I don't think the game really facilitated a lot of great PC - PC moments, but in another game, she could have been more in depth, or over multiple episodes. I want to see more of her. I want to play more figures like that in non-modern settings. Damn, I think I wanna play more Noir.


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