Monday 6 October, 2008
During my second game session I continued on with playing the main storyline--something that is optional in an "open world"/"sandbox style" game like Grand Theft Auto.
What I thought was interesting was that all of the missions (at least the ones I played through) had you ultimately getting involved in some sort of illegal activity. Even a trip to the cemetary to see CJ's mother's grave ends in you stealing a bike to escape a drive-by shooting. I had a very difficult time with this first mission. I really struggled with the controls and would end up getting killed or not being able to keep up with the other people on bikes.
I also noticed that it was very difficult to stay out of trouble while driving cars. The vehicles were difficult to control and really lended themselves more towards the kind of gameplay you might expect in a GTA game (driving at high speeds, running over pedestrians, driving onto sidewalks, etc). Driving at a reasonable speed or obeying other traffic laws was very difficult to do, to the point of boredom or frustration. Actually, the very first time I got to drive a car in the story mode, a large group of people walked directly in front of the car as soon as I took control. I'm not sure if this was just chance, or if the game was actually trying to temp me to run the pedestrians over!
The pattern that I was seeing here was that breaking laws and getting into trouble was almost inevitable. Even if you followed the game's own story mode, you were thrown into situations where you had to break the law. It seemed that in this way the game's ever-present law enforcement becomes viewed as an enemy by the player--someone who watches and waits for a reason to come after the player instead of someone who is there to protect them. I felt like with this view of law enforcement and inevibility of breaking the law, that perhaps the game's creators were making a social statement with this aspect of the game. Are they trying to convey how impoverished African American communities view law enforcement?