Tuesday 22 September, 2009
I went to the DePaul gaming lab to play this game and there was already another student from class playing it, so I watched her play it and discussed with her a few things about the game and helped her out since I had already played the game before.
First let me ask this, what is the point of discussing ethics and having ethics courses if no one follows ethics anyways? Why do I ask this? Well, I didn't think much of it at the time, but after the girl was done playing San Andreas she said "There, I played it for an hour and a half, so now I just need to make 3 entries on 3 different days so it looks like I played it on 3 different days". It says specifically on the homework, "Play Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, on three different occasions for at least 30 minutes each time." ... so sorry, but when I sit down now to write my game log about Ethics in San Andreas, I think just how un-ethical what she said is. I mean, I could do the same thing since I played the game before and I could just make stuff up, but to me, that would be the wrong thing to do because that would be cheating on the assignment. So I am over here trying to install San Andreas on my computer and trying to figure out why it keeps crashing or why it wont read it on my other computer and pulling my hair out trying to find drivers and stuff, and my bro went let me install it on his computer cuz he's using it all the time. And then not being able to play it at the gaming lab because someone is hogging the game for 1hr and a half cuz they want to cheat on the assignment... So, why dont I just pretend like I played the game and just make shit up? Because its the wrong thing to do, the unethical thing to do, so I wont do it. While on the other hand, it seems everyone around me is just doing the wrong thing and are acting unethical, pretending like they played the games for 3days when they are just lying. In the end, looks like I am the one suffering while everyone gets away with it. So again I ask, what is the point of discussing ethics if no one is going to follow them? Ethics isn't hard, everyone knows the difference between right and wrong, just no one follows them. We dont need a course to discuss ethics, everyone already knows whats right and whats wrong. The girl knows cheating is wrong, but still she does it... why? because no one cares about ethics, no matter how many courses they take. Man, I am starting to sound like that guy I met that worked in Japan at Bandai Namco, he majored in Philosophy and I asked him if it was a good idea to major in philosophy or not and he said "No its a waste, no one wants to think anymore now-a-days".
Okay enough ranting, I'll start writing about the game.
1: What was pretty interesting was that the girl that was playing, after playing for a while, she started getting angry. An NPC in a car swerved in front of her and she shouted something like "Get the fuck out of the way!" pretty loud and the game lab mod told her to "Keep it down". Before playing though she was pretty calm, maybe she was just getting into.
2: I thought also it was funny that we turned up the volume so we can hear what the characters are saying during the cutscene and there was alot of swearing and in particular racial swearing, so the game lab mod told us to turn down the volume even though it wasn't that loud, we could barely hear what they were saying in-game. If there wasn't any swearing, it wouldn't have been a problem, especially since we are just 'doing our homework'. I think the fact that we aren't allowed to swear in the gaming lab is retarded, alot of popular games like San Andreas are violent and have alot of swear words, so thats what a gaming lab should have... its almost like forcing us to wear business clothes to go to the gaming lab, its uncomfortable and nobody likes it. We are forced to act 'mature/professional' even though games are 'immature/non-professional'... people need to stop lying to themselves and face the facts, games are violent and have alot of swear words, so if there is swear words in a video game, or if people who play video games like to swear, its whats expected and we shouldn't be forced not to swear, at least not in a gaming lab dedicated only for video games.
My bro just let me install San Andreas on his comp and I played it for about an hour just now. I'll start fresh with whats on my mind now.
1. Alot of racist terms I noticed. If the main character was white, then this game would definately have more heat on it. hehe, I said heat... I think if the black people didn't call each other nigga here and there, this game would not feel realistic to what street life is like, and I think realism is one of the main goals in this game. It would feel out of place if they didn't call each other nigga. Also, reflecting now, I dont think they actually say nigger, but usually just nigga... I think that somewhat softens the racial shock for some people that play the game. Nigga isn't the only racist term, but also the white officer calling the cab driver a 'dirty mexican' and then apologizing to his friend that is mexican. Also that same cop calls CJ on his cell and keeps referring to him as 'boy', while CJ refers to him as 'Officer Timpanies bitch', its more comical then anything, but its worth noting that there is still that WASP racist tone in the white officers voice. If it was a lil more racist, it would be out of place. I think its kind of relevant with whats going on in the news right now with President Obama and the racist congressman who stood up and said that Obama is a liar, pretty much saying "You are a liar, boy". There is still that WASP racist feeling in the US that whites are superior to blacks and I think its something that people like to sweep under the covers... or rug. I think San Andreas does a good job of kind of giving a realistic feel of that racism that exists. I can see a white cop calling some black kid 'boy', specially because there's nothing CJ can really do about it, so that WASP racism kind of comes out. I wonder what Obama would say if he played San Andreas, being the first black president and all :)
2. After playing the game for just a bit, I already want to start talking gangsta, just for fun. Like saying things like 'busta' 'packin heat' 'ballas', kind of catchy, maybe because I remember them from when I first played the game, brings back fun memories when I was a true gangsta in the hood back in the day, u dig homie?
3. They speak of the 'Grove' as if its a living/breathing thing. Like CJ says something like "hopefully the Grove will get more active" after I took out a few drug dealers that were making people like Big Bear into slaves. The 'streets/grove' really has a human quality.
4. Just like the 'grove'... the fat guy talks about the bible as if it were a living thing. He calls it "the book". But it seems to have a darker tone to it then the bible we often refer to. He says something like, "where there is good, there is also bad", which seems a way of justifying alot of the evil things that their gang does. Almost like using the bible to justify their actions. It reminds me of Divine Command Theory and the reason why we and not even the catholic religion use that as a workable ethical theory. Pretty much the fat guy is justifying them killing and taking over the streets by using the bible and saying that they are just doing the 'bad' in-order for there to be 'good'. He is obviously mis-interpreting the bible, but it shows how simple mis-interpretations can let some people justify killing as Gods will with Divine Command Theory, kind of like the Crusades... hence why its a bad means for justifying moral actions.
5. Now that I think of it, I remember when I first played San Andreas like 3-4 years ago. I was very surprised at first that the main character was black, because there are like 0 games out there where you play as a black character. But then I thought about it and I said "this is a good thing!" I dont know how to say it without sounding racist, but gangs are more in the black community then white and so if any character should be in a GTA game, it should be a black character. Of course with the main character being black, San Andreas has a much different feel then most GTA games. For example, the storyline is more about respect, the hood, and the family. Whenever you complete an objective, you gain respect which later lets you control homies who help you out retake back your hood. In San Andreas, you can grab your homies, and ride around in your car doing drive-by's and take over turf. It's got a much more family oriented feel to it then the previous GTA games where you pretty much work by yourself to accomplish goals. I think part of that is because the main character is black and (I am generalizing) black people are more family oriented then white people who are more about taking care of themselves.
^A bit off topic, but I remember one time I was taking the bus in Chicago and it was a very black part of the city, somewhere south of Chicago, I was the only white person on the bus and felt out of place. Anyways, the bus driver stopped at a bus stop and was about to drive off but noticed a black women running to the bus, so he stopped the bus again and waited about 45secs for the women to run to the bus to get on, a decent wait time. I realized at that point, if the bus driver was white, he probably would have not waited for the person to run to the bus, because white people care more about getting things done efficiently and dont care much for others misfortunes, whether of the same race or not. Also, if there were white passengers, some people might be annoyed they had to delay their ride for 1 person. While black people, especially in the black community, try to help each other out and wont complain that they had to wait a few seconds on the bus to help someone else out that was running late. Also I think alot of black people are very social as opposed to white people who tend to keep to themselves and not talk to strangers, while blacks are more likely to make new friends. I think these examples back up the fact that San Andreas, does a pretty good job at portraying the black lifestyle where its more about family, community, and friends... something that we don't see in most games since most games hardly ever focus on black characters and communities.