But in his unconventional yet illuminating and spot-on essay, Jason Mittell argues that The Wire can just as easily, if not better, be compared to the video game genre. He uses a comparison that even further illuminates why I responded so well to The Wire, likening it to an amalgam of Will Wright's simulation computer games Sim City and The Sims -- big-time favourite time-passers of mine from childhood. The attempt to capture all the little things that make a city tick particularly link it to the former game, and the focus on characters and their decisions with regard to the institutions in which they find themselves (the drug trade, police, dock workers, school teachers, city councilpersons) connect it to the latter. Furthermore, the seasons are like "replays" of a game, in that there are certain similarities in plot but with little twists that alter the game. The characters also frequently mention games (especially with regard to their different lines of work) in the show's dialogue.
At any rate, it's certainly an interesting way of viewing the show, and is a seemingly out-there comparison that has surprising merit. The essay is definitely worth a read if you've seen, or are even thinking about seeing, The Wire.