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    manu's Grand Theft Auto III (PS2)

    [November 17, 2006 02:52:22 PM]
    Groundhog Theft Auto

    I've got to stop writing these lame topics.

    One of the things I like about GTA3 is the representation of time. GTA2 had options of a 'noon' lighting model and a 'dusk' lighting model, none of which, I think, had any effect of the gameplay.

    GTA3 not only has a 'real-time' clock and weather system that lends an illusion of a dynamic world, it affects what happens in the world to a lesser degree. Primarily, the streets are abound with women of negotiable affection during the small hours.

    What I find most interesting is that the actual time is displayed in the HUD. It's a pity that computational limitations didn't allow the developers to have the residents possess some semblance of a knowledge of time. Most of them will lurch regardless of what time it is and it takes a bit away from the entire endeavor.

    Beyond the cosmetic appeal of the day/night cycles, the minor modifications in perception/vehicle mechanics in rains/fogs, the dynamic aspect of the world owes very little to the little digits on the screen. For time limited missions, a separate clock appears. The clock in itself ,thus, serves very little purpose.
    I've had one character tell me to come back next day at a certain time, this is the only time I've actually used the clock.

    In the real world, the time of day has multifaceted connotations associated with it. How many hours since I ate, what could my friends be upto now, how many hours before I sleep etcetera. Some of these connotations get transferred to the virtual realm for me, so that walking the streets at 3:00 am is a wee bit disconcerting. Had the explicit 3:00am not been shown, I probably wouldn't have cared at all.
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    [November 17, 2006 01:51:21 PM]
    Absolute freedom corrupts absolutely.

    Hooray for trite modifications of cliched quotations!

    In my opinion freedom in games is like probing a hurting tooth. One knows that it will hurt, yet one is not satisfied until one's tongue has fully explored the nooks and crannies of the mouth and cornered that elusive hurting tooth. One then gently, warily flicks the tooth and a minuscule universe of pain is spawned. Repeat after half an hour.

    Because the videogame is essentially a man-made construct of limited computational and expressive ability, it is foolish to pretend that it can ever provide anything remotely close to freedom for the player.

    When I usually begin playing an unknown game, I will try to probe and assess what all I can do in the game, what 'verbs' are available to me, and which button do I press to jump. This probing/exploration does exhibit a minor form of gameplay, but that's about it.

    In GTA3, then, gamers are constantly trying to probe what they can and cannot do within the game and because the world is extremely large, this previously insignificant mechanic gains undue prominence.

    After 15 minutes of playing GTA3 and completing two missions, I got bored and started a slow and systematic slaughter through the streets of Liberty City. Perhaps modern life has instilled in me a sense of always being in control, to switch off the television when I want, to get content on demand etcetera. Perhaps my attention span has waned, perhaps I suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder. Perhaps the thought of my fantasy world leading me crumb by crumb through this visceral maze of vapid delights fills me with disgust. Perhaps the thrill of rebellion exonerates my reason for playing this game.

    Whatever the reason was, I quit the rat race. As, I assume, so do many other gamers. Now the probing/exploration comes into play. I probe because I'm curious. I'm curious because I'm bored. Deprived of the feeble structure that the missions/plotlines afford, lacking anything better to do...I begin to probe around the mouth that is Liberty City, with the protagonist as the tongue, looking for a hurting tooth, a building I can't enter, a wall I cannot jump across. And when I do, a small universe of pain is spawned, an ephemeral disconnect from my fantasy. I retreat from that tooth, that building or bridge, only to return to a similar one in the near future.

    My fantasy world makes a little less sense as I keep on playing.
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    [November 17, 2006 01:05:47 PM]
    I dislike this game.

    I dislike it because it is extremely popular and because I do not find it entertaining. I do not find it entertaining because I cannot help but notice the crass seams that bind this rickety excuse for digital entertainment together and keep it afloat. I've always been wary of games with vast worlds to explore, it feels like a very cheap way to shove bad design down users throats and wash it down with a good chug of the old 'exploration as gameplay' routine.

    I was and still am a big fan of Grand Theft Auto 2. And here is where the problem arises for me, every time I play any of its successors I find traces of the old game lurking beneath each element that they tout. I feel that if one were to write down the formal rules of both the games down on paper, they wouldn't be significantly different. However, the execution of the latter games ruined something for me. GTA2 had a very tongue-in-cheek and comical approach to its presentation, the mob bosses jabbered in nonsensical tongue, the voiceovers were hilarious, even some of the missions had a wry sense of humour about them. All of which made the actual gameplay(essentially killing people) seem somewhat dissonant and eerily syncopated.

    GTA3 has these activities more or less as a matter of fact, and it takes a bit of fun out of it. I'm not a big fan of realism.

    As far as narrative/characters are concerned I find the game to be populated by vapid, if not mindless, drones. The protagonist in GTA3 doesn't speak(at least he hasn't so far) and except for flipping someone off now and then, has all the emotional complexity of a doormat. Wait, I take that back, a doormat has more character, shows signs of age and experience.

    From what I've seen of the cutscenes in Vice City, the protagonist has been given a speaking role. But enter gameplay mode and he's still the marionette that I so gleefully remember from GTA3. I'm probably taking far too many liberties with my impression of the game after a 45 minute session or so, but whatever.
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    manu's Grand Theft Auto III (PS2)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Friday 17 November, 2006

    manu's opinion and rating for this game

    No comment, yet.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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