Thursday 24 September, 2009
My first half hour of play was very reckless; it was like learning to ride a bike and drive a car all over again. There was a thrill attached to being able to run over people and kill them without being held morally responsible for your actions. There also seem to be a very quick conditioning that takes place that causes you to lose your value and respect for the lives of the people that you encounter during the game play.
Some of the desensitizing is created by the graphic images of blood spurting and death, which seems to be the main objective of most of the interactions between characters other than your homies. This lack of sensation takes place for the player character almost instantly. You know that your avatar character you are playing is heartless and hardcore.
In this game environment violence is encouraged and rewarded by a show of respect through the dialogue of your homies. There is a lack of justice for people on the streets and drivers of the autos that you force out of the vehicles they are driving. The police that you encounter are corrupt and seldom respond to the killings that take place every time you rub someone the wrong way. In fact the justice in the game seems to be the violence that you get to perform as you try to complete your mission.
A drug culture type of justice; kill everything in sight that happens to purposely or mistakenly gets in your way. They deserve it!
For this games environment system this is right. In the players real environment this is of coarse is wrong.
The game is an example of cultural relativism where the standards of the culture dictate what is wrong or right. In the culture of Grand Thief Auto San Andreas, killing is the right thing to do. The rules of the game support and reward this action, and the more blood you spill the more respect you seem to have. The killing is impartial; all the character types in this game are candidates for death, and it can be supported by reason; if you kill you have a good chance of living and completing the mission. This of coarse is a direct conflict with the real world of the player, since random and first degree murder is wrong.
This brings to mind a controversial dilemma that I feel one should deal with ethically. I had to ask the question, since the marketing of the game is to kids and teenagers; is this game ethically sound, is it right to market this game to youth knowing the value and justice system it supports? This argument I feel is worth investigating and will help guide designers of games to a better ethical position.