Here I am on a beautiful sunny day, and I'm rolling down the street in my car. A car that I stole. I'm weaving through traffic at a high rate of speed with the police hot on my trail. Why? Well that's because I committed a major crime. the crime you ask? We'll just call it murder. I took out a few citizens at the strip club. Now I need to get away before the cops bust me. What do I do? Well, let's take a deep breath, and think things out while I take Johnny Law on a ride of their lives as well as eliminating a few uniformed officers for shits and giggles. It's all in good fun. Besides, it's only a game. A really run game. A game called Grand Theft Auto.
With the release of Grand Theft Auto V on the horizon, I decided to take a moment and reflect on the series of games that I enjoyed...and at times didn't enjoy. Rockstar Games brought me into an open world full of crime, drugs, prostitution, vigilantism, rampages, and plenty of over the top gross out humor that had me laughing for hours. Sure the games were violent, but that's not what these games were all about. Grand Theft Auto is not what some media and politicians describe as "a murder simulator". No, Grand Theft Auto is a game that has a story. Sometimes it's about revenge, creating an empire, or it's about achieving the "American Dream". It's also a game where I can vent out unwanted stress from a dreadful day at work or school.
Let me share some of my GTA moments with you.
Liberty City, 2001. This is where it all began. Grand Theft Auto III introduced me to the world of the sandbox. A virtual playground where I can go wherever I wanted to go, and do whatever I wanted to do. After the opening moments, it didn't take me long to become fascinated by this new world. I explored the city, took in the sights, and became addicted to radio stations like Chatterbox and the station that played the soundtrack from Scarface. My character was silent, but my actions spoke louder than any word could describe when I wreaked havoc across the entire city. One of my favorite moments was when I learned a little trick about how picking up a hooker and taking her to a alley for a little fun would give me a much needed health boost. Then as she left I beat her with a baseball bat to get my money back. I was doing this trick, before all the magazines and the internet websites made it popular.
Grand Theft Auto III was a blast. The game did have a story about revenge, but there were plenty of times where I didn't care about the story. All I wanted to do was shoot some guns and blow some shit up. I wanted to achieve a six star wanted rating just so I can steal a tank and really have some fun. Grand Theft Auto III brought a big smile to my face, but it would be the next GTA game that I consider the greatest of them all.
Vice City, 1986. Cocaine was at an all time high. There was no place bigger than the city based on Miami. The tall buildings, neon lights, and the ocean. What's not to like? Grand Theft Auto: Vice City had it all along with the ambiance as well as plenty of references from Scarface, Miami Vice, and so much more. I can go all day with all the awesome references. My character finally had a voice, and who better to portray the antihero than Ray Liotta as Tommy Vercetti. He was my own personal Tony Montana. As a child of the '80s Grand Theft Auto: Vice City attracted me more than any other game. It was with this game where I found the story just as interesting as rampaging through the city. One of my favorite moments was just a mere hour into the game where I had a screwdriver and stabbed someone only to realize that it was a cop. The chase was then on, and with the first car I stole I was running from the cops as Quiet Riot's "Cum on Feel the Noize" played on the radio. Priceless.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was amazing, and it's a game I still enjoy playing today on my PlayStation 3. Many years had past since the game's 2002 release, but I knew that Rockstar had something brewing. Who knew that it would be a return to a familiar place.
2008, Liberty City. When Grand Theft Auto IV arrived on the scene my excitement was at an all time high. GTA was back in high definition, and this time it was time for me to achieve the "America Dream". However, with every step Rockstar took forward I felt like it took a few steps backwards as well. This was the first time I felt like Rockstar was mortal when it came to Grand Theft Auto. Sure the game was fun at times since there was so much to do, but there were also moments where it was quite annoying. One of my biggest memories came when I was ruining from the cops with a four star wanted rating. I was in a big jam and all of a sudden I get a phone call. "Hey Niko, it's your brother. You want to go bowling?" Are you serious? Bowling! I'm in the fight of my life here against the law, and my brother wants to go bowling? It was at that moment that all the fun as sucked out of me. The online game was pretty good, but it also had it's limitations. The main game was not very interesting, however the DLC campaigns of The Lost and The Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony were awesome since they both felt like the old Grand Theft Auto games I loved.
Now the new Grand Theft Auto is about to take me to Los Santos, and this time I'll be in control of the lives of three unique characters each with their own personality. Can I juggle this much, or will I screw it all up? I'm sure that I can as I continue to do the things that made me enjoy the Grand Theft Auto series in the first place along with a plethora of new activities to keep my interest for may years to come. Hopefully while I'm reviewing the game next week, I can share a new GTA moment that will eclipse all others. Maybe it will be a drive-by shooting to the tune of Eddie Murphy's "Party All The Time". We'll just have to see.