GTA San Andreas Log No. 2
My second time playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was a bit of a different experience than the first time I entered the fictional depiction of South Central Los Angeles. Thinking about the context of our classroom discussions with regards to CJ’s story in this game is seemingly impossible, at least in the early goings of the game. The lead in the game, unlike other games, does not really have much of a choice concerning his actions. CJ does what he is told, he does not have the rein or will to not follow the life of crime and violence in San Andreas (there were these vigilante missions I encountered while driving a stolen ambulance, but they had nothing to do with the character). In this log I want to discuss the roles of accountability/justice and family.
As far as accountability goes, there isn’t any. This may also be another tongue-in-cheek reference to policemanship in the early 1990’s, but I think it has a lot more to do with the level of fun that the game has. CJ has no moral or legal consequences for the actions he does because there is a feeling of Groundhog Day-esque repetition in his life, if that makes sense. If he gets arrested he loses some money and hits the streets again, the same goes if he gets killed. This is a moral egoism type way to live life, and the game leaves it for the gamer to decide the ramifications of living that way; as long as you change the color of your car you can do as many drive-by shootings as your little heart desires.
The role of family in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is replaced by the role of the “crew” or the gang system. CJ does not have much of a family to speak of since his mother died besides his brother, Sweet. Replacing the family system is the gang. CJ’s vitality is in the hands of his crew, consisting of CJ, Smoke and Ryder. They have his back. They’re the ones that show him the ropes. They’re the ones that ultimately care about him. The game makes it clear that the people who you associate with define your situation and existence in the world. As the game progresses his responsibility to his green-clad gang becomes more in depth, while his influence and skills increase. It is an interesting construct that I imagine will be elaborated upon in more detail as the game moves on, though the seeds of male-familial bonding are already planted. CJ clearly has no desire to please or live by the standards of anyone besides his gang-friends, which is an idea that has vaguely-Kantian feelings in that he lives by standards that the gang lives by. Their creed is all that matters. Their creed is the law. Their creed dictates life in the area, not the legislative law. Situations come up and are solved by the gang; there are no jobs, there are no family responsibilities. There is only the gang.
This game experience was much more enjoyable in that there was more to do and less learning about the gameplay than the first time, though I did expect this. CJ’s story is vaguely intriguing, and I do look forward to seeing the resolution of the conflicts in the game even after I finish logging.
Rating (out of 5):