DCoveyou's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PC)
| [October 6, 2008 04:45:17 AM]
| My third session of living the “thug” life in San Andreas did not vary much from the previous two. CJ rescued his brother from a gun fight by running over and shooting other gang members, stole firearms from a house, and participated in a low rider competition. I feel that yet again CJ justifies his actions by doing what he thinks is best for his family. |
For CJ family is everything so he doesn’t think twice about killing a few gang members to save his brother. Most people would probably rely on the police in a situation like this, but in CJ’s world he can’t trust the law to help him. His loyalty keeps him from thinking twice about killing some other people in order to save his brother. CJ doesn’t have a problem with burglary, despite the lack of direct benefit to his family. However, the guns that he steals would be necessary for him and his friends to defend themselves from their enemies. There are no moral decisions in the low rider competition, but the game does again reinforce racial stereotypes, but this time of Latinos instead of African Americans. This third session did support the idea that CJ is not without something guiding his actions. If there is a moral theory that would fit best with CJ it would be the virtue theory. CJ makes almost all of his decisions based on one virtue: loyalty. He is extremely loyal to his family and friends. CJ has no regard for the laws of society, but he does have regard for his family and friends. His small community is his own little society, and he respects the people in that community.
After a mission, one of the characters speaks a very powerful quote to CJ: “…you got to get it in your head that this is everyday shit homie”. The character is referring to casual way that these people encounter violence. Death and violence are a huge part of their lives. CJ returns home because of his mother’s death only to be lectured by his brother about other members of their community that had died. I think that the violent nature of CJ’s surroundings makes it easier to understand why the characters make the decisions they do. They answer violence with violence. The characters in San Andreas do not expect help from the authorities. Because of the support the characters receive from their communities they are loyal to them above the law.
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| [October 5, 2008 05:59:44 PM]
| During my second session with San Andreas I encountered some very interesting features of the game pertaining to health. CJ has to exercise to maintain a healthy physique, and he has to eat in order to have energy, but the player has to keep an eye on how much CJ eats in order to avoid him becoming overweight. It seems a little ironic that a game with so much violence also concerns itself with personal health. San Andreas takes light of carjacking but considers healthy eating to be very serious. The obesity feature and the over the top attitude San Andreas takes with violence makes the game seem less like an unethical, irreverent “murder simulator” and more like a satirical social commentary about our culture’s glorification of violence, sex, and drugs.|
In my previous entry I talked about CJ’s moral compass being based entirely on his friends and family. I was thinking about whether CJ’s might use some derivative of one of the major moral theories like Kantianism, utilitarianism, or the social contract theory. CJ often acts based on what would produce the most good for his “homies”. This is somewhat similar to the utilitarian view that we should do what produces the most good for the most people, however CJ is extremely partial and seems to act to only help those that are important to him. I do not think that Kantianism could apply at all. CJ seems to have some personal rules but he would be willing to break them if certain circumstances arose, and Kantianism does not provide leeway for exceptions from universal laws. However, CJ does have some virtue. He has an enormous amount of loyalty for his community.
I think that CJ’s lack of strong morals can be related to his surroundings. The early part of San Andreas is set in a poor neighborhood that appears to be based on Los Angeles. The police are mostly apathetic and pedestrians are indifferent and rude. No one cares what happens to people they do not know; it’s every man for himself. CJ can’t rely on anyone but himself and his friends and family. He does not feel obliged to follow the laws of a society that is openly hostile toward him.
This entry has been edited 2 times. It was last edited on Oct 5th, 2008 at 18:08:47.
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| [October 5, 2008 12:22:00 AM]
| I have played some of the Grand Theft Auto games before, but I've never committed more than half hour to any of them, and that time was spent stealing cars and driving around aimlessly while ignoring the plot. So my foray into San Andreas was the first time I’ve paid attention to the storyline and characters in a GTA game. The first thing that happens in San Andreas is a blatant example of racial profiling. CJ is picked up by the police simply because he is a young black male. They “confiscate” his cash and kick him out of the car. I think the cops’ justifications were that CJ fit the stereotype they had about his race and the way he dressed and presented himself. They figured that he was just a menace and a troublemaker so it was alright to rough him up and rob him. |
This was not CJ’s fault. It appeared that CJ had tried to make his life better by moving away from the gang lifestyle, however he was called back to his old community because of his mother’s death. CJ’s old friends and family were very resentful of him when he returned, claiming that he did not care about anyone from his home and that he had abandoned them. They were angry at CJ for leaving; for trying to get out and make a better life for himself.
It seems that CJ bases his moral decisions on the needs of his family and friends. His moral compass is dictated by the needs of the people he cares for. He’s willing to break the law for his friends. In the mission where CJ and Ryder invade the crack den they don’t think twice about their vigilantism. They blame the dealers for poisoning their community and turning their friends into addicts, so they do what they think is right. They take care of the source of the problem with violence in order to protect their community.
This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Oct 5th, 2008 at 00:22:37.
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