Goggalor's Grand Theft Auto - San Andreas (PS2)
| [October 6, 2008 12:05:24 PM]
| The characters don't have respect for authority, and cops in particular for a very good reason. The cops in GTA are all corrupt. In the very intro sequence the main character, coming home to see go to his dead mom's funeral, is arrested, beaten up, and robbed by the cops before he even gets home. The cops are ineffectual and corrupt. They sit around a donut shopping making fun of you while they make you run errands for them. These errands are hardly more moral than anything your character has been doing throughout the game. One of them has you illegally torching a house because the cops don't feel like arresting the people in it. |
The other nameless cops you see around the world aren't much more moral than the Samuel L Jackson cop. When you kill someone the cops don't follow unless you kill a cop or go on a spree. Even then the cops are mostly concerned with appearance and revenge. They tire of you easily, and one of the better ways of making them hate you less is to bribe them.
When CJ tries to 'be clean', he isn't rewarded. He's punished the same way he would have if he had gotten the money selling drugs. The game makes a point of valuing 'family' over personal ambition. It doesn't matter that CJ has been away from the neighborhood for years. When he returns all of his old friends from Green Street expect him to help fight the Ballers because Green Street is his home. It's similar to Faulkner's “Barn Burning” where the boy is expected to hurt people and destroy property because his dad did, and nothing the boy does is going to change his blood. In his eyes joining the gang is a moral thing because CJ feels he can make the neighborhood a better place.
add a comment
| [October 6, 2008 12:46:45 AM]
| I wrote this log a bit ago when a lot of the posts were short whines about how much the game offended them so it's a bit more reactionary than it needs to be now. Seems like tonight all my fellow apologists are out and about, and the quality seems to have gone up a bit(although a lot of us are probably a little too gung ho about defending it). Anyway, I think this is the weaker of my logs, but I don't exactly want to rewrite the entire thing.|
Someone mentioned that death was treated unrealistically and how in one situation you're allowed to kill whomever you want, but in his mission, he failed for killing someone because he thought it would earn him respect. He then goes on to call this a double standard, and a failure of morality, when in reality it's a great example of the morality of characters in the GTA world. He expected beating up an innocent man working at a fast food joint to earn him 'respect' in his gang. This is a great example of the skewed
morality the players have going in to the game. It's not the violence that is rewarded. It's the violence against specific people: bad people, at least in the characters' eyes. The people you're supposed to kill are the Ballers, not the old man walking down the street. The people you kill while in a high speed chase from your enemies aren't something to be proud of. They're the unfortunate side effect of life in GTA's crime ridden world.
The characters don't get shocked by people dying in general, but I don't think death in the GTA world is the same as death in the real world. Getting shot yourself only sends you to the hospital. Characters don't even notice the deaths of civilians, and later in the game they don't mind that you've stolen 500 cars. The character says “What? You've wrecked that many cars? You should learn to drive”, not “What? You stole that many cars?” This is directly after your sister tells you to stop living as a gang leader, so it's around the time you're supposed to be 'cleaning up' again.
The point of killing your enemies isn't that you want them to die, but rather that they're you're enemies and you're beating them in a sort of game, even if they technically do die. It's exactly the same in CJ's world view to kill a Baller as it is to help his nerd defeat the other nerd in their little strategy game with the helicopter. The life of an 'enemy' doesn't figure in to it. They're an enemy. They deserve to die. It's interesting how killing rival gang leaders is considered immoral, but any game with armies in it has the same game play, but nobody complains about killing soldiers in those games.
I think one thing the GTA series does is show us how amoral we the players are when consequences are removed. Many of the blogs mention that the players, instead of doing the missions, end up just beating people up for enjoyment. The game does nothing to encourage this, although it does heavily encourage robbery. The money you get from beating people up is worth almost nothing in the grand scheme of things. People pick up the game and say it encourages violence when in reality it just doesn't discourage it like in the real world. In fact you do get punished by killing enough when the cops chase after you. Although it is fun to see how long you can survive with the national guard chasing after you, whenever getting chased by the cops isn't your goal to begin with, it's a pretty big penalty after two stars or so.
This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Oct 6th, 2008 at 00:47:19.
read comments (1) -
add a comment
| [October 4, 2008 09:53:01 PM]
| I've played most of the GTA games before, and I feel like I'm being a little biased towards it, so I just wanted to say at the start that a lot of this is a reaction to other people's responses to the game. It's a little extreme in places and ignores a lot of the fact that “The game IS pretty full of killing” and has a lot of stereotypes and immoral missions. I do feel that a lot of this is because it's a satire of the worst sides of our culture, and most of the game is a big parody, but sometimes the characters are big jerks no matter how you look at it. I feel I can refute that by saying even in the GTA world with GTA rules, the characters aren't 'great' people. I just feel they aren't incredibly immoral ones either. A lot of the complaints about their actions dissolve when you realize the world they live in is a bit different from the one we are in.|
A lot of the other logs seem to think the game has absolutely no sense of morality whatsoever. I've only read the ones on the very first page, but some of the things I've seen say that “the player doesn't hold responsibility for neither himself/herself nor the people around him.”, that the enjoyment is because “People love not having rules and restrictions, and they enjoy playing in a world where there are barely any consequences for their actions, and you are actually rewarded for hyper violent behavior.”, and “Morality is in no way a part of San Andreas, but I think that that is the whole point of the game. San Andreas teaches you that killing is fun, and police brutality is exciting.” I find this view to grossly mis-characterize the game. The ethical framework held by the characters is just a highly unusual, distorted one, not a nonexistent one. One of the main values that is a theme throughout all the GTA games is loyalty.
Every one of the GTA games paints loyalty as one of the prime virtues a person can have. In GTA 3 the Italian crime family tries to have your character killed because he's an outsider in the end of the first act. You have to repay this betrayal by killing the head of the family. In Vice city you're betrayed both by your old boss and by your best friend. Vercetti is pretty obviously hurt by this, even though he has no problems killing hordes of gang members and civilians. He doesn't mention the bad things his boss did. He's upset about the fifteen years he spent in prison being ignored. In San Andreas CJ is betrayed by Smoke in much the same way. CJ spends the second half of San Andreas swallowing his pride and working for the 'bad guy' police because he's concerned for his brother. In GTA 4 I'm pretty sure Nico also gets involved in crime because his family is in trouble.
These are characters that don't blink twice when shooting someone, but they still live by a code of ethics. A major theme of the games is that the characters live in a corrupt world and acting immorally is the only way to thrive. You never see any 'good' people in any of the games and the best you can hope for is honorable 'bad' people. By our standards most of the characters are amoral at best, but in the world of GTA the amoral characters are generally discernible from the pure evil ones. It's a world of different morals, not nonexistent ones.
read comments (1) -
add a comment