Tuesday 21 September, 2010
GTA—San Andreas (Day 3)
In terms of issues, GTA: San Andreas displays a positive viewpoint on health. In the early portions of the game, when main protagonist Carl Johnston (CJ) has just been dropped off in his old hood, he comments on the prevalence of drug pushers in the area. His brother indicates they moved in when the neighborhood declined. This is a subtle prod that drugs are a handicap to normal, healthy living. During the actual play through of the game, Carl will usually receive a significant monetary reward for killing drug peddlers on the street. This acts as a positive reinforcement to specifically target the drug dealers in the game. The game’s creators have created a political statement through player incentive that removing drugs from everyday life has pleasant outcomes. This seems to imply the question: Is GTA: San Andreas influencing players to improve their health?
A supportive example of this question lies in the leveling system of GTA: San Andreas. CJ begins the game as a scrawny individual unable to run long distances. After a basic missions, the player gains access to a gymnasium where CJ can work out to improve his body. Working out is limited by realistic hindrances such as fatigue, hunger, or time. Players are forced to remember when they can next enter the gym and to monitor their character’s body. Negligence to CJ’s health results in the game’s difficulty increasing as he fattens, loses health, and cannot run. Game designers planned for players to be interactive with their character’s physical well-being. A system of rewards, for proper actions, and punishments, for negative actions, is basic psychological strategy to create and reinforce new patterns in individuals. The foundations of habits do not have to only be from the physical world. GTA: San Andreas, a digital world, has the power to influence its players. The answer to the posed question, based on the aforementioned examples, seems to be yes.
The next issue to take into account is the moral correctness of a game influencing people’s health. From an impartial viewpoint, no physical harm seems to be resultant from the game’s emphasis on healthy habits. Real world people are also not forced to follow the game’s ideas of healthy living; they can choose to accept the views or not. Reasonably, the positive outcomes also favor the idea of GTA: San Andreas promoting healthy choices. Buyer lifespan is extended providing more real-world income. From the opposite side, promoting negative health habits world be illogical. Poor health shortens players’ lives and reduces potential revenue for the GTA: San Andreas creators. Furthermore, GTA: San Andreas uses positive health as a way to increase in-game social interaction. CJ receives more compliments and attention when he is physically fit, both from females and his gang members. Furthermore, several missions cannot be completed in vehicles and rely largely on the player character’s own strength. An example of this is when CJ’s brother is set to be arrested at an intra-gang meeting. Another mission involves silently killing guards at a rappers house to obtain some secret music lyrics. Speed and endurance factor towards the players chances of both success and survival. Missions designed like these enforce the idea that, sometimes, the only reliable object around is one’s own body. These combined examples show why, in general, the game leans more favorably towards a fit, well-muscled, individual.
GTA: San Andreas creates an environment where one’s physical substance plays a key role in game success. By using non-vehicle missions, a stats system based on user-dedication to healthy living (Via exercise and food intake planning), and positive game rewards for higher personal health, GTA: San Andreas does influence players to actively manage their own health. No one suffers injury from learning positive ways of bettering themselves, and future revenue streams are prolonged by however many players decide to take a page from GTA: San Andreas.
"Missions designed like these enforce the idea that, sometimes, the only reliable object around is one’s own body. These combined examples show why, in general, the game leans more favorably towards a fit, well-muscled, individual"
Wednesday 29 September, 2010 by jp
This sort of makes sense in the context of the game, no? You can't trust the system, can't trust the government, you can only trust yourself. Right?