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    cpedraza's Grand Theft Auto : San Andreas (XBX)

    [January 23, 2012 11:14:54 AM]
    The last day of playing San Andreas was kind of a dull experience in my own opinion. Most of the time spent was driving around doing chores for the other gang member. There were several gun battles occurring but generally it got tiresome to drive one gang member to work after killing a rival gang member or picking up the protagonist’s sister. I did manage to get a low rider and compete in a DDR style mini game. But as far as gameplay, there was not anything too exciting. As far as narrative, it was pretty straight forward, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t draw two points from this hour gaming session.

    The first point draws from my previous journal entries; the idea of ethics within the game. There is one mission where I am listening to the brother and sister of the protagonist argue about her dating a Mexican. The brother says that the Mexicans are no good people and she should stop seeing him. But the sister argues that the brother along with every other gang member is blinded by ignorance and racial stereotypes. That every gang member is a mindless drone serving a cause that they believe is good but in the overall scope of it all, serves no true purpose other than destruction. I found this interesting because this game finally challenges the actions of the gang and the protagonist by saying what you are doing is blind rage. Of course I agree to this comment but does the protagonist (outside the control of the player) realize this? Does he realize that killing, stereotyping and stealing are wrong? I cannot be completely sure how the game will unfold or how the protagonist will progress in moral thought, but at least the developers have brought up the topic. If the developers had never brought up this issue, this game would be solely supportive of unethical decisions. But now, we see that at least one character is questioning the protagonist, thus questioning the player’s actions.

    The second thing that branches off this topic is the idea of stereotyping and racial tension within this game. So far we have seen that ethnicity has played a pretty significant point in this game. The Blacks hate the Mexicans, the Mexicans hate the Blacks and the Blacks hate each other if they don’t represent their colors. It is first of all silly to hate anyone else due to ethnicity, but to hate each other of the same color does draw some questions. How much does skin color actually factor into the gang’s motives? How are we, as players of the game, supposed to perceive this life style of racial tension? I believe that overall the developers do a good job of making a point of the blindness of gangs. What good comes out of racial discrimination? Yet, the gangs are fundamentally built on creating enemies due to differences such as these. The same can be said about real life gangs. Now I ask, how often do we in our everyday lives draw differences in other people and create enemies because of that (not necessarily ethnicity)?

    Overall, San Andreas is still just a game that allows players to explore an unethical world that most cannot experience. Yet at the same time how real is this game and what can be drawn about this game on a moral standpoint? This answer all depends on how the player chooses to play the game; a reckless gameplay experience or a reflective experience.
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    [January 22, 2012 11:34:26 PM]
    The second day of playing this game proved to be fairly similar to the first day. There was a lot of cussing, killing and gangster related activities occurring through the protagonist narrative. Through this second day of playing, I drew similar conclusions to my previous journal entry. Beyond the stereotypical gangster life that the player lives: murder, drugs and eating fried chicken, the overarching theme is that although the player is asked/ forced to do unethical actions, the justification for doing thus actions is to earn “respect.” Throughout the game thus far, it is clear that the player should do these actions not because they are the morally right thing to do on a global or even community scale, but they are the right thing to do on a gang related/ personal level.

    What I mean by this is that the player’s gang members continually request unethical actions not because they benefit the player’s community, but they benefit the gang that the protagonist is trying to become more acquainted with. The thing that makes it apparent of the intentions of the developers is the fact that the protagonist never comes to question his own actions. He willfully submits to achieve higher statues, to acquire more money and to become a top gang member. There is no doubt, at least at this point of the game’s narrative, that the actions the protagonist makes are justified according to the game. So when I previously asked if this game was ethical as compared to the actions within the game, it would seem to make this game further pointed to unethical with clear unethical actions within the game.

    How can a game be ethical that doesn’t question the protagonist’s unethical actions? In first person shooters such as Call of Duty, we can at least say that the protagonist must kill the enemy so that he can protect his country; our country. But San Andreas does no such thing to justify itself except by saying respect and money is all you need. This game deliberately challenges the ethical standpoints of modern society by saying it is all in the fun of it. So now, it is up the player to decide if this game is ethical without the help of the game challenging itself. Essentially, this game creates an environment where both drive by shootings and killing gang members is acceptable. This game grants the user power beyond what they can achieve in real society. It allows for the player to be unethical within the game with very few repercussions.

    To conclude, I would like to point out that one of the game’s major points so far is that trust is earned through respectable actions. Respectable actions are not on a basis if the actions are ethical or not; they are solely based on personal gain. And because the game itself never questions the actions the player chooses, it is up to the player to decide if what they are doing is justified (outside of gameplay). San Andreas clearly points to fun over moral boundaries, respect by any means necessary.
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    [January 21, 2012 10:06:14 PM]
    The first 30 minutes of was nothing that I haven’t come to expect from the series’ reputation. I have only ever played Grand Theft Auto IV but never managed to play longer than a few days. So when I was thrust back into a time portal and forced to play this 2004 Xbox game, I wasn’t sure what to expect. After revealing the main character as a young African American returning to his home neighborhood of San Andreas, the main character returns to his brother and friends in which he had previously abandoned. From a gameplay perspective, I understand why this series has attracted a large fan base. It controls relatively smoothly for a game this old, the game is open world and the player is allowed to do a variety of actions including, buying equipment, getting haircuts and breaking the law at will. The feature of allowing an open environment is fun but at the same time allows for unethical decisions to be made.

    While playing through this game, I couldn’t stop wondering if this game was ethical. Of course this series has had a bad reputation when it comes to content within the game, but what I was wondering if the game itself is unethical as opposed to the actions within the game. The player is allowed to steal cars, bikes and punch people to obtain those possessions. Most people would agree that those are ethically wrong things to do. But are the developers and this game unethical because this system is implemented? Or are they allowing the player to choose to be an ethical person? Some would argue that they are ethical developers because they allow us to choose, but others would argue that because they allow for stealing and robbing to exist, that the game itself is unethical. For example, the player is allowed to steal bikes or cars in the game to move around the city. The player can choose to walk the distance and be ethical, or they be unethical and steal transportation. We as players are granted this choice. But in other instances the player is forced to commit crimes to further the story. This is where people say that the game can becomes unethical because it is clear that the developers have forced unethical actions on us and the protagonist. It is too soon to tell if the game itself is ethical or not, but as far as I can tell, the game is ethical but the actions within the game are unethical.

    In the general scope of it all, it is clear that this game does encourage crime but at the same time we have to ask ourselves while playing this game, should I continue to cause mayhem in the city of San Andreas just because the narrative encourages it? I am only about 30 minutes into the game consisting of only a few “earning respect” missions so I cannot speak much about the overall scheme of the game thus far, but as the game progresses and I am allowed to freely roam around the city, I am sure my own ethical understandings will be put up against the “protagonist’s” own motives. This is when I can decide how ethical the game is, how ethical the developers allow the game to be and how ethical as the protagonist I am.
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    cpedraza's Grand Theft Auto : San Andreas (XBX)

    Current Status: Playing

    GameLog started on: Saturday 21 January, 2012

    cpedraza's opinion and rating for this game

    No comment, yet.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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