Is Grand Theft Auto IV The Greatest Writing of the Century?

Chicago Tribune: "Books let us imagine the impossible. Movies let us see the impossible.

Video games let us do the impossible.

By becoming the fastest-selling entertainment product ever in April with $500 million in first-week sales, "Grand Theft Auto IV" has boosted games' cultural relevance-even "Saturday Night Live" poked fun at the game-and has put the medium closer to what one academic calls "the literature of the 21st Century."

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Liquid Snake3406d ago (Edited 3406d ago )

Vice City and San Andreas are better.

Even Kirby Superstar Ultra had a better story than GTA4.

Agreed with jkhan below me. MGS series and God of War series FTW. I must be the only PS2 owner who has never played Shadow of Collosus and ICO.

Max Payne 1 + 2 gets a nomination from me.

Chris3993405d ago (Edited 3405d ago )

There are a few examples that have broken the mold - Heavenly Sword, Uncharted, Bioshock, Shadow of the Colossus, MGS, GOW, Half-Life, Lost Odyssey (a bit run-of-the -mill, but the characterization was good and consistent for an 80 hour game).

And the sad thing is, gamers don't really seem to care. We focus on graphics, game-play and control, which while all are important elements of gaming, should accompany a strong narrative.

It doesn't all have to be "high-brow", I enjoy a run and gun as much as the next fellah; but I get tremendously excited when I see games that push the boundaries of art/ entertainment.

js_mac3405d ago

Ditto about Ico and SOTC. They're getting harder to get hold of now too and are pretty much the same price as a new 360/PS3 game.


totally, totally agree with you chris, bubble to you.

it is really sad that gamers don't care about the story in most games.

I have posted loads of times about games i didn't like because of the story not being good and i always get replies back saying " who cares about the story anyway " or " we don't play games for the story " etc.

I always try and reply back explaining why story is important and i just get told i must be some kind of sad person to care about the story in a game.

it is sad, but it explains why so many games have bad stories, the devs know we don't care, or most don't care so they just push out the crap.

GTA 4 could have been a great story, but it just didn't pan out right in the end. i do think vice-city and san had better stories.

as far as games go, Half life is one of my personal best stories told. I liked the story in Halo CE, but didn't like the way it turned out in 2 and 3. I also thought Dead space had a great story and i am looking forward to what they do with that. I love the story in MGS, but i didn't like the way snake came across in MGS 4 especially.

anyway, bubble to you Chris.

lordgodalming3405d ago (Edited 3405d ago )

I'll climb onto the horse as well, seconding the MGS series, the Half-Life series, and Bioshock as more recent examples of good writing. As someone fortunate enough to own both SotC and Ico, I'm a little confused about the claims that those games have good writing; I love those games to death, but the story's are purposely sparse, and there's almost no dialogue. But forget those classics. To my way of thinking, Ratchet and Clank and Uncharted had better writing and pacing than GTAIV.

The GTA series are games, but if they were novels, they'd be Tom Wolfe rather than Elmore Leonard, if you catch my meaning. Twilight rather than Harry Potter. No matter what, calling GTA the "greatest writing of the century" spits in the faces of a lot of talented writers of video games, movies, and books. Popular does not necessarily equal great.

Edit: @Below--great article. Thanks for posting the link. +bub

js_mac3405d ago

It's written by Junot Diaz, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, MIT professor - and gamer - about Grand Theft Auto 4's story.

Danja3405d ago

Vice City so far has had the best story in the GTA series....and my fave..

Sircolby453405d ago

Whenever you say games with great stories GTA IV never even crosses my mind. The fact that someone would say GTA has one of the greatest stories of the century just boggles my mind.

bpac1234567893405d ago

I agree

There's no way GTA Iv can be compared to games like final fantasy x or mgs in terms of story. And To say that it's better than the Godfather is just insane. Too many journalists get caught up in the hype. they need to take a step back and really look hard at what there playing and what there about to say about a game, before they start calling it the greatest of all time.

The same thing happened for mgs4, reviewers got caught up in the hype and forgot the games that came before it. yes, in my opinion mgs4 was the best next generation game so far and deserved all the 10's it got (unlike other games), but by mgs standards it was lacking in certain areas. For example there was no boss fight that really left me in aw like The sniper fight against the End in Mgs3 or phsyco mantis in mgs1. It also wasn't as focused as the story in mgs3 (partly because it was trying to wrap up every loose piece from the last 20 years.) These things only stand out in a game as great as mgs4 but it's enough to stop it from bieng the greatest of all time.

- to me mgs3 is the greatest game of all time everything from the boss fights, to the graphics, to the story left me in aw and it was still spinning through my head days after i played it. I almost teared up when i had to shoot the boss, and she was the villain! that's how you know you have a great story.

- for a game to be truly great it has to be revolutionary and GtaIv didn't revolutionize anything it just improved on a great formula. (and detracted at some points by taking out alot of the fun, i miss flying jets and racing tanks through the streets blowing up anything in my path.)

+ Show (5) more repliesLast reply 3405d ago
jkhan3406d ago

MGS 1, 2, 3, 4, God of War 1 & 2, Shadow of Collosus, and ICO says Hi. I most probably have forgotten about a couple of games.
GTA4 had the best story in GTA series but stating it as the best writing in videogames history is fools imagination or guy hasn't played a lot of games.

js_mac3405d ago

I can understand that it's a matter of taste, but the MGS stories are ludicrously over-the-top, and, to be frank, filled with too much useless tripe. Don't get me wrong, the games are fun, but not many (if any) respectable movie critics would rate them for their story-telling.
As for GTA4; its story is good by game standards but it doesn't come close to the epic gangster movies. I would, however, rate Bioshock. After the overall lack of attention and resource-allocation throughout the industry, it dodged my main gripe with videogame storytelling: watching poorly-animated sprites trying to create drama. It doesn't work, and doesn't immerse, particularly when you have less-than-brilliant direction. Bioshock let it unfold in front of you, rather in cutscenes, which made the immersion factor that much greater. In any case, if you think GTA4 was good, watch something like Goodfellas, Casino or Godfather 1/2 to see how a crime story should be done.

lordgodalming3405d ago

" main gripe with videogame storytelling: watching poorly-animated sprites trying to create drama."

I've also seen well-animated 3D models try and fail to create drama. Writing goes a long way toward forgiving lousy or outdated graphics. I'm still impressed with the emotion and grandeur in the opera scene from FFVI on the SNES.

js_mac3405d ago (Edited 3405d ago )

My point, with my final bubble, was that all CG videogame cutscenes are unimmersive - not some. They don't envoke any real emotion from me, and never have, and are nowhere near the best (or second best) that movies offer. I don't know whether it's simply because of the CG (I do enjoy Pixar films, so perhaps not...), the undoubtedly poor scripts and directing, or just a nasty mixture of the two. Good gameplay goes a long way towards masking it (see Zelda - a plain, plain story) but that does not excuse it. Games have a long, long way to go in this department. I do, however, believe one day they will get the kick up the bum that they need.

Graphics Whore3406d ago

Words can not express the stupidity written here by restricted human language.

3406d ago Replies(2)
Timesplitter143405d ago

Yeah and McDonalds is the finest restaurant ever made.

"McDonalds" has boosted restaurants' cultural relevance-even "Saturday Night Live" poked fun at it and has put the burgers closer to what one academic calls "the gastronomy of the 21st Century."

ballsofsteel3405d ago

McDonalds is the ****!!! okay not that thats over i have to ask my self has this guy played more than just the causal favorite games like halo, gears, Resident evil and such. there are so many better stories in 2008 let alone the century

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