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    Nov 3rd, 2010 at 23:48:01     -    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)

    I know in my first post I typed that I hate ebonics. I still do: the interjection of “homie” and “yo dawg” in every sentence gets pretty repetitive, even if it is true to the way they speak in Los Angeles. However, ebonics aside I really do enjoy the dialogue in the game, f’sho- y’know? Particularly during the “Drive-Thru” mission, I thought the hilarity of the ordering process and the slow turnaround in the front seat was gold, a classic and albeit cliché move for that awkward, nervous laugh effect. From the few missions I completed today there were some significant Utilitarian views that were executed by CJ and the gang, although they discluded themselves from consequences of their own views. IE: CJ and whatshisface decide, for the good of the “hood” they need to beat down the asses of the crack dealers and those at the crack house after seeing Big Bear (I think his name was). It’s here I’d like to point out the accuracy the game had in drug slang, rather than calling cocaine by it’s name for the general audiences, they called it “yAy” for the authenticity- a term that I was familiar with and brought the game into a more relatable light. Well, not that I’m some crack whore or anything.

    I didn’t like how CJ and his gang were exempted from their punishment although they wanted to clean up their streets and take it back from the drug addicts and such. When they first see the crack dealer, he was dealing to one of their own men. But rather than taking it upon themselves to equally exert retribution over both parties involved in the deal [I mean you can’t have a crack dealer without a buyer], they just beat the shit out of the dealer and Mr. Green runs free with his crack. Admittedly, by this point I was overly into the game and in the company of a few friends, we shouted at the unfairness of the exchange- after all, ethics is supposed to apply to all peoples involved, right?

    As I finish my Bacardi (Bacardi Limon & Pepsi to be precise) and this final log, I reflect on what I’ve seen from this game as a whole. The world of San Andreas is based on Los Angeles which in itself offers quite a bit of commentary on the societal “laws” that come along with living in a police corrupted and gang run area. There is in fact, little ethical standards to live by. There are ethics but by no means a standard. Ethics in the game seem to fluctuate given the situation and the people involved. The only real connecting string that seems woven deep into the behavior of the gang is the idea of “family” - both blood relations and by affiliation (gang). Loyalty, Pride, etc. are all qualities that I can admire, and are things that I feel strongly about as well. But in a world of corruption and where things are solved by who has the bigger gun, can you really ever trust who’s got your back?

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    Nov 1st, 2010 at 23:25:57     -    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)

    I was about ready give up on the notion of beating the first mission. My failure to ride the bike haunted me. While perusing Facebook, my friend Dan left me a message about cheat codes in GTA. Now I’m familiar with cheat codes in GTA, I’ve seen friends use them about five fucking million times but I’ve never cheated in a game so it just didn’t occur to me to do it. After some meager searching on the internet I found a site listing a shit load of… well, petty cheats that were just more for entertainment purposes rather than enhancing game play.

    I enabled “All Cars Fly” cheat and whenever cop car attempted to run me off the road, they would simply just run over my side and… float away. I also Jet-Packed onto the roof, got in a tank and fired a round which backed me off the ledge and allowed me to fly my way toward ground. I gave myself the highest star rating and then shot down helicopters with my flying tank. I absent mindedly did this for a good half hour and then turned the entire city into Asian men in suits, wielding katanas and driving black automobiles and motorcycles.

    It wasn’t until I was getting bored of destroying San Andreas that I realized [in a moment of sobriety] that I could just use the cheats to get past the first mission. It bruised my gaming ego to have to resort to a cheat in order to continue a game but seeing as how my nemesis was a bicycle- it couldn’t be helped. I gave myself the infinite life cheat and proceeded to “god-mode” my way through the first mission to safety. I can’t say I feel guilty. I’m not sure if it’s the stress from knowing that the mission couldn’t have been beat without a cheat or if I just am losing any sense of gaming pride… but I felt rather relieved with a sense of achievement [though there was no real achievement]. Where the hell was “negative feedback” when I needed it??

    I didn’t play the game long after beating the first mission to develop any other ideas about the major themes in the game, but in terms of the ethics of cheating I find that it doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. I would wager it’s because the game isn’t one I usually find interest in or have a strong urge to beat. I suppose this is where I stand as on an ethical egoist’s podium, preaching that in the context of beating this goddamn bicycle mission I did what was necessary by my standards to proceed, whether it be by using a cheat code or not. I don’t feel bad about it at all. Now able to satisfy my curiosities about the rest of this particular game, I’ll cheat my way through every mission if I feel like it. And maybe change all the pedestrians to bikini babes for a change of pace. Fuck you very much, San Andreas. I’m going to conquer you with all the wrath of my little avenging thumbs with chipping nail polish and when CJ goes to bed to pray at night he’ll wonder why sometimes he feels like there is some higher, god-like hand that controls his motions. And it’s divine little me.

    -Beverly

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    Oct 25th, 2010 at 23:15:06     -    Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)

    I’ve never played a GTA game from the start. Rather my experience with this series is limited to playing on my friend’s XBoX and launching cars off rooftops or racing to see who could beat the shit out of the most hookers in an allotted time limit. I spent about an hour playing this game and I’m not sure if it’s because I’m so used to staring at the beautiful picture displayed by my ps3 or if it’s because listening to African Americans doing “they thang” so they can’t transcend their own stereotype is tiring, but I found this game got really old, really fast. [Also I hate ebonics. Like really, really hate it.] I don’t mean to rip this game a new asshole, I’m probably just bad at it and playing it one too many years too late. After trying to unsuccessfully ride the bike for the first mission I resorted to just stealing cars and beating people for money that I had no idea what to do with. Recognizing that although my real life bicycle skills translated accurately into the game- my driving skills did not. This was a sore disappointment that limited my gameplay experience severely. I did however, find it funny that I could do incredible amounts of damage to city property but the moment I got into a fist fight in front of the hospital I got a star and had a bunch of white cops chasing me down with sticks while I muttered, “Not today, bitch.”

    Narrating the game to myself was one way I kept interest while I lay sprawled on my couch, one leg leisurely hanging off the side and the other propped up with a pillow; a dish of chocolate covered cranberries nestled between my thighs. It was “Oh hell no, you motherfucker” to the indistinguishable black guy that would pull a gun on me I beat down what looked like a Mexican gang bitch. [As if the minorities would ever actually get each other’s back. Would they??] What I found boring in the game I realized were the most realistic aspects of it- the stereotyping, the bland scenery, the L.A. jargon, etc. This is actually kind of surprising and kind of depressing. The fact that the game makers did go to elaborate lengths to make GTA: San Andreas as accurate as possible brought to my attention that 1) This is a world I am a stranger to and have difficulty associating and sympathizing with. 2) These race stereotypes that are portrayed are sad but true. 3) If I am realizing the fact this game is stupid realistic and it’s a sad commentary on the way a lot of people live their lives, do those people realize this as well when playing this game? Or do they cheer and get pumped up to simulate this lifestyle? [Art imitates Life imitates... huh?] Continuing on with the realism of the game, I found that the narrative and story of GTA: San Andreas was pretty believable but unlike the above list, made the game more appealing than if it had resembled some theatrical, hyped, and super urban version of West Side Story [Did someone call for the Drama Llama?]. If I could actually ride that goddamn bicycle I may be able to enjoy the videogame to progress in the story and actually know what the hell is going on [Although the idea of missions does sound tedious. Perhaps if it were called Quests instead I could get my nerd on and dive in as Carl].

    Sad to say, GTA: San Andreas won this first round but I am resolved to attempt the bicycle again and conquer it to continue my play. This first log is regrettably a bit limited in experience, but as I nurse my bruised motor skills ego I’ve had time to reflect upon the things that the game brings to light within the first hour of playing. These are the “first impressions” of game play. What is most apparent is the corruption of the police and the race archetypes that the game accurately plays off of. It sort of makes me wonder why African Americans are so quick to shout “Racism!” and throw up picket signs and bitch about whites saying the smallest hint of anything about race when the majority of them play into their own stereotype. When you’re flying out of the womb as a black baby you’re so tough you cut your own umbilical cord and when you’re living in the streets of “San Andreas” your choice of clothing is between the oversized red football jersey or the skin tight black shirt. Be forewarned, for whatever fashion path you decide to walk on, donning on the bling-bling is a must.
    [And if I were white I’m sure I’d be called racist for what I just said but I have a sort of unfair half-immunity since I’m Asian. Whenever you hear someone talk about chinky eyes or making the Asian eye gestures you don’t see lines of us angrily rising up to protest movies or calling out actors and singers. We just don’t like to bitch about stupid shit. Another example would be when Resident Evil 5 came out, hoards of black protest groups resounded in calling the game racist because you had Chris Redfield, a white guy, shooting Africans. Well firstly, the game is Japanese and Chris is a resounding character. Secondly, he is in Africa. At least now they threw a few Latino and white zombies into the mix.]

    Of course we all hear that stereotyping is bad but both the game and real life make it incredibly obvious that stereotypes, especially race stereotypes exist for a reason. They are an efficient and more often than not true way of social grouping and help identify and characterize areas such as Los Angeles in games like San Andreas. It’s hard to be empathetic to racial stereotypes when many people feed into it and they [not just blacks but all races], in many times put themselves in that position.

    -Beverly

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Oct 25th, 2010 at 23:15:38.

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