Dyc3r's Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas (PS2)
| [October 6, 2008 01:47:45 PM]
| For my last session of San Andreas, I chose to pay much closer attention to the story rather than the broader feel of the game as a whole, and though I was not able to progress very far into the story, it became very apparent that Loyalty is something that the characters hold very high in their world.|
While there may not be ethical “problems” in the traditional sense related to this, we did discuss virtues in class, and this game is evidence that even people whose actions are against the norm, can share similar virtues to upstanding citizens. The characters in San Andreas are members of a struggling street gang that is trying t push its way back to the top of the food chain, and they will get there by whatever means necessary, but there is definitely a code of honor among the gang members.
One example of this is in the way they dress. One of the missions I received actually required me to change my wardrobe, because I needed to show my loyalty to the gang by sporting its colors. Also, during the various cut scenes early in the game, Carl is frequently ridiculed for abandoning his friends.
I never learned why Carl left home, and maybe that isn’t part of the story, but when he returns, there is a lot of bad blood between him and the rest of the gang members over his disappearance, and much of that is tied to the death of Carls mother. One chracter even points out that Carl missed two funerals, and he has no business staying in the neighborhood.
He then has to endure a series of small “tests” to prove that he loyal to the gang, and that he is not going to run away again. Even after he has been accepted back into the gang, the other Characters still repeatedly harass him for running away, and it seems like a form of ongoing punishment for ot sticking to the gang’s conception of loyalty and courage.
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| [October 4, 2008 06:39:57 PM]
| After playing my second round of San Andreas, I felt the need to respond to the aspect of violence within the game. There are some ethical dilemmas surrounding almost the entire game, many of which come down to the game’s view of violence. Under normal circumstances, gunning down police officers and civilians in cold blood is a rather horrific event, especially for anyone unfortunate enough to witness it happening, but as with all GTA games, things are not ascut and dry in Rockstar's world of crime.|
There are still consequences for acting out in a violent fashion, but they do not carry the same weight as they do in real life. If you shoot enough people, and run away long enough, eventually you can have the military chasing you through the streets, but the negative association isn’t “Oh no, I killed someone, now I’m being punished.” Instead, it’s become: “Crap, I took a wrong turn, and now I’m surrounded. If they catch me I lose al my guns!”
There is still negative feedback for actions that modern society would consider immoral, but the concept of “negative” is altered for the sake of the game’s story. The game’s punishment system is not meant to deter you from killing people; it is meant to provide a constant challenge, and to prevent you from killing people too often.
A player’s decision to draw a weapon is not based on, a matter of right and wrong, but rather, deciding whether or not they want to spend time trying to get away after the deed is done. Though this system is in place to at least partly regulate the game’s potential for excessive violence, sooner or later, players give in. There is just something tempting about taking out a pistol and mercilessly shooting everyone in sight.
Oddly enough, Carl can get away with a lot more in the comfort of his neighborhood. Starting a fist fight on the street will get the cops after you relatively quickly, but if you start beating up old women in Carl’s front yard, the only emergency response is an ambulance, and a couple mindless paramedics who often carry a nice amount of cash if you ‘re willing to take them down.
With the addition of codes into the mix, all bets are off. As soon as Carl is free to roam the city without worrying about his wanted level and his health bar, the gloves come off, and all potential restrictions are eliminated. Players can cut loose and shoot, stab, or rob whoever they choose. Cops become well placed weapon lockers and reload stations, and civilians; target practice. The city enters a state of chaos, and the players merely laugh at the carnage before them.
This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Oct 4th, 2008 at 18:41:46.
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| [October 2, 2008 01:13:07 AM]
| I've officially played San Andreas for the first half hour installment of my assignment, and I'm already dreading the remaining two sessions. I'm supposed to be addressing the game from an ethical perspective, but I can't get past the horrible controls. The game is nearly unplayable. I'm not the best at video games, but it never takes me 30 minutes to complete the very first objective of the game.|
The only piece of the story that I've been exposed to is the death of CJ's mother, and a few corrupt cops. I haven't seen enough of the game to comment on it. Apparently, several people have asked to play a different game for this assignment, and I now understand why, assuming that I'm not the only one to experience these problems.
That being said, the only ethical issue related to this game that I can discuss is the "hot coffee" mod that's quite obviously old news now. There are some blatant ethical problems behind this mod, and the way Rockstar chose to handle the situation.
I'm not going to argue the ethics of the mod itself, though I personally don't approve of the content. My issue is with the company that produced it. I read an article concerning the mod, and was surprised to see that Rockstar initially denied any connection to the mod. When the mod first surfaced, they claimed that it was entirely user created, and they had no part in producing the controversial content. A few weeks passed, and some luck hacker unlocked the same content on a PS2 version of the game.
Right away, there is a serious issue with lying to the public. Lying is a self defeating practice, because as soon as lying becomes the social norm, there is no way to know whether or not someone is telling the truth, and as a result, trust would eventually be eliminated, because everyone is automatically considered to be a liar.
If I'm going to complete this assignment properly, I may have to work a little harder to get my Code Breaker working, since infinite health, and no wanted level seems to be the only way I'll ever get to see the story.
With the help of a few well placed cheat codes, and an Action Replay, I was finally able to progress into the story, and there are a few ironic conversations that take place between Carl and the other characters. The mission that stands out in my mind is still early in the plot, but there is definitely potential for deeper ethical discussions regarding he objectives.
The basic point of the mission is to find a drug dealer that has started doing business near Carl's neighborhood, and rough him up as a way of "cleaning" the streets. The irony is lies in the fact that the player eventually raids a crack den, and kills everyone inside.
This becomes a question of whether or not the ends justify the means. Ultimately, removing drug dealers from the neighborhood is definitely an admirable course of action, and most people would agree that it is the right thing to do. The ethical dilemma lies in the excessive violence used to "clean things up" The streets may now be free from drugs, but they're stained with blood.
Some would argue that because the result of Carl's actions was positive, that his actions were morally respectable. However, under utilitarian ethics, the sadness caused by killing people would not necessarily outweigh the positive gain from removing drug dealers.
In addition to this, the Crack Den is inhabited by members of a rival gang. Now, even Carl's intentions are called into question. Carl takes action claiming to "clean the streets," which he may ultimately do, but the true reason behind his actions is actually eliminating a rival gang.
Up to this point, it appears that the ethical questions players are faced with are not a question of right versus wrong, but rather a question of bad versus worse.
This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Oct 4th, 2008 at 18:43:55.
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