Tuesday 13 April, 2010
This was my first playing GTA: San Andreas, however I was prepared for the infamous violence, language, and other things characteristic of the series. In GTA: SA, you play as Carl Johnson, an African-American man who has just returned home to Liberty City. Carl feels completely like a stereotype. He lives in the ghetto, has a basketball hoop next to his house, and is a member of a gang, the Grover Street Families. Carl uses crude language, mainly curse words, when speaking to friends/ members of the gang and when he heís arrested by police. Interestingly, the police are racist by their racial profiling. While Carl had been arrested before for crimes he DID commit as a gang member, the police nonetheless assume that he has returned to continue gang operations, when in fact he has returned after the death of his mother. Itís important to note that these policemen are probably corrupt. After all, they do literally throw Carl out of the squad car, purposely in a rival gang territory. But this does not excuse Carl for actually committing crimes when gameplay begins.
Itís very hard to describe the ethics of the characters through how much Iíve played the game. While Carl is the protagonist of the story, itís very hard to describe him as a ďhero,Ē let alone a moral agent. Excluding the sympathy he has for the death of his mother, Carl nonetheless continues to be in a violent street gang. When asked if he would be willing to do stuff for the gang, he says, ďIím up for that shit.Ē Certainly, moral absolutists would consider Carlís actions always wrong. But, Carl didnít ask for this situation. This isnít to excuse his actions. Killing someone with a baseball bat and destroying property via spray paint are wrong actions. A relativist from Carlís perspective would say, it is a part of his life/ culture because of where he is born, how he was raised, and so on, while an absolutist would say heís always wrong. I think he really falls somewhere in the middle. He shouldnít do the things he does, but he is nonetheless trying to make a living and help his friends who are as close to him as family.
I only played through a few missions. I found the cutscenes that introduce the game to be fairly dull, to be honest. But, when I actually got to playing the game, I found that it was simple enough to control things. However, other elements of the game surprised me, such as eating a proper diet, exercising to increase stamina and so on. Iím not sure if the intent of the game makers was to increase the difficulty of gameplay or somehow try to make it realistic, showing that even though we consider people in gangs to be some form of ďsub-humanĒ because they do things like traffic drugs, kill, and steal, gang members are still human beings who have, in some cases, been thrust into their situations.