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    Mar 9th, 2010 at 09:26:23     -    Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas (PS2)

    I find it interesting that within the game world of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the developers spent so much time trying to make a very detailed and realistic world, yet some elements are incredibly unrealistic. For example, if you eat a lot of food your avatar will become fat or you can work out at the gym and he will become muscular. However, despite this you never need to buy gas for your car and during the time I played I never once even saw a gas station (though it is possible that they exist in the game and I just did not happen to stumble across one). I realize that it is not a reality simulator, but it is interesting to notice what areas the game developers decided to make more realistic and what areas they decided to fantasize. For example, you can drive incredibly recklessly and as long as you don't kill anyone, the police will not chase you. Many times I have sped or driven though a red light right next to a police car and they did not even seem to notice. It is interesting to see this moral framework that the developers have constructed into the game where you are only punished for strong acts of violence and not for less offensive crimes.

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    Mar 8th, 2010 at 22:29:22     -    Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas (PS2)

    During my second experience with Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas I found myself taking on the role of a gangster and making choices more in that mindset. I specifically chose to buy green clothes, which is the gangs’ color, and I purposefully drove over and shot at people who wore purple (the color of the rival gang). I find it both fascinating and disturbing that I was basing my decisions not on what I myself find ethically right or wrong, but instead on what my character felt. I was doing this even though I knew that these actions would have no benefit to me within the game. This is what disturbed me because I was superimposing myself into the game thinking that it would benefit me in some way to murder rival gang members. I had the same sort of mindset when I first played the “No Russian” level in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. I shot at the civilians in the airport because I thought that I would fail the mission if I did not, and despite the fact that there was nothing telling me to shoot them I felt peer pressure from the characters in the game to act as they did. I find it interesting to think that I made the game more real than it actually is by acting in a way which would benefit CJ in real life, but not in the game itself.

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    Mar 1st, 2010 at 20:08:25     -    Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas (PS2)

    It surprises me that the Grand Theft Auto series is so popular when the game mechanics feel so unpolished. When I first started playing the game it took me far too long to learn how to ride the bike. The fact that a group of gang members immediately come up and attack you did not make me enjoy playing. I had just been dropped into the game world and while I was still trying to make sense of the interface and controls, I am attacked. As a game development major, this stood out to me as incredibly poor design on the part of the developers.

    I had similar problems later when I was trying to ride my bike away from the other gang members who were shooting at me from a car. I was still learning the controls and I was being forced to run for my life (This caused me to die for the first time because I had not yet figured out how to pedal fast on the bike.)

    There seemed to be so many different options in the game that I was overwhelmed by my options. I do not believe this to be anything bad, not by a long shot. I am just surprised that the game developers would implement such poor design choices into a high profile game such as this. It seems to me that these sorts of decisions would turn off any newcomers to the series because they would become quickly frustrated with the game and stop playing, but perhaps others do not share the same tastes and preference in videogames as I do.

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    Mar 1st, 2010 at 19:55:06     -    Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas (PS2)

    The most shocking thing for me was that when I began to play the game I was immediately harassed with racial and sexual slurs by a group of thugs. Here I was trying to figure out how to interact within the game world and right away I was confronted with verbal assaults. It was probably the most jarring first impression of a game I have ever had in my entire life.

    I believe in the freedom of speech and have no problem with vulgarity in videogames, so I think that it is interesting that this encounter left me more disturbed than playing through the "No Russian" level in Modern Warfare 2. The first time I played that level I was unaware that you did not have to shoot any of the civilians, yet I fired at them nonetheless. I think that having the slurs shouted at you in GTA:SA was more shocking because you cannot defend yourself from them, whereas your participation in a terrorist attack is justified in the game-world of Call of Duty.

    I also find it odd that in Modern Warfare 2 we are meant to be disturbed by the attack at the airport, even if we do not participate in the massacre, while in GTA we can run innocent pedestrians over with cars and are meant to feel no guilt whatsoever.

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