DiCarloBrookens1's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)
| [November 2, 2010 08:14:56 PM]
| Today I did a mission for Officer TenPenny called “Gray Imports.” In the beginning of the mission in the cut scène, TenPenney talked about his pride in not allowing one L.A. gang to get power over another one. He also told me that there were a lot of guns coming in from South America, and that the Ballas were planning to take their gang to new levels. Then he said “I enjoy having you mindless, dumb, motherfuckers kill each other and do my dirty work.” With that, he directed me to kill a Russian who was meeting with a Ballas chief at a warehouse. However, for the first time in my gaming experience, my character CJ is notably resistant and very disturbed by TenPenny’s comments. Still, because of the large amount of false evidence he has on CJ, I ultimately do his bidding. So, I took a shotgun to the warehouse meeting, and fired on everything in sight. The Russians and the Ballas never knew who was shooting, but when I was done, everyone was dead, including the head Russian who I saved for last, and stabbed in the back. |
After playing the game, I sat and thought about what the mission said, not only about LAPD’s corruption at that time, but also the position young African American men found themselves in at that time. For example, CJ being framed by the police for killing someone, a crime he didn’t commit. Even today, years later, more and more cases are coming forward where African American men say they were wrongly convicted with the help of tampered evidence from police and prosecutors. I think that RockStar and the other creators were trying to show people outside of that world (particularly, those not in the African American community) how being from the wrong side of the tracks can get you thrown in jail, even when you’re innocent.
The storyline lets people see that police corruption was common during that time. Whether all gamers believe it reflects real life is debatable, but at least the creators are spotlighting a real-life issue.
Much like the ethical choice the police officers faced (whether to frame innocent people to make their jobs easier, or not) I faced the choice of doing TenPenny’s dirty work or not. I could knowingly keep killing targets of the LAPD (not knowing whether they were innocent like me) or I could decide not to do it and see my neighborhood get bullied by other gangs. Since I was more concerned with getting respect for my block and gang, I did the mission and killed the Russian so that my neighborhood homies could possibly get more guns to protect themselves in the street war. My situation reminded me of the Prisoner’s Dilemma where it is best to snitch on Smith to save yourself (although you haven’t done anything wrong),
but you risk putting an innocent man (Smith) in jail. In both cases, it is about choosing the lesser of two evils with neither being the ideal choice.
add a comment
| [November 1, 2010 11:55:28 PM]
| Today, I decided to play the game differently, following along only with the storyline, instead of engaging in side missions. Since I’m currently at the part of the game where I am helping my brother Sweet rebuild our neighborhood, and the Grove St. Family gang, I took up the storyline mission called Los Secupalos. In this mission, I drive Sweet, Ryder, and Big Smoke to a gang meeting with former Grove St. family leaders who have gone on to form their own gangs. During this mission, Sweet is very excited about reuniting all of those smaller gangs under the Grove St. umbrella. He wants to keep the control of the neighborhood in the hands of gang members who live there. |
On the contrary, Ryder and Big Smoke don’t seem to be that enthusiastic about Sweet’s idea. In fact, when the SWAT members break up the meeting and Sweet is left inside the hotel full of SWAT officers, Big Smoke and Ryder say” It’s every man for himself” and speed off. Faced with the choice of risking their own lives and freedom to help a homie, Ryder and Big Smoke selfishly save only themselves. Under the gun, neither exhibit dependability, a virtue important in real-life, and in this case especially, gang life. If your homies can’t depend on you, then the neighborhood’s territory will continue to get taken by rival gangs and they’ll all end up dead or in jail.
With Ryder and Smoke in the wind, it’s left to me, and I face my own ethical choices. Do I run away and leave my brother to fend for himself, or do I engage in a gunfight with SWAT in the hope of saving Sweet but where the odds are clearly against me (I mean the building is swarming with SWAT)?
I chose to engage in the gunfight because I thought it would be fun and challenging, plus I just wasn’t going to back down. CJ shows courage in the quest to save Sweet. It’s a military virtue that I needed, much like the authors describe in “The Ethics of Moral Philosophy.” I grabbed some armor and meticulously picked up about 20-30 SWAT members. When I finally meet up with Sweet, we escape by rooftop from SWAT, and then embark on a high speed chase with SAPD (the game’s equivalent of the LAPD). In the end, we get away.
I believe that once again the game player is shown the value of loyalty, along with the rewards and consequences of certain actions. For example, if you complete these neighborhood-based missions your reward is increased respect, until you gain enough to command your own small army of seven gang members. If you lose these missions you are left outside the police station with a significantly less amount of money than you went in with, no weapons (which are needed for personal protection in your dangerous neighborhood), and miles away from your neighborhood. So, if you don’t cheat, then you must travel through rival gang territory to get home. The choices are complicated, but the consequences are certain.
add a comment