Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Gosh, I don't like to think that you might not have played Mafia. Oh no, what if you played the horrible Mafia II, and not the first one? Oh gosh, dear me, no.
They are chalk and cheese. Mafia: The City Of Lost Heaven, as absolutely no one has ever remembered to call it, was a wonderful game, bursting with heart and intrigue.
Look, you can hate me for this if you want, but I've never seen The Godfather. Nor Goodfellas. I've never seen Casino, Donnie Brasco nor Once Upon A Time In America. Even Jane Austen's Mafia! It's never interested me, grumpy men talking about cwaaffee and who they're going to pop. I'm sure they're very good, but until they feature dinosaurs or spaceships, I will continue to disgust you. So I came to Mafia not knowing all the allusions it made, but rather appreciating them as their own story. I think it's all the better for it, as I played through ten years of the life of former taxi driver Tommy Angelo.
The tragic curve of his life, the breaking down of his personality and hopes, makes for a compelling anti-heroes journey. And yes, it has that race, but you can get past it. It's a stunning game, and a demonstration of what others could be doing with GTA as a foundation if they only had the imagination.