The Grand Theft Auto Philosophy
Taking a break from our regularly scheduled programming to talk about something a little bit different today. I suppose I should figure out first what is on my mind and what I want to discuss. Grand Theft Auto V is quite nice. I’ve been enjoying the game and frankly I think it would make a wonderful platform for a lot of very exciting projects. Once the game is on PC I hope that some talented folks will make some of those projects. Until then I am just left with Rockstar made and I’m not disappointed.
Grand Theft Auto does something really interesting that I think goes over the head of naysayers. That isn’t to say that you can’t not like it, if you don’t enjoy it that is entirely your right as a creature that can make decisions. But for me I think many people miss the point. Grand Theft Auto is in some ways like Jackson Pollock.
Yeah I uh, I can see it.
On the surface you see this random mess of colors. A man with some string and paint cans creating chaos from order. What you see in this painting is entirely up to you. Some people see nothing, tripe, banal attempts at post modernism (whatever that means). I personally see an overhead shot of a dirty city as seen from a sixty thousand feet or so.
When people play GTA they can decide if they want to take it for face value or if they want to explore it a little deeper. Those dystopian topics that infiltrate every facet of GTA are not so divorced from our reality. The random shootings on street corners, pickpocketing, corrupt politics, corrupt police, dead end jobs, broken families, poverty, pollution, endemic apathy, and so on.
We are only 10% away from GTA at any given time. Each new game takes us right to the edge of not where we are but where we could very well be. Are they always clever with this? No, certainly not, but nobody is perfect. The broken protagonists, the shattered spirits, the uncontrollable into the darkest depths of human depravity. These are not things we are supposed to relate to but instead things we are supposed to observe.
You take the control of someone who has gone off the deep end. Perhaps their family is so poor this seems like their only option, or maybe they are nearly psychotic from extreme drug abuse, or even just someone who has had their whole life fall apart and they can’t cope with it. You aren’t taking the reigns of a noble person or someone anyone should aspire to be. You aren’t supposed to be.
You are walking straight into the darkest depths of humanity in the middle of the day. The lights are all on, everyone is watching, and you are very much not alone. Depravity fills the radio and people walk past corpses on the street like they would common gutter trash.
The controlled chaos, the bile turned civilization, these things are all deceptively beautiful in their design. You stand atop a skyscraper and everything looks so beautiful and clean. The world seems to make sense and then your phone rings. It’s time to come down to reality where all the rats scurry.
I hear there is some controversy with the game and I can’t be bothered to read up on it. This is not a world that you should aspire to be a part of, this is not a story you should feel comfortable with, these games take you into the nastiest the world has to offer and they do so with an uncomfortable humor and ease.
That’s the entire point. At least as far as I see it. You are supposed to see how easy it is to get sucked in. You are supposed to see how nonchalant someone can make murder and torture. Because like it or not this is literally what happens to the men and women who enter the military. We are only ever 10% away from GTA, it is up to us to recognize it for what it is. To enjoy it and to learn from it, or people can choose to be offended and learn absolutely nothing from the process. The decision is up to the individual.
This scene ends up really making my point if you know what happens.
It’s not as obvious as you think without actually playing.