Bayz's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PC)
| [September 28, 2011 10:26:28 AM]
| One thing I've noticed is that drugs are considered worse in game than violence. While probably a reflection of US culture in general, CJ never does any drugs, beats up the drug dealers early on in the game, and seems to generally avoid them. Yet the opposite approach is taken with violence, where the main character can engage in quite a bit of violence and it's quite explicit. |
The player is given some room in exploring/choosing how much violence to use. For example early in the game against opponents who don't have guns, simply point a gun at them can cause them to put up their hands or leave you alone (a surprising discovery in a game that seems to channel the player towards more violent options). While the game requires you to kill people to progress in the story, hitting pedestrians, shooting police, and other non-required violence is up to the player. If you're careful it seems that in many cases you can avoid harming innocent bystanders and just run from the police(but you can never surrender to the police, meaning you may find yourself cornered with the options of being shot or shooting them).
However, the player can often be put in situations where they may end up running someone over in high speed chase or shooting the driver of a car to steal it faster (I noticed if you shoot the driver, they fall out of the car and open the door in the process, making the car fast to steal). This lead to a situation where I could save several police officers by shooting an innocent lady so that I could steal her car before four police could ram me. Which would have likely lead to the deaths of several police officers if I was cornered with no option to progress other than shooting my way out (due to no surrendering).
Though in the long run, letting myself be shot probably would have been the ethical utilitarian choice, given that for me to progress further in the game, it was highly likely I'd have to kill quite a few characters through out the game and do far more damage. So by escaping alive, I was likely reducing quite a lot of happiness within the GTA universe. However, in a game, not progressing really isn't a practical moral choice.
It does however bring up the point that many of these choices with regards to how the player uses violence have to be made quickly. How do you make an ethical choice/what framework could you use given a few seconds? Even a minute?
Overall the characters remained pretty shallow and the game only seemed to succeed at a little satire from time to time, for the most part no real commentary on gang culture has evolved at this point.
This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Sep 28th, 2011 at 10:28:29.
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| [September 28, 2011 01:26:18 AM]
| No improvement with respect to character depth. The Grove street gang are all still stereotypes with no hit of any character underneath. No new non gang characters yet, Jeffery/OG LOC is introduced as a apparently college bound guy who instead purposely got himself thrown in jail and tattooed so that he could fit in as a gangster. However instead of being a satire to the values and behavior that CJ and his buddies admire, Jeffery appears to be cast in the light of not being cool/respected/hardcore enough for the rest of the gang. While his avoiding college is mentioned, he quickly begins to try to become a rapper and send CJ on missions. Overall, the game seems to still only show a stereotypical view of gang culture, with a general lack of any other perspectives. |
The weight of various crimes/police responsiveness seems to set up some unusual consequences within the world of GTA. The wanted level for a multiple homicide is the same as that for graffiti. Running over and shooting twenty people is less severe than killing one police officer.
For the most part the police will leave you alone if you don't attack them and it seems difficult to get a high wanted level by anything other than killing police. The police also have no memory of your actions and you don't get a reputation/notoriety. If the police don't see it, there's usually little consequence (sometimes you'll get one star if the police are called, apparently no matter how severe the crime).
Attacking the police appears to be only offense with major consequences. Shooting at them will quickly bring a massive response while it seems any other crime will have relatively little consequence.
This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Sep 28th, 2011 at 01:38:37.
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| [September 25, 2011 01:28:04 AM]
| Day 1|
Values of respect (earning trust of fellow gang members/fear of opponents) and loyalty to the gang are put above all else. CJ comes to town and from some reason or other, I can't really put my finger on it, but he doesn't seem to be the gangster type (despite his efforts to fit into that culture). He does however badly want to belong to the gang and all the time is trying to prove he isn't a "buster", seeming like he could be quite easily be peer pressured into anything. This is where a lot of the stereotypes come in, all of the grove st gang idolize the gangster stereotype and as a result to earn the trust of his fellow gang members, CJ has to adopt this stereotype. I may give rockstar the benefit of the doubt that this is building up to some commentary/satire on the 1990s inner city gangs. CJ wants to get back in with his group of friends and belong, so he does what he can to prove he's not a "buster". It starts out easy, spray paint some stuff, then next thing you know everyone's pressuring him to drive for a drive-by and then it snowballs into all out gang warfare. Players do have a lack of choice given that they can't progress without doing the missions, but it does build CJs character(if not the player's attachment) by the player being a spectator as CJ tries to prove himself/get pressured into a whole load of violence and the player can't do anything about it/resist the other gang members.
For an example of their values, loyalty to the neighborhood is a major value, but solving things peacefully isn't. So you can end up with CJ and his buddies going around beating up crack dealers for being bad for the neighborhood (with plenty of irony given the gang can't go out for tacos without a double digit bodycout). The make the choice that crack is bad for the neighborhood (despite all the other drugs ryder and others seem to be involved with), solving problems with violence is ok (they don't value others well being), and so solve the problem themselves with baseball bats (apparently beating them very seriously/to death given the amount of blood).
In this regard, stereotypes are unavoidable, all of the gang members aspire to this "gangster stereotype", which from their perspective seems to be a set of values they admire/think they need to show to fit in. What remains to be seen is if the characters are one-dimensional cardboard cutouts, or if this is how they act around their buddies to fit in, but that more depth beyond the stereotype might be revealed later. If not, then the stereotypes will just be blatant stereotypes, not a means to show different dimensions of the characters or a satire of gangster culture.
You do get some sense that these values aren't universal, while CJ and his buddies are obsessed with this lifestyle, his sister isn't and calls them out on their hypocrisy/racism in the beginning of one mission. I haven't seen any real non-gang characters besides CJ's sister at this point (she still wears the gang's green though, so her relationship there is iffy, but she doesn't act like them), but they might not follow the stereotypes and offer more commentary.
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