And the ďSilliest Post Title of the YearĒ Award goes toÖ
In all honesty, I canít think of a more appropriate title for a post.† I consider myself a gamer of some degree of -- for lack of a better term -- ďhardcore-itudeĒ, but Iíll be the first to admit that there are gaps in my skill and knowledge.† That said, I do have Grand Theft Auto V
in my possession (as I should, because I exist), and while I havenít gotten around to playing it yet, my brother has.† And from what Iíve seen, it looks like a pretty cool game.† Playing as this fabled creature the Elders call ďTrevorĒ looks like it will quite literally be a blast.
But that puts me in a bit of a bind.†
To date -- and excluding GTA5
, if only temporarily -- Iíve played three other installments in the franchise: GTA3, San Andreas,
.† And to date, neither I nor my brother (the completionist between the two of us) ever managed to see the end credits.† Heís tried remarkably hard, though, to the point where he repeatedly deleted and reinstalled GTA4
while simultaneously swearing to finish itÖthough as fate would have it, he always got stuck on the same mission and lost interest shortly after.† Conversely, I donít think Iíve ever gotten past the first hourís worth of story in any of the games.† In fact, thereís a pretty good chance that across three games Iíve only seen an hourís worth of narrative.† Thatís not to say Iíve never played the games; on the contrary, Iíve played my fair share of them (with San Andreas
probably holding me captive the longest).
You can probably guess what that means I did.
Hereís how pretty much every session with San Andreas
started for me.† First, Iíd find a motorcycle and steal it.† Next, Iíd drive over to the downtown area and find a certain building -- one of a very few you could enter, but one that you could enter while riding atop a motorcycle.† Then, when I appeared on the rooftop of the building (or skyscraper, if you prefer), I drove off at top speed and did some sweet flips while the world blurred around me.† If I got lucky, I survived, and even landed safely wheels-first on the street below.† If I didnít, then the only thing I lost were a few precious moments of easily-restored life.† (Side note: more often than not I found myself flinging Carl Johnson off that same building -- with or without parachute -- just to hear him shout lovable lines like ďI hate gravity!Ē† Bonus points for CJ if he actually survived the fall.)†
And after that?† It was just an hour or two of me goofing off.† Career highlights: 1) finding a plane and taking off so I could skydive face-first into a poolÖunsuccessfully.† 2) Inexplicably driving into a river -- and the same river, no less -- while trying to go anywhere to do anything.† 3) Punching out the Ballas, AKA the scum of the earth.† 4) Punching out other people, because as you know punching = manliness.† 5) Flying around on a jetpack.† 6) Singing along with Faith No Moreís ďMidlife CrisisĒ while engaging in the occasional strut about town.† 7) Trying to steal a tank.† 8) Trying to raise my wanted level high enough to steal a tank.† 9) Using the tankís blasts to propel myself down a road several times faster than the average car.† 10) Dying spectacularly.
IímÖnot wholly convinced that Iíve been playing GTA
Iím not wholly convinced, but Iím not wholly dissatisfied.† I know Iíve taken shots at plenty of other games in the past, but strangely enough, GTA
has never been one of them.† Iíve never gotten the full story in any of the games, but from what Iíve seen, thereís a reason why people like it beyond just being the prophesized prostitute slayer of our age.† It IS likely called a sandbox game for a reason, so maybe the fact that I can ditch the story and play for dozens of hours without getting my progress halted is entirely the point AND the draw of the franchise.† Or to put it another way, maybe the fact that Iíd rather eat the sand than play with the Tonka bulldozer in the corner is one of the franchiseís strong suits.
That all said, Iím more than a little apprehensive about starting up GTA5
.† Iím more than ready to play it like I did Skyrim
(or more appropriately, the other GTA
games), forgoing everything and everyone for my own cockamamie adventures.† But then again, if I do that, I feel like Iíll be missing out on something truly special -- cool characters, a cool story, and more.† The alternate title for the game might as well be Terrible People Doing Terrible Things
, but while lesser games have tried and failed to win me over, thereís an unmistakable sense of energy, spirit, and dare I say it charisma
that makes me think GTA
is a cut above the rest.† Thereís much that remains to be seen and proven, obviously, but at a glance it seems more than a little intriguing.† Itíd just require a level of effort that frankly, Iím not sure I have in me.† I still need to clear Dragonís Crown
-- and poor Ni no Kuni
is still waiting to be played for more than a few hoursÖ
Besides, would it really be so bad if I set aside the story?† I can YouTube anything that I want to watch, but those moment-to-moment freak accidents are ones that only I can create (and indeed, my brother constantly egged me on to play GTA
JUST to watch me find new ways to blow myself up).† So I guess Iím at an impasse.† Should I pursue the story and barrel-roll my way through whatever crazy missions the game will put me through?† Or should I go down the pure gameplay route, and create scenarios far more insane than anything the game could offer?† It feels like the ultimate battle between good and evil is raging in my soul.
So I guess the most I can do right now is refer back to the title of this post -- and its double meaning, in retrospect.† How do YOU play Grand Theft Auto
?† And by extension, how DO you play Grand Theft Auto
?† In theory, it should be all about unleashing your inner deviant, but in practice, could it mean something more?† Does it mean something more to you?† Is it the ultimate fantasy, or perhaps the ultimate stress reliever?† What is Grand Theft Auto
, and why the hell is it so popular?
Let me know what you think in the comments.† Hopefully itíll give me a fresh perspective on what these games mean to others, and how I can use that for my own purposes.† In the meantime, Iíll start laying plans for my own GTA
adventuresÖstarting with finding a way to ride a motorcycle atop a speeding train.
ÖI saw it in a movie once.† And by movie I mean I might have made it up right just now.