Thursday, January 30, 2014

Grand Theft Auto

My new roommate brought a bigger TV, and with it, the new Grand Theft Auto.

Eventually this is going to be a big problem.

I suck at overly realistic open sandboxes but I love this game. I love it like a priest loves alter boys, which is to say, for all the wrong reasons. You know all the warnings parents give their kids about violent videogames instilling bad behavior, anti-social tendencies, a violent disposition and all that other bullshit that Penn and Teller disproved? Well unfortunately, when it comes to GTA, and only to GTA, they definitely apply to me.

Let me repeat, I suck at this game, suck at it but rather than correct this, like I do when I'm roleplaying literally anything else, I revel in my unbridled recklessness.  I have the option to punch out a hooker? Great. I can crash a car into a helicopter off a 50 story building? Bring it on? Kill a random pedestrian with a drive by purple dildo beating while listening to Christian talk show parodies over my stolen Volkswagen's radio? It's a date, man. It's a date.

While the game definitely encourages this kind of behavior, I still feel weird about it because in between it I'm supposed to be doing missions and learning about the (very well written) stories and world. That's usually what I love about videogames in fact. They reward your efforts to beat them with some truly beautiful writing in an incredibly versatile medium. Usually my Dramatic Literature boner is at full mast. But for some reason with GTA I don't give a shit. It's like if someone gave me escargot, and rather than eat it I choose to put it down the waiter's pants. Sure it's fun, but I feel like I'm disrespecting the effort gone in to make the meal.

I think it's because GTA is a very good simulator of what it's like to be a scoicipath, or at least how I imagine sociopathy works. The people in the world around you respond within what's expected, but you don't see them as people even when there are truly moving 'scenes'. It also encourages you to be a reckless sociopath due to the sheer amount of weapons. And prostitutes. And incredibly steal-able cars.

I dunno. I'm probably worrying for nothing. Maybe I'm just being a snobby gamer with my notion that the  'correct' play style is one  in which roleplaying must be done in character and to the benefit of the story. I probably should just enjoy myself.

Besides I heard this one is based off of LA and I want an excuse to blast The Game (a west coast rapper for you squares) while shouting NIGGUH NIGGUH COMPTON.

But let's be real, though. I occasionally do that anyway when I think no one's looking.


  1. A problem with the cultural elite is that we often overthink things. Enjoy the game for what it is. When Thamer spent hours planning the game at my place it originally bothered me that he could could dive like shit and get away with it. I was concerned he was developing bad virtual driving skills that would map to the real world when he learns to drive. Yeah right. I got over myself. Remember, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  2. I firmly believe it is OK to fantasize about things you would never actually do, perhaps because they are illegal or immoral or both.

    I firmly believe it is OK to role-play activities you would never do in real life.

    We think of ourselves as unitary beings, but our bodies and brains are actually associations of competing interests. It is OK to allow parts of your bodies and brains to play, while the core remains in control of the important stuff. It helps your self to better get along with yourself if you are more accepting and permissive of the parts you don't fully control.