I'm nearly 60% through GTAV. I've come quite a long ways with Franklin, Micheal, and Trevor. Franklin is truly the least worst of the three. Micheal is horrible, stuck with a horrible family, but slowly realizes his mistakes. And Trevor, well. Trevor is what everyone says. He's an amalgamation of every psychopath in the GTA universe. He's too much of an extreme caricature to hate completely. It's the nuggets of humanity that are most striking to me. His reunion with not just Micheal but with his children who considered him an uncle. The way he always upholds his personal code of chivalry towards women. His own unique way of connecting to people who can relate to. Trevor is probably going to be Rockstar's highlight character for years to come.
It was really striking when I reached everyone's favorite torture scene spoilers.
Yes, Trevor partakes in some torture. He has several implements of horror, including an option to fucking waterboard his victim. At one point I decided to go with the car battery but tried sparking them several times in front of him. "Com'on! Talk! Look at these fucking sparks! Just talk before I put these on your nipples!"
I wasn't as effected as most other people writing editorials were. Perhaps I've truly been desensitized. On the other hand, Farcry 3's torture scene made me uncomfortable. That was a testament of making the player feel uncomfortable. But the real thing that stood out to me was after the torture where the FIB agent orders Trevor to dispose of your victim. Trevor actually goes out of his way to take him to the airport so he can lie low abroad. Despite the man barely being able to walk and protesting that he just wants to see his family, all things that would have set Trevor off, he calmly outlines in his redneck conspiracy that he needs to become one of the invisible people. That after dealing with the FIB, he can't go home. Trevor explains that he's actually against torture, at least in a traditional sense. Being Trevor, he has no problem with torture for torture's sake (probably in some sick fetish kind of way). But he oppose's torture as a method to extract information and as a tool.
So that ends the spoilers on pretty much one whole mission involving Trevor. I've scoured the GTA wiki for reading material and it constantly points out that none of the protagonists, even Trevor, is a true psychopath. Because that would mean they don't care about anyone. Trevor is close but he has tenuous friendship with Micheal, genuinely likes Franklin, and connects with all sorts of people in similar predicaments and states of mind.
In addition to the torture controversy, there's the issue of the lack of a good female character. But I was listening to Video Game Apocalypse recently and this talking point came up. This issue baffles me and finally VGA explained in a way that lined up with my thinking. Yes, GTAV not having a female protagonist or even supporting character is certainly a missed opportunity. But it's not exactly the game's fault per se. The issue of good female characters is something to be examined in trends, not examples. GTAV certainly attracted the issue by being GTA, one of the largest gaming events to come every generation. But since when was it Rockstar's responsibility to create progressive characters? I'm not saying they shouldn't have because that's the thing about trends. In order to break the trend, there have to be pioneers. Rockstar's built their games upon a very specific image though. They take cues from dudebro movies and action-adventure themes.
Despite GTAV being a great game, it's still a long running game with very set ideas. Hell, I'm pretty sure Jim describes both the game itself and the protagonists as being old dogs finding ways to come out on top, which is certainly a theme. Micheal has a past of crime but tries in vain to move on with his new family. And Trevor is part of that past and won't let go. And GTAV, the game, is still the criminal action-drama it always has been. And somehow all these items come together and find one more big score to make it big despite their problems and faults.
Like I said, trends, not examples. Someone is going to have to do something eventually to break the trend but did we seriously expect something new from GTA?
I'm just gonna go back and steal a tank. Stealing a jet, believe it or not, is actually easier. At least it has getaway speed. But while a tank has power, it can't get away. And I've been trying to stash it away in a hangar I bought with my beaucoup bucks. Then, with my recent purchase in a scrapyard that pays me $150 for every car that wrecks in San Andreas, well, you can guess what I want to try doing now.
No matter what the experience was or which game or genre left that strong first impression, such experiences have the potential to open our eyes to the rich history of a series or genre. With any luck, we might find even more to love or something better. A great first experience with RPGs could lead to an undying love affair.
Sometimes a first kiss can be so impactful that the game gets placed on a pedestal and enshrined as a gold standard, which has its own pros and cons. I mean, it is nice to have a basis for comparison, but some folks take it too far. There are people who loved Half-Life, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, or Final Fantasy VII so much that nothing after them really got a fair shake.
So first impressions matter -- they can shape and inform our gaming habits. I grew up on arcades, Nintendo, handhelds, and eventually into RPGs, so much of what I play will be influenced by how I acquired my tastes. I probably like Overwatch a ton because it has a passion for RPG roles, but contextualizes them closer to older shooters focused on objectives more than gear builds and grinding out perks for better killstreaks.
So for this month's Bloggers Wanted, we'd like you head over to the community blogs write about your first kiss, the games that positively influenced you or maybe biased you a little too much for a time. What turned you on to a series or genre? Was it love at first sight? Did it set any expectations in stone or possibly lead you to something better?
Whatever the case might be, remember to use the title "First kiss" and place "Bloggers Wanted" in the tags!
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