VisibleMan's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PC)
| [January 19, 2010 07:13:15 AM]
| ♪ ♩ ♫Da na na na na na na V I G I L A N T E E E E E E ! ♬ ♪ ♫|
♪ Beating up criminals... with his over-sized cellphone! ♩
♫ Cleaning up the streets with trusty pistol GLadDOS! ♪
♩ Tak'n out Ballas with an ambulance! ♫
So in case you haven't already inferred, I decided to try out the vigilante missions. Now, unless I'm doing something wrong, vigilante missions are quite difficult. To start off, you have steal a police vehicle. This generally involves driving erratically until you get some attention, but usually by the time you're in the vehicle and get the mission, you already have two stars. Next, you have to drive, often to the other side of town, to the criminal in question with the police on your tail. If, by some strike of luck, you actually find the target, you now somehow have to kill them. My method of choice was to just repeatedly ram their car until it exploded, but that didn't work too well and usually resulted in my car exploding as well. Another option might be to snag a police motorcycle, as you can fire submachine guns while riding, but I didn't have enough ammo to destroy their car that way either. The one time I did manage to take out a target, all I got was $50--nothing compared to running the ambulance service. So after multiple deaths and a pile of traffic violations, I retired as the vigilante and returned to my day job as a gangster. It wasn't very morally sound, either. Often you don't even know what you're chasing the person for, and you're expected to kill them.
Thankfully, all that manic driving practice came to good use in my next mission, where my gang drove through Ballas territory and shot the place up. I also got some more practice running people over, and dodging cop cars.
Since this was my final play of the game for the gamelog, I figured I'd have some fun and see how many stars I could accumulate. Starting with just one clip in a MAC-10 sub machine gun, I managed to get my rating up to three stars. I spent the next ten minutes running from the police and plowing through their road blocks, until I finally went out in a blaze of glory that ended with a shotgun to my face just as my forth star appeared.
If there's one thing this game excels at, it's letting off steam. You just can't be mad after a fun ten minute high-speed chase.
One interesting thing I've found is how dangerous the civilian NPC drivers are. Now that I've completed enough missions, the rival gangs open fire at me on sight. Naturally, I return the gesture--it's only polite that the bullets fly both ways. Well, this one time, the police showed up much faster than I expected and completely crammed the intersection. Well, those NPC drivers have got people to see and places to go, so they just try to plow right through; running over cop and gang member alike. Eventually, with all the bullets and collisions, cars just started exploding. Of course, I got my fair share of it; I was pinned against walls and my car was flipped over several times during this strange turn of events.
Overall, I think GTA:SA provides a fun, exaggerated environment to temporarily let loose the shackles of society. Is it an ethical game? No, hence its rating. Does it have anything to teach us about society? No, but it has a lot to teach us about ourselves. Is it fun? Strangely so.
That said, the PC port is terrible. Maybe not as bad as Red Faction: Guerrilla, but you can tell the menus were designed for a joystick, and the default control scheme is unintuitive, awkward, and unorganized. If there's one thing that bugs me more than anything on a PC game, it's a menu system that is unresponsive to the mouse. Really, it shouldn't be that hard to rewrite.
This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Jan 19th, 2010 at 07:17:50.
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| [January 18, 2010 10:59:45 PM]
| ARG! It logged me out! Of course I type up my first entry in notepad and don't have any problems, and then it decides to kick me off after writing something as awesome as my second one! GRRRR.|
So anyways, excuse while I go take out my frustration on the Ballas...
...And now for another exciting episode of GTA:SA! I'll be writing this one in first person, because I'm ANGRY! GRAW! ... ... No, actually, the last entry was awkward because it was written in third-person, and it also seemed racist and condescending for some reason (probably because I was trying to mix up how I referred to CJ). Any-who, I'm the one controlling the character, so I might as well use first person.
My last playing session ended with some rather tame missions. Needless to say, the game really kicked it up a notch. Before I knew it, I was bashing in the heads of drug dealers and intercepting drive-bys. Shortly after, I got my first weapon. I've decided to name it GLadDOS, for all the science we'll be doing.
Needless to say, the game really pushes you into committing murder regularly. Obviously, that's what the game is based around (well, besides stealing cars). I'd be lying if I said I was "put off" by it, as I'm a major FPS player, but that's not to say I think murder is ethically right. I just happen to be able to draw a line between reality and illusion.
Still, at first I wasn't sure how I felt about killing the Ballas gang members. On the one hand, it's pretty ethically-sound that (in general) murder is wrong. Yet, from a narrow and biased utilitarian perspective, I can see some possible ways to justify it. Really, the neighborhood is better off without those Grimace-like (Hurray for a McDonalds reference!) druggies. Not only are they turning "my" home into a doped-out wasteland (and in this case, I'm using "dope" negatively), but they're general assholes (I worded it a bit more nicely originally, but I'm still a bit angry about losing an hour of work).
I remember one time I was just walking around, exploring the town. I turned the corner and saw this group of four Ballas harassing this random NPC. Now, my first reaction was "Oh cool! Non-player initiated NPC interaction!", but my forth reaction was "Not in my town!"*
So, naturally, I pulled out my can of spray paint and turned their faces green with envy of my pure awesomeness. Of course, they pulled out guns, leaving me no choice but to defend myself and the hapless NPCs caught in the crossfire. Unfortunately, the motorcycle cop that pulled up as I threw the final punch didn't quite see things my way. One thing led to another, the situation escalated, and before I knew it I was stealing a police vehicle (they just make it so easy when they get off their bikes!), being chased across town (by a surprisingly lively and well-staffed police force for an area with such crime rates), getting lost, and finally being gunned down in the Northern area. My accidental reign of terror had ended in a hail of gunfire.
I woke up at the hospital. Fortunately, believing they had left me for dead, the police didn't bother to arrest me. Not so fortunately, the doctors had helped themselves to GLadDOS and dipped their hands into my wallet.
Regardless of the misunderstanding, I was still feeling bad about the mayhem I had caused. I stole an ambulance--at no protest, might I add--and drove around the city rescuing the injured and crashing into telephone poles, the latter of which creates jobs for construction and utility workers, and thus must be morally sound.
In all seriousness, driving the ambulance appears to be the most moral thing you can do in the game, although that statement could be premature since I'm not too far into it. I also noticed the opportunity to do vigilante missions while riding my stolen police motorcycle, but it didn't seem like a good time to investigate that while the po-po were hot on my tail.
In no time at all, I had managed to save more lives than GLadDOS had taken, and I made more than double the money I had had before being filled with holes. Having seemingly repaid my debt to society by charging them for medical transport (capitalism is just silly sometimes), I decided to go back to the dark side. That's not to say I abandoned the ambulance, however. It's an amazingly efficient tool at running down the Ballas gang members, who never seem to consider opening fire on the beaten up ambulance ramming into them.
Eventually, I managed to find my house and could finally end this large escapade and get back to the story.
Join me next time when I beat up the Ballas with my comically-large cellphone, mourning the loss of GLadDOS and claiming they had it coming to them.
(*Boy am I going to look silly if these things don't allow HTML. They need a preview button. And they need to extend the timeout; it's not like there's sensitive information attached to these accounts)
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| [January 17, 2010 02:12:23 AM]
| CJ, drawn back to the city of San Andreas--called back by the murder of his mother. Not even ten seconds into the game and the legally questionable background of CJ starts to form.|
Picked up by the police shortly after he gets off the plane, we meet Officer Frank Tenpenny and his two cronies--presumably dirty cops--who appear to have a connection with the murder of a fourth officer; a murder they threaten to pin on CJ if he doesn't cooperate. Although they don't ask for anything now, it's pretty clear there is going to be some legally (and morally) Grey jobs they plan to blackmail CJ into doing.
So CJ gets left in the middle of nowhere and steals a bike to ride home--he didn't even think twice about it. While it's true that he was in the territory of a rival gang, a potentially dangerous situation, was he morally justified in taking the bike? Based on the utilitarian set of ethics, the only workable ethical theory I am currently armed with, it would seem that he was justified in doing so. In stealing the bike, CJ causes the owner some unhappiness at the loss of his/her possession. However, if CJ did not take the bike, the rival gang would have found him and "busted a cap in his ass", which would undoubtedly cause him even more considerable unhappiness. Coupled with the fact that to most people in the world of GTA the theft of a vehicle is an regular incident, it seems that taking the bike does the most good, in that it does the least harm.
Alright CJ, you stole a bike; but you had to, and from a utilitarian perspective it was the right thing to do. I guess I can live with that. Now just don't go careening into traffic and cause a car to veer into a little old lady--Oh crap. I guess the "riding a bicycle" skill doesn't always translate too well into a digital game. Is it reckless endangerment to ride a bike across town when one's biking stat is zero? I'd compare it to driving drunk, except you make other people crash into things. Poor old lady.
Oh well, moving on. It's not like you meant to kill the poor white elderly woman, CJ. I'm sure a jury of your white "peers" would find you not guilty.
------- Several minutes of frantic biking later -------
Oh good, it's your mom's house. I bet you think you're safe at last, CJ... and then a large man wielding a bat comes at you screaming! OH GOD!
Oh wait, it's Melvin "Big Smoke" Harris! Oh, and hey, it's your brother, "Sweet". The whole gang's back together, just like your mother would want.
Well, time for some mayhem to put Grove Street Families back on the map. Good thing getting shot at probably isn't immoral, cause it looks like I'll be doing that a lot.
So starting small and working to gain the trust of his friends back, CJ provides a distraction for Ryder while he robs a pizza place. Not in town for even a day and I'm already playing an accomplice in a failed robbery--I can't wait to see what we get to do once we're armed.
I played a few more missions where my primary role was either driving or tagging, and then we stopped in the drive-through and things stepped up a notch.
In my next entry, I'll talk about how CJ has to mow down everyone wearing a purple shirt, and why I make him drive an ambulance.
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VisibleMan's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PC)
Current Status: Playing
GameLog started on: Saturday 16 January, 2010