Monday, September 9, 2013

Go To Bed, Grand Theft Auto. You're Not Drunk Enough.

I've decided to get back into blogging, because not enough people are angry at me. I was going to wait and come up with a careful, well-reasoned article, but I'd rather jump back in with a cheap shot instead.

I've been playing Saint's Row IV and enjoying the heck out of it, because it reminds me of when Grand Theft Auto games were wild and wacky and fun and hadn't yet deluded themselves into thinking they had deep, profound things to say about American society. I was guardedly optimistic about Grand Theft Auto V, until I read this quote from Dan Houser, Rockstar's head writer and VP:

"If GTA IV was a classic New York story, [GTA V] is the endpoint of the American dream."

Yeah. Great. If we're cool, I'm going to go back to flying through the Matrix and shooting alien ships with my Dubstep gun now.

(I was also going to comment about how GTA V kind of lost me when, after 100000 games, they announced a game with three main characters and they STILL won't allow you to play as a woman. But the dialogue in geek culture has degraded to the point where even saying, "Um, women exist." is super-controversial, so I'll just leave that one there.)

22 comments:

  1. LOL dude, dats some profound s--- right there home slice. Always enjoy the wanderings of your mind Jeff. :)

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  2. I don't know.. I think with the super powers getting so powerful so quickly, SR4 has taken a step too far. SR3 was perfection though :)

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  3. Right on. As a woman gamer I have always appreciated Spiderweb games for the part that women play. I have never, and never will, go anywhere near GTA because of it's overt misogyny. and anyway, "profound things about American society", "endpoint of the American Dream"? Ya What!? It's a game, Dudes.... Get real. Get a life.

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  4. Man, I can't agree with you enough! I was extremely dissapointed with IV, I couldn't even finish it. While I had SO much fun playing SR 3, 4 and even 2. Seriously one of the better game series, who cares if it's not 'realistic'? It's epic.

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  5. Glad to see you blogging again. I enjoyed your other ones. I've also appreciated the roles that women had in your games as well. I've never played a GTA since they didn't really seem interesting to me. SR3 was a lot of fun though.

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  6. As one of the developers who worked on SR4, I'm glad it was able to coax a blog post out of you. It has been too long. :)

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  7. @Chris: Man, that game is so money. My wife would rather watch me play it than play just about anything herself.

    - Jeff Vogel

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  8. Wow I would have never thought you would be playing Saints Row, interesting! You do prove a good point though and respect your comment, however I personally am looking forward to the release in hoping that it's way better than IV.
    IV was good but, looking back it was basic due to the game being redone utilizing the RAGE game engine and not like San Andreas.

    I have been gaming on iOS for the past 2 years leaving my XBOX as a USB charging hub and collecting dust. GTA V will be the first console game that I play since Skyrim, and to boot never finished that game. These days with games like Avadon/Avernum, King of Dragons Pass, Wrestling/Booking Revolution, and so on, console gaming doesn't really appeal to me as much anymore. Another good thing is that in comparison to the price of one console game, this past year I probably spent a total of maybe $25 to $40 on game apps for iOS.

    Recently been playing Terraria and having a blast!

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  9. Horray - glad to see you back blogging, Jeff.

    Playing through GTA with Nathalie as a character would be far more fun than any of the sulky dudes they feature. Ambition... and CORRUPTION! Lots of corruption.

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  10. SR lets you have a female main character, or an alien or a zombie or robot or whatever you want. It then completely ignores that decision and all the missions play through the same regardless of the choices you made during character creation.

    The GTA games have a narrative that Rockstar are trying to force on you, in between kicking over hotdog stands and pavement-clearing. I don't think they'd settle for letting you play a woman as if she would make exactly the same decisions as a man and be treated exactly the same as a man by the other characters. That last point alone is worth thinking about. In the GTA universe characters generally are not going to afford a woman the same respect as a man. From our civilized perspective that's wrong, but it's also realistic - and that's probably more important to the Rockstar writers that offering gender diversity.

    San Andreas was a blast, but GTA IV was dull and joyless.

    SR all the way.

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  11. I feel asleep reading this article because it involved GTA.

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  12. Glad to have you posting again! Don't worry, I'm sure you'll be able to get your Anger Quota up to snuff again soon. I have nothing to add about GTA or SR, as I've played neither series, but I did lol at the title and opening sentence.

    Also, got Avernum & Friends in the Humble Weekly Sale. It was like a dream come true after so many fond memories of playing Exile III as a kid with no money to register.

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  13. The American dream being a con used by the local inbreed aristocracy to ensure that the plebs remain docile may not be the most profund thing, but that doesn't make it less true and less necessary to be said.

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    Replies
    1. It would be a different story if Rockstar was actually the slightest bit competent at trying to say meaningful things about said topics.

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  14. Awesome to have you back and blogging Jeff! I have been watching my son playing some of SR4 (I'm on yet another Gothic 2 run), and it is just nuts ... the Dubstep gun was almost enough to have my younger son play ... almost.

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  19. You mention here a good stuff. I've also appreciated the roles that women had in your games as well. I've never played a GTA since they didn't really seem interesting to me. SR3 was a lot of fun though.
    Grand Thegt Auto

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