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    Mar 14th, 2010 at 22:50:42     -    Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas (PS2)

    I remember other games that I can compare GTA:SA to in terms of its ethical framework. The first is one we've discussed in class: Fable 2. In this game, the morality meter is the character's appearance. The more evil or good deeds the gamer commits, the more evil or good he looks and thus people will like or dislike him more and certain powers will become available to him. This system of keeping track of unethical deeds committed would not work for GTA because CJ is already a criminal and to do anything in the game essentially already makes him an even more wanted man.
    The other game with an system of judging ethical deeds is The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. This game has a ranking of infamy and fame depending of which kind of acts you do. The character will gain one (or more) infamy points for committing a crime and fame points for helping someone. This has a bearing on what you can do, who will talk to you, and what guilds you can join. This becomes more complex with the additional idea of bounty. If a crime is committed but nobody sees you do it, then you get away with it. Rumor will spread, though, and thus you will gain infamy. But if you are caught in the act of killing or stealing or any such criminal act, an officer will approach you and tell you that there is a bounty on your head. You can go to jail, or pay him the bounty you owe, or resist arrest. By resisting arrest, you are doing something illegal and thus your bounty will increase even more making more officers chase after you.
    I think Oblivion's system for ranking ethical choices would work quite well for GTA. The approach is similar in that the more bounty (stars) you have, the more the cops will chase you and hunt you down. But Rockstar's idea with the stars is a bit ham-handed and if the Oblivion's system were to be ported over to GTA the overall gameplay would benefit, I think.

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    Mar 14th, 2010 at 21:56:10     -    Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas (PS2)

    The moral counter in the game, the star system, I find a bit clumsy. It just doesn't seem to be enough of a moral system. It's easy enough to gain one star and the amount of police hunting you down after a while just seems very abrupt. I feel like maybe a bar that increases as crimes are committed and decreases over time or something of the sort may have been a bit better tat regulating the moral system in the game.
    The game certainly still brings up issues of ethics and of course the entire game basically revolves around making decisions that would be morally unethical in real life. But I think that these moral issues could become more of an obstacle in the game, more strategically playable, if there was some sort of other system implemented to demonstrate how much CJ is wanted.

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    Mar 10th, 2010 at 23:41:14     -    Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas (PS2)

    The sandbox gameplay of GTA is one I really enjoy. There is nothing you necessarily have to do. I can just run around killing guys or I can follow the story. Or anything else. I can go anywhere, it's not a small map where I'm restricted to certain areas. There are so many possibilities.
    I think this may bring up some of the moral issues, though. With a more rigid set of rules or structure, there would be less chance to abuse any sort of power. The "Hot Coffee" scenario is one such example. Though I haven't tried it, the scenario is infamous for being an inappropriate element of the game that was not supposed to be "found." Being able to do anything you want with CJ leaves the gamer possibilities to do things the developers may or may not have intended the game to be capable of. This question of ethical scenarios leaves the developers with plenty of media hounding them for information on why they made these sort of things accessible. The fact is, they created a game where you can do anything; a sandbox game. The idea of complete freedom is still a relatively new concept in gaming and so of course questions will be asked. But I don't think the developers should be held responsible for whatever sort of things the gamers think to do.
    Bioware's Mass Effect featured a scenario where the main character can have sex with another character in the game. Though the gamer is left with a choice of whether or not they want to take this route, the choice is a part of the story. Choosing to or not to have sex with another character changes how that character (and the other characters) will act towards you. In this case, whatever dispute the media or the public may have with the scenario, the developers hold some responsibility. The fact that they make the scene optional gives them some wiggle room to avoid the public's unhappiness, but not much. They put the scene in the game with the intention that many gamers will in fact choose to engage in it.
    The same sort of thing applies to Infinity Ward's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The beginning level of the game, "No Russian," involves the playable character as an undercover agent working with radicals to kill innocent people. Once again, the developer chose to provide the player with the option of playing the level. But they also put the level in the game with the intent for scores of innocent people to be killed. Blame can fall upon the developers in this case.
    Rockstar created GTA as an open environment. They didn't begin making the game with the idea of letting players do such controversial things. My understanding is that the Hot Coffee scenario was simply discovered by gamers, just as anything else can be discovered in an open world. If Hot Coffee was put into the game intentionally, Rockstar holds responsibility. But there are plenty of other unethical, controversial things the gamer can choose to do that were not thought up by the developer. For these, the developer does not have obligation to apologize for something their game can do. They simply did not intend for the game to be used in such a way.
    This ethical question of what can and cannot be put into video games and where the threshold lies between ok for game sand not ok for games is an interesting that can really be brought in a sandbox world like GTA.

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    Mar 6th, 2010 at 16:27:40     -    Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas (PS2)

    Beginning this game was unusual because I'm not used to any sort of games like this. When race is an issue in games I play, it's because the elves are oppressed by the humans. but this is different. Race makes such an impact upon me so early in the game. Every gangster is Hispanic or black and both of these races follow such blatant stereotypes.
    I haven't really begun to play the missions yet, just been exploring and acclimating myself to the game. People just come at my character and start shooting which isn't very realistic. When I begin the missions it'll be interesting to see how I can build the character's reputation and how realistic the jobs I have to do will be.

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