Love and Hate in Los Santos

I am loathe to write about Grand Theft Auto V, and yet here it is Wednesday morning, and I am on a deadline, and I know I’m going to have to write about it because it’s the only thing my brain is going to let me talk about until I excise these opinions. It’s like when my four-year-old asks for dessert before he’s finished his brussel sprouts. It’s just not going to happen, pal.

Well, writing about Grand Theft Auto V is eating my brussel sprouts, so let’s just get through this with minimum pain.

The other thing I know is that before I get to the opinions part, I need to write a review of GTA 5, because until you’ve written one of those, a subset of readers will assume any comment is a review. So, let’s get that out of the way too.

Grand Theft Auto V – Review

GTA 5 is perhaps the most expensive game ever made, and the sheer magnitude of the accomplishment delivered by Rockstar cannot be understated. It delivers again and again with next-generation graphics on an Xbox 360/PS3, clean and easy to use mechanics, a complicated and engaging narrative, and, above all else, a dense, living world with endless things to do. It’s the kind of game you could spend weeks or months with and still feel like you haven’t seen everything, even exceeding games like Skyrim in the breadth and depth of its world.
Objectively, the game not only delivers on the core of what defines the Grand Theft Auto series, it is arguably as much an evolution of the open-world gameplay model as GTA 3 was when it launched on the PlayStation. It’s like watching a bumble bee fly; you wonder how it doesn’t collapse under its own weight, how the Rockstar team didn’t succumb to simply losing themselves or their direction under the tangled web of game systems, and yet there it is, flying like an insult to God, defying every rule you thought you knew.

In short, as a video game and a technological achievement, GTA 5 is brilliant.

Score: 300 stolen cars out of a downtown parking lot.

Thus endeth the review.

I hate GTA 5.

Or maybe I hate being impressed by GTA 5. Or maybe I like GTA 5 the game, and hate GTA 5 the racist, misogynist, foul-tempered, inconsistent, paranoid-schizophrenic psychopath. Honestly, I’m not sure. All I know for sure is that playing GTA 5 is like eating a jalapeño-bacon double-cheeseburger three months after having heart surgery. It’s so good while you’re doing it, but you know it’s just terrible for you and that if you die from it you have no one to blame but yourself.

Well, maybe it’s not exactly like that either, but you get the idea.

Grand Theft Auto V is like reading a Mario Puzo novel, except that it’s been rewritten by one of the random people I’ve played Call of Duty against on Xbox Live. It’s like hanging out with the family you love, except you got stuck sitting next to the uncle that loves to lower his voice and start his sentences with, “I’m not racist, but … .” It’s like hanging out with your best friend, except that just recently he’s gotten interested in politics without also getting interested in having any education on political issues.

The game is a monument to itself, a stubborn stereotype with its heels dug in deep. It’s the annoying “bad guy” on reality television that has realized the only way it’s going to get noticed is by being the unapologetic yet vaguely charismatic jerk that the promo announcer can call “the guy all of America looooves to hate!” It is, in other words, the videogame equivalent of Simon Cowell, a successful and clearly intelligent creature obsessed with its own image and motivated exclusively by its ego and impenetrable illusion of self-accomplishment.

Yes, in part this is about the stupid, childish and completely unnecessary way the game treats women. The sloppy and hollow way the female characters of GTA 5 are written are all the more inexcusable because of Red Dead Redemption, which stands in stark contrast. It’s also in part because it is willfully violent, and gleefully bathes in the blood of the insignificant chattel of stereotypes that make up the population of Los Santos.

But I’m not looking to be a white knight here or a prude. While I agree entirely with the criticisms laid at Rockstar’s feet for apparently willfully playing not just to the lowest common denominator, but perpetuating stereotypes that have practical and measurably negative impacts, my actual complaint here is that by doing so they are just continuing to play into the self-obsessed cult of themselves to which they clearly have a dogmatic allegiance. In other words, it’s not that they are portraying violence, racism, sexism or other societal ills. It’s that they’re doing it in the laziest most meaningless ways possible.

If you want to tell a story about one of those isms, then by all means do so. But give it some kind of substance. For all the work GTA5 does in telling a reasonable story of its main characters, it constantly undermines itself by abandoning that clever storytelling when the opportunity comes to make a woman or a middle-eastern man look ridiculous. It’s like the game stops every few minutes or so to say, “hang on, I’ll get back to the story in a sec, but check out this chick over here. What a bitch, amirite?”

No. You’re not.

I’m sure, that some of the decision makers around GTA 5 love articles and opinions just like this one. First of all, with more than a billion in sales, the perfect response to criticism like this is, “I can’t hear you over the deafening sound of people buying, playing and loving our game.” And that’s fine, because I don’t expect you to change. This isn’t about you, it’s actually about me.

You see, I really enjoy playing Grand Theft Auto V — the game itself, I mean. Like I said at the beginning, it’s a brilliant game, and in many ways a testament to how immersive and complex a game world can be. It’s a thing that you want to be able to point to and show off as an accomplishment. But then the next moment, GTA 5 opens its mouth and something newly ignorant, embarrassing and stupid comes pouring out.

And like that uncle at the dinner party, the game always tries to hide its offensiveness under a patina of parody or self-righteousness, but it doesn't work. Instead of being deep or complex it sounds instead like Uwe Boll’s pitch for a Postal 2 movie. It’s like they think they’re the first guy to come up with the idea of getting to tell racist or sexist jokes under the guise of using the jokes themselves as a commentary against ignorance or inequality. The I’ll-tell-the-most-racist-joke-to-show-how-wrong-racism-is idea has long since been exposed as disingenuous, or at least counterproductive .

Look, I get it. I’m a forty-year-old man with a wife and two kids, and worse than that, I’ve got all these annoying ideologies about social change in and out of the games industry, desiring things to be more inclusive and to tone down the unnecessarily divisive rhetoric. It’s all very annoyingly liberal-agenda-nonsense to a lot of people, and if you bristle against that kind of bleeding-heart naïveté, then this definitely isn’t going to resonate with you. I mean, I think one of the best games of the year is Gone Home, so who the hell am I to be critiquing GTA 5? For Chrissake, I feed my kids brussel sprouts; that’s really all you need to know, right there.

It’s ok, because I’ve already lost. The market has clearly spoken, and my grousing about GTA 5 being a cultural step backwards has been considered and summarily dismissed. The verdict is already in, and all I’ve got left is some sour grapes and self-imposed white/male guilt. And, in the end, I think that may be why I hate GTA 5 so much.

Because it won.

Comments

Brilliant.

The GTA series is just aggressively mediocre, except in the realm of technical achievement and offensive stupidity. I've never been able to figure out why they're so popular, or maybe I just don't want to believe that's what sells. Either way, I've never really enjoyed one.

What little enjoyment I can get out of a GTA game, Saints Row gives me in spades. I don't really see the point other than "we all have to keep talking about it because it makes so much money"

It’s ok, because I’ve already lost. The market has clearly spoken, and my grousing about GTA 5 being a cultural step backwards has been considered and summarily dismissed. The verdict is already in, and all I’ve got left is some sour grapes and self-imposed white/male guilt. And, in the end, I think that may be why I hate GTA 5 so much.

Because it won.

And this is pretty much why I won't be playing it. And I'm really fine with it. I've just come to accept I'm not the mid-line gamer.

I think in some ways, GTA V shares similar problems to Gone Home but obviously on a very different scale and on very different subject matter. The main reason I'm on record for thinking Gone Home is overrated (though still quite good) is that aside from having almost no game play mechanics (which I don't mind because it was pitched that way from the get go) is that in my opinion, it delivers its story (and the social message contained within) with all the subtlety of getting hit in the head with a brick.

There's nothing wrong with Gone Home's story (though it's pretty unoriginal) or the message (one I wholly agree with.). But even without the direct storytelling of the diaries/audio logs, the environment alone made it very clear what the base ideas and conflicts were. I knew everything the game was about well before it thought it had revealed the key points to me and ultimately, I was let down in the end because while the story was touching and well told, there was no big reveal or twist, I knew what was going to happen and it happened. Brothers did emotional storytelling with unexpected elements in a far better way in my opinion but that's for another discussion.

GTA V suffers from the same problem. Someone (I think on Weekend Confirmed) said something akin to "the Housers clearly hate North American culture" and I think that's 100% true. The problem is, they're not able to express this with any subtlety or originality whatsoever. The TV, the news broadcasts, the radio DJs, the ambient characters, it's all a caricature and criticism of North American culture. Like Gone Home, I completely agree with the message but it feels like GTA V is constantly shoving it in your face with no nuance whatsoever because they're scared you'll "miss the message" if your face isn't rubbed in it constantly. "Hey, listen! This stuff is so stupid, right? Have you realised it's stupid yet?! HAVE YOU SEEN THE STUPIDITY OF IT?!"

I've always loved the GTA games as worlds and for their mechanics and I'm loving playing GTA V for that same reason. But the message they're trying to deliver is being done in such a brash and rude fashion that it's gone from parody to just being rude and obnoxious. The best parody is the one that makes you laugh in agreement, not roll your eyes as you would to some talking head on cable news or AM radio. And at some point, making horribly racist and misogynist jokes in the volume this game does goes from just making fun to enjoying it a bit too much. I'm still going through the story but I find myself shaking my head more and more as I get further in.

GTA V obviously does this on a much wider scale because well, it's a much bigger game. But I've found it fascinating to see people laud Gone Home's story while hating GTA V's because while GTA V is obviously conveying a much ruder, grosser, not-at-all heartwarming message, it's still doing it in just as forceful and I would dare say, lazy way.

I still liked Gone Home but it won't be on my top 10 this year whereas GTA V almost assuredly will be, simply because while they suffer from the same storytelling issues, GTA V has a massive sandbox to do other things in while completely ignoring the story if you want. Gone Home simply has its story and as someone who is into games for game play first, that makes my choice easy. But that's just me.

GTA V obviously does this on a much wider scale because well, it's a much bigger game. But I've found it fascinating to see people laud Gone Home's story while hating GTA V's because while GTA V is obviously conveying a much ruder, grosser, not-at-all heartwarming message, it's still doing it in just as forceful and I would dare say, lazy way.

This is a really interesting take, and I can see where you're coming from. I have to admit that part of the reason I might be far more in love with Gone Home is simply that, even though it is being heavy handed, I just like its message more. I mean, that's a totally biased way to look at it, to forgive/overlook/ignore the thing you love for doing the same things as the thing you hate, but we do it all the time. I'm just going to cop to it.

I don't know that I totally agree with your take on Gone Home's story telling, but I do see where you're coming from.

I picked GTAV up and didn't play it for about a week because life got in the way. I'm now ploughing hours in whenever I can despite feeling off about a lot in the game and I don't really know why. Actually now I do, you pretty much summed it all up right there Elysium.

I think I'll sink plenty more hours in, if not just so I have something to talk about with my meatspace gaming friends who for various reasons don't pay attention to my recommendations of Gone Home, Bioshock Infinite, The Last of Us, Brothers etc.

Geez what a mopey post. Sorry guys.

Anyway, now I can feel bad for playing it I guess. Ugh.

You could fix just about all of GTAVs story problems if the Franklin Character were a hispanic woman trying to work her way out of the hood and if there were some actually sympathetic portrayals of women.

(also it is kind of weird how "absent" women are in the character's lives)

I usually drop what I'm doing to play the monster budget games that only come out every so often. This is (finally) the first time I didn't. When I looked into the game a bit and realized it was basically the same 'watch cutscene, drive to location, fight people, flee police' formula that its always been, I fought the urge to 'be a part of the conversation' and I rented The Wonderful 101 instead.

Which is an awesome game, by the way.

Elysium wrote:
GTA V obviously does this on a much wider scale because well, it's a much bigger game. But I've found it fascinating to see people laud Gone Home's story while hating GTA V's because while GTA V is obviously conveying a much ruder, grosser, not-at-all heartwarming message, it's still doing it in just as forceful and I would dare say, lazy way.

This is a really interesting take, and I can see where you're coming from. I have to admit that part of the reason I might be far more in love with Gone Home is simply that, even though it is being heavy handed, I just like its message more. I mean, that's a totally biased way to look at it, to forgive/overlook/ignore the thing you love for doing the same things as the thing you hate, but we do it all the time. I'm just going to cop to it.

I don't know that I totally agree with your take on Gone Home's story telling, but I do see where you're coming from.

That's OK, I've discovered that most don't agree but I often find myself holding contrary opinions on a lot of popular things. Gone Home was trying to reach people a certain way and if it succeeds at that much better with some, that's fantastic. It is a much better message that Gone Home delivers and being biased towards stories that make you smile rather than shake your head is perfectly fair. I definitely won't say that Gone Home didn't do that for me but Brothers made me openly bawl (and I'm someone who never cries at almost anything) and did so while I was engaged in stronger game play mechanics. And though I dislike a lot of GTA V's story, playing in that world makes up for it and then some for me. But I can tell you this: When I'm putting together my top 10 list later this year, I'll still remember Gone Home's story while I'll have probably forgotten most of GTA V's.

I think on Weekend Confirmed as well, they agreed that the level of parody becomes extremely obnoxious and loops back on itself sometimes but they did also say that if even a small percentage of the millions of people who play this game see the parody and stop to think about the culture they're living in (and possibly absorbed in), maybe it can do some good in that regard. I think that's true but at the same time, I think being more intelligent and insightful and less brash with how the Housers deliver their parody could make that circle of potentially affected people much larger.

Maybe 7 years ago I bought a used copy of GTA III (II? Whatever it was at the time) and tried to play it. Five minutes later I was incredulous. Fifteen minutes later and I was ejecting the disk.

I frankly don't see why anyone who isn't already misogynistic and antisocial would ever want to play one of these games. I like fragging aliens as much as the next person, and I can get behind dark or adolescent humor.. but I saw none of those. I just saw mindless violence and mindless hatred, wrapped under a very very thin sheet of "It's just a game".

I agree with Sean about all of it.. except I don't understand why he gave Rockstar his money in the first place. It seems to me they're just assholes.

I can dig what you are shoveling, Sands (clever pun, Nasty - nice one, bro) - but I am really enjoying GTA5 for the same reason that I liked Dexter, Game of Thrones, and I assume people like Breaking Bad; it is a kind of fun escape to watch morally repugnant characters getting into scrapes and shenanigans. I am not one who disregards criticisms – the misogynistic bent in GTA is pretty ridiculous – but the shooting is fun and the graphics are great. I can't wait until the online portion goes live.

I played a fair amount of a borrowed copy on the PS3 and find myself nodding my head in agreement with pretty much all of the article.

My biggest disappointment is that it is a step backwards in terms of storytelling for Rockstar. Most GTA IV and RDR felt far more mature and restrained than my initial take of GTA V (missed Max Payne 3). It feels intentionally obtuse and I'm guessing given the authorial intent of Dan Houser, it is.

I don't get it, it's just another game. Just tries to use more "satire" or whatever, even if it doesn't always work.

Why does GTA in particular always deserve so much criticism, because it's the most popular one? When did we start caring so much about the message that videogames delivered? It's like when Mortal Kombat came out, every parent was going crazy and we were just like "Yeah, and you can set this guy on fire with a skull guy, and..."

Is it because GTA is the most realistic-looking? Skyrim, Fallout, Borderlands, they have serious issues too, but they don't draw so much controversy...

Besides like SallyNasty says, just because you're playing it or enjoying it doesn't mean you have to agree with whatever "message" it has. I like Breaking Bad but I'm still not pro-meth dealers yet...

DanB wrote:
You could fix just about all of GTAVs story problems if the Franklin Character were a hispanic woman trying to work her way out of the hood and if there were some actually sympathetic portrayals of women.

This is another complaint I don't get, everyone in GTA is a terrible person, why would it make sense to add a woman who was super cool and perfect compared to the other (murderer, bank robber, hoodlum) guys?

It's criticizing the Hollywood summer blockbuster of games... It's just not going to turn into an indie swedish drama or something : P

edit: One more thing that stands out - the game is that you're constantly killing, running over people, kidnapping, robbing places, and in general being a horrible psychotic human in these games, but people complain about the message in the "story", and that there's not a woman to play with, etc... But the game is ok to play, it's fun driving over people and cliffs and evading cops!

PyromanFO wrote:
What little enjoyment I can get out of a GTA game, Saints Row gives me in spades. I don't really see the point other than "we all have to keep talking about it because it makes so much money"

+1

Couldn't agree more.

I think, for me, the twinge of disappointment comes from the fact that it's not "just another game". This game may be the most expensive ever, the most hyped ever, and (as Sean hinted) THE most technologically advanced example of open-world game systems ever created. The artistic and programming accomplishment behind Los Santos is simply staggering.

As such, it's hard for me not to wish the storytelling was just as staggering. That this game could be "THE ONE" that could stand alongside "The Brothers Karamazov", Bach's "St. Matthew Passion" or "The Godfather" or any other towering artistic achievement in any other medium to prove that games are just as important.

It may be an impossible dream for any video game, let alone one aiming to be a billion dollar blockbuster, but I'm not convinced it won't happen some day. There is a part of me always hoping to find the Holy Grail every time I click on the "Play" button for the first time, especially from a team of the best and brightest in the industry, like Rockstar.

I'm along the same lines at Pyroman - I'm having a ton of fun playing SR3, because it stopped taking itself seriously and aimed for fun.

The only thing I prefer from the GTA series is the "tightness" of the controls - every system feels better in GTA 4 than it does in SR3 - driving, shooting, flying, walking, etc.

When it comes to GTA 5, I'd rather see a game like RDR in the GTA world - heavy story, great characters, and great systems melded into a single game. But instead, we get a game with great technological achievements, and horrible story (judging by all the reviews I've seen that are similar to Elysium's take on the game).

I'll just wait till this is down to $10 to dabble in it, and in the meantime focus on that giant pile I've built up.

Mex wrote:
DanB wrote:
You could fix just about all of GTAVs story problems if the Franklin Character were a hispanic woman trying to work her way out of the hood and if there were some actually sympathetic portrayals of women.

This is another complaint I don't get, everyone in GTA is a terrible person, why would it make sense to add a woman who was super cool and perfect compared to the other (murderer, bank robber, hoodlum) guys?

Well this is an odd false equivalence, there's no desire that characters need be "super cool & perfect" in order for their portrayal to illicit sympathy or empathy from the audience. Franklin gets a somewhat sympathetic portrayal, you're invited to empathise with his struggle to get out of the hood and his exasperation with his "friends". Literally no reason that character could not be female. Generally women are either strippers or screeching harridans.

chaosmos wrote:

As such, it's hard for me not to wish the storytelling was just as staggering. That this game could be "THE ONE" that could stand alongside "The Brothers Karamazov", Bach's "St. Matthew Passion" or "The Godfather" or any other towering artistic achievement in any other medium to prove that games are just as important.

McIrishJihad wrote:

When it comes to GTA 5, I'd rather see a game like RDR in the GTA world - heavy story, great characters, and great systems melded into a single game. But instead, we get a game with great technological achievements, and horrible story (judging by all the reviews I've seen that are similar to Elysium's take on the game).

Ok this is the problem right here - you guys expect a serious game, an artistic masterpiece, but I don't know where this is coming from, because GTAV is trying to be "funny" and "satirical" for 18-25 year olds, not The Brothers Karamazov. It's a franchise where hookers give you health. It always has been.

I mean if you expect GTA of all game franchises to deliver "Towering artistic achievement", I don't even know what to tell you.

Mex wrote:
chaosmos wrote:

As such, it's hard for me not to wish the storytelling was just as staggering. That this game could be "THE ONE" that could stand alongside "The Brothers Karamazov", Bach's "St. Matthew Passion" or "The Godfather" or any other towering artistic achievement in any other medium to prove that games are just as important.

McIrishJihad wrote:

When it comes to GTA 5, I'd rather see a game like RDR in the GTA world - heavy story, great characters, and great systems melded into a single game. But instead, we get a game with great technological achievements, and horrible story (judging by all the reviews I've seen that are similar to Elysium's take on the game).

Ok this is the problem right here - you guys expect a serious game, an artistic masterpiece, but I don't know where this is coming from, because GTAV is trying to be "funny" and "satirical" for 18-25 year olds, not The Brothers Karamazov. It's a franchise where hookers give you health. It always has been.

I mean if you expect GTA of all game franchises to deliver "Towering artistic achievement", I don't even know what to tell you.

But GTA IV toyed with this. There were lots of themes in Liberty City about the cycle of violence and revenge. The plot contained interesting female characters. Yes - there was still lots of frat boy humor but the game made progress. It's odd to see them move so far backwards.

Mex wrote:

McIrishJihad wrote:

When it comes to GTA 5, I'd rather see a game like RDR in the GTA world - heavy story, great characters, and great systems melded into a single game. But instead, we get a game with great technological achievements, and horrible story (judging by all the reviews I've seen that are similar to Elysium's take on the game).

Ok this is the problem right here - you guys expect a serious game, an artistic masterpiece, but I don't know where this is coming from, because GTAV is trying to be "funny" and "satirical" for 18-25 year olds, not The Brothers Karamazov. It's a franchise where hookers give you health. It always has been.

I mean if you expect GTA of all game franchises to deliver "Towering artistic achievement", I don't even know what to tell you.

Why couldn't they deliver what McIrishJihad is asking for? Or can GTA only be successful if it continues doing what it has always done in terms of story? I'm well outside of the 18-25 year old market that you refer to so this game probably isn't marketed to me (although with the newspaper/TV/magazine ads everywhere, that really isn't true--I saw plenty of marketing) but I'm just wondering why Rockstar couldn't have done something closer to RDR in a GTA world.

Mex wrote:
chaosmos wrote:

As such, it's hard for me not to wish the storytelling was just as staggering. That this game could be "THE ONE" that could stand alongside "The Brothers Karamazov", Bach's "St. Matthew Passion" or "The Godfather" or any other towering artistic achievement in any other medium to prove that games are just as important.

McIrishJihad wrote:

When it comes to GTA 5, I'd rather see a game like RDR in the GTA world - heavy story, great characters, and great systems melded into a single game. But instead, we get a game with great technological achievements, and horrible story (judging by all the reviews I've seen that are similar to Elysium's take on the game).

Ok this is the problem right here - you guys expect a serious game, an artistic masterpiece, but I don't know where this is coming from, because GTAV is trying to be "funny" and "satirical" for 18-25 year olds, not The Brothers Karamazov. It's a franchise where hookers give you health. It always has been.

I mean if you expect GTA of all game franchises to deliver "Towering artistic achievement", I don't even know what to tell you.

Well, I'm not hankering to rehash the old "games as art" argument, but...

A "towering artistic achievement" can't include satire and/or crime drama? Why not? Great stories and art are not always serious. There is a place for humor, for violence, even dick jokes.

And of course, art is very subjective. Just talking about my own personal hopes and dreams for the medium of video games, and subsequent letdown.

I'm pretty sure I'm a feminist, for some values of the word. I don't think I'm antisocial. I love GTA V, and I think it's incredibly fun -- the first heist alone is the best time I've had in a videogame all year.

In a sense, that's what being an adult gamer means to me: I can play a game and enjoy it without needing to assign Deep Meaning to it. I don't need GTA V to break from its tone to show me that its characters are vile, or that sometimes minorities struggling to break from socioeconomic chains can present a story that pulls at the heartstrings of me, a middle-class dude working in a land of privilege. I'm cool with, "here's a game about (A) pretty crap characters, and (B) well-written satire, including a satirical view of you, the gamer, who is interacting with this environment".

I don't understand the hand-wringing.

walterqchocobo wrote:

Why couldn't they deliver what McIrishJihad is asking for? Or can GTA only be successful if it continues doing what it has always done in terms of story? I'm well outside of the 18-25 year old market that you refer to so this game probably isn't marketed to me (although with the newspaper/TV/magazine ads everywhere, that really isn't true--I saw plenty of marketing) but I'm just wondering why Rockstar couldn't have done something closer to RDR in a GTA world.


What website am I on? What's going on?

Err, yes, GTA is successful because it panders to the lowest common denominator, and if you suddenly change anything from the formula they might lose hundreds of millions of dollars, so they're certainly not going to go "Gone Home" on you.

Like asking Justin Bieber to make Quadrophenia or The White Album - it's just not in his demographic, not in his DNA, not going to happen, so don't be disappointed that just because you listen to music, and he happens to make music and be the most popular artist, that he's not making the stuff you like.

TheHipGamer wrote:
I'm pretty sure I'm a feminist, for some values of the word. I don't think I'm antisocial. I love GTA V, and I think it's incredibly fun -- the first heist alone is the best time I've had in a videogame all year.

In a sense, that's what being an adult gamer means to me: I can play a game and enjoy it without needing to assign Deep Meaning to it. I don't need GTA V to break from its tone to show me that its characters are vile, or that sometimes minorities struggling to break from socioeconomic chains can present a story that pulls at the heartstrings of me, a middle-class dude working in a land of privilege. I'm cool with, "here's a game about (A) pretty crap characters, and (B) well-written satire, including a satirical view of you, the gamer, who is interacting with this environment".

I don't understand the hand-wringing.

THANK YOU

Well put, Hip.

I don't understand the hand-wringing.
I can put my stance much simpler, it's a thing that I do not enjoy because of several glaring flaws that would be easy to fix. I would normally not care, but it's the most popular video game ever made. So instead, it kind of just bums me out.

I normally write things like this down to "It's not for me, that's okay". However, when contemplating who GTA V is for you're left with either people who can ignore all it's glaring flaws or people who love those flaws (sexism, racism, misogyny, mediocre gameplay, etc.).

The sum total of that little venn diagram is a ridiculous amount of people. How many people belong in which group is not something I really want to think about for too long.

Mex wrote:
Err, yes, GTA is successful because it panders to the lowest common denominator, and if you suddenly change anything from the formula they might lose hundreds of millions of dollars, so they're certainly not going to go "Gone Home" on you.

Certainly but there is a middle ground. And as GTA IV started to toe that line, it's surprising/frustrating/disappointing that they've stepped so far back from it the sequel.

PyromanFO wrote:
I don't understand the hand-wringing.
I can put my stance much simpler, it's a thing that I do not enjoy because of several glaring flaws that would be easy to fix. I would normally not care, but it's the most popular video game ever made. So instead, it kind of just bums me out.

I normally write things like this down to "It's not for me, that's okay". However, when contemplating who GTA V is for you're left with either people who can ignore all it's glaring flaws or people who love those flaws (sexism, racism, misogyny, mediocre gameplay, etc.).

The sum total of that little venn diagram is a ridiculous amount of people. How many people belong in which group is not something I really want to think about for too long.

This skirts dangerously close to "you're wrong for enjoying this", and that's not generally something we do. Taking it out of the abstract: I like GTA V, and it doesn't mean that I'm ignoring or in love with a laundry list of perceived negative traits.

We don't need to go down the route of associating playing videogames with character traits -- that's a path that leads to Jack Thompson, and that guy's a dick.

I don't think the story is horrible. I think it's some of the best, most subversive, most self aware writing in a video game. And I am not the only one.

I have never played a GTA game before. My curiosity is piqued - I kinda want to see what's what. But I won't because I suspect that the themes aren't interesting to me at all, and that these -isms littered throughout it will sour whatever redeeming experience I'd have enjoying the apparently audacious architecture part of the system.

I have maybe an hour a week I can play games, and with things like Skyrim, Gone Home, Brothers, Dishonored and more on my plate, I can't seem to justify ever experiencing a GTA, never mind giving them my money just to put it on the pile.

All this to say that I really like Sean's article - so much so that for the first time I wanted to actually check out a GTA game.