Saturday 4 October, 2008
After playing my second round of San Andreas, I felt the need to respond to the aspect of violence within the game. There are some ethical dilemmas surrounding almost the entire game, many of which come down to the game’s view of violence. Under normal circumstances, gunning down police officers and civilians in cold blood is a rather horrific event, especially for anyone unfortunate enough to witness it happening, but as with all GTA games, things are not ascut and dry in Rockstar's world of crime.
There are still consequences for acting out in a violent fashion, but they do not carry the same weight as they do in real life. If you shoot enough people, and run away long enough, eventually you can have the military chasing you through the streets, but the negative association isn’t “Oh no, I killed someone, now I’m being punished.” Instead, it’s become: “Crap, I took a wrong turn, and now I’m surrounded. If they catch me I lose al my guns!”
There is still negative feedback for actions that modern society would consider immoral, but the concept of “negative” is altered for the sake of the game’s story. The game’s punishment system is not meant to deter you from killing people; it is meant to provide a constant challenge, and to prevent you from killing people too often.
A player’s decision to draw a weapon is not based on, a matter of right and wrong, but rather, deciding whether or not they want to spend time trying to get away after the deed is done. Though this system is in place to at least partly regulate the game’s potential for excessive violence, sooner or later, players give in. There is just something tempting about taking out a pistol and mercilessly shooting everyone in sight.
Oddly enough, Carl can get away with a lot more in the comfort of his neighborhood. Starting a fist fight on the street will get the cops after you relatively quickly, but if you start beating up old women in Carl’s front yard, the only emergency response is an ambulance, and a couple mindless paramedics who often carry a nice amount of cash if you ‘re willing to take them down.
With the addition of codes into the mix, all bets are off. As soon as Carl is free to roam the city without worrying about his wanted level and his health bar, the gloves come off, and all potential restrictions are eliminated. Players can cut loose and shoot, stab, or rob whoever they choose. Cops become well placed weapon lockers and reload stations, and civilians; target practice. The city enters a state of chaos, and the players merely laugh at the carnage before them.