Grand Theft Auto 5 Made Me Sad.

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I feel like I should also mention something else on Trevor's introduction.

Don't complain that the characters have no context and then ignore the context clues. Gawd.

People, this Reviewer is in his mid Thirties with a Kid and a family.

He also knows very little about the Elder Scrolls series, even though he did an unboxing where he claimed he was a huge fan and couldnt even remember Cyrodill as being the home of the imperials. Sorry but hes not that intelligent and his point here isnt that well argued.

He just doesnt like the game because hes in a new stage of his life and hes trying to make a point for HIMSELF and his family, not for gamers.

Read between the lines you guys.

skywolfblue:

Mutant1988:
I think the intent is to leave your moral values on the shelf and simply indulge yourself. The motivation for your characters action is simply "Because they wanted to" and "because they can", and perhaps your escapism in this case is simply adopting that mindset, for the narrative as much as for the gameplay.

Morals are something that should NEVER be put on a shelf.

If your entire sense of right vs. wrong can be tossed aside because it's inconvenient, or because it "gets in the way of fun", then where is your foundation?

Morals are for reality. In video games, I'm allowed to do things that go against my morals. I'm perfectly capable of recognizing the actions performed as bad, but since this isn't reality, I don't feel bad about performing them.

GTA wouldn't be so popular if it didn't make doing bad things fun. That has always been the point. But the message of the narrative is perhaps that while it's fun (As a video game), it's very bad people who do this sort of things. And your enjoyment is most likely heavily dependent on whether you interpret the narrative as insignificant flavour, satire or cynical realism.

Maiev Shadowsong:

lacktheknack:

Maiev Shadowsong:
Good god. You people.

Video games are art. Video games are serious. Video games aren't just for kids, guiz. What's this? A video game that isn't happy and perfect? Violence that's horrific? Something that makes me morally uncomfortable? But I just want video games! *sadface and crying*

I can't even take this editorial seriously.

"It's just a game" is EXACTLY the same argument that people were initially trying to use.

Fascinating how the exact same thing is being said to attack someone in two entirely opposite ways. That's generally the first sign that an argument has been simplified to the point of uselessness.

...And that's exactly what you did! You didn't even address the key aspect, "I want choice", that the entire editorial is based on, because it didn't fit your easy-to-attack simplification! There should be a word for that.

Um. I didn't say it was just a game. That's the opposite of my argument. Did you read at all?

Yes, I did. I, however, did NOT claim that you said it was "just a game". Did YOU read at all?

You claimed that he doesn't like it because he just wanted a fun, unthreatening game. In the other thread, people were attacking him BECAUSE it's "just a fun game". Clearly, there's something wrong here, and I don't think it's Greg Tito.

Now, I pointed out that you constructed a simplification of his argument and attacked it, leaving out his entire damn point of not having a choice in how awful of a person he was (man, I REALLY wish there was a common, well-known word for that). Are you going to address that, or will you just quote me with a quarter-reply over and over and hope I go away?

"I don't like shows like TMZ either, why would I think it's fun or funny to engage in the exact behavior that pisses me off?"

Love the article but this pretty accurately represents my issue with this whole thing lately. That logic makes no freaking sense. You said before that you enjoyed running people over and killing random people in some GTA games yet you act like simulating TMZ is where we need to draw the line.

I don't like TMZ in real life either, nor do I like mass murderers, it doesn't mean I wouldn't enjoy doing either of those things in a video game. I mean seriously think about what you are saying, is it really so hard to imagine why what you are describing might be really fun for some people?

I like the idea of playing an asshole in a game because I'm just a normal guy in real life that stays out of people's way and I never get anything out of it, I love to play in a simulated world where I can do some things I wouldn't do in real life but could, in theory, do.

I mean it's like people arguing that realism in games is awful. "Why would anyone want to play a realistic war game? Can't you just fight a real war?"
Yes kid, you can "just fight a real war" but that's not really the healthiest thing to do, physically or psychologically.

EDIT:
"A lot has changed since 2001, when GTA III came out. I got married, had two kids, and I'm now in charge of a website dedicated to discussing the experience of games and their impact on our culture. The world has witnessed acts of terrorism around the globe, and shootings here in the U.S. are frightfully common. I don't like to watch the news; I play games for an escape from all that shit."

I never understood the escapism argument. People used it as a reason to praise saints row even though the first three saints row games did nothing but glorify gruesome gang violence, sexual enslavement, and dealing drugs. That's not escaping reality, that's glorifying some pretty dark portions of it.

If you play games to "escape" from reality than perhaps you shouldn't play video games, you may have some psychological issues that you should deal with first. Personally I feel no need to escape from the world. It's not perfect, but it's amazing. I love this world, and I accept the carnage that comes with it. Yeah some people get sad when they watch "tragedies" involving a ton of people dying but it's natural, it's part of life. We have no shortage of people buddy, these killer storms, psychotic shooters, and chemical attacks are not really horrible events, just events that affect us in a hurtful way. Sometimes you need to get a painful shot in the arm to keep you from getting an infection and experiencing something far worse. That's what those "sad stories" on the news usually are, tornado wipes out a bunch of people? Ouch that hurts, but at least we are one step closer to not starving ourselves to death as we poison our own air and water.

And on that note, I don't play games to escape reality, I play for the same reason that I watch movies, read books, and listen to music. To enjoy myself, feel something, or gain some perspective on life.

Mutant1988:

skywolfblue:

Mutant1988:
I think the intent is to leave your moral values on the shelf and simply indulge yourself. The motivation for your characters action is simply "Because they wanted to" and "because they can", and perhaps your escapism in this case is simply adopting that mindset, for the narrative as much as for the gameplay.

Morals are something that should NEVER be put on a shelf.

If your entire sense of right vs. wrong can be tossed aside because it's inconvenient, or because it "gets in the way of fun", then where is your foundation?

Morals are for reality. In video games, I'm allowed to do things that go against my morals. I'm perfectly capable of recognizing the actions performed as bad, but since this isn't reality, I don't feel bad about performing them.

GTA wouldn't be so popular if it didn't make doing bad things fun. That has always been the point. But the message of the narrative is perhaps that while it's fun (As a video game), it's very bad people who do this sort of things. And your enjoyment is most likely heavily dependent on whether you interpret the narrative as insignificant flavour, satire or cynical realism.

I kind of love that idea and hope you are right.

I love GTA but playing the games as an adult, SA is just hard to get through. Most of the things he says about GTA 5 I feel about the characters of SA now. CJ is completely amoral yet I am supposed to sit there and watch him act casual with his friends. He straight up murders someone he doesn't know because "OG Loc" told him to. That's not psychopathy, that's stupidity so deep that it makes it impossible to respect the game after that.
Oh GTA 5 had a torture scene that made you feel bad? Good, torture should probably make you feel bad sometimes. Did you feel bad during that weird scene in SA when catalina literally rapes CJ? No? Of course not because it was played for laughs.

That right there makes me want to play GTA 5 now.

Carpenter:

EDIT:
"A lot has changed since 2001, when GTA III came out. I got married, had two kids, and I'm now in charge of a website dedicated to discussing the experience of games and their impact on our culture. The world has witnessed acts of terrorism around the globe, and shootings here in the U.S. are frightfully common. I don't like to watch the news; I play games for an escape from all that shit."

I never understood the escapism argument. People used it as a reason to praise saints row even though the first three saints row games did nothing but glorify gruesome gang violence, sexual enslavement, and dealing drugs. That's not escaping reality, that's glorifying some pretty dark portions of it.

Escapism isn't about escaping reality. It's about experiencing something which you can't in reality (That, or something that you want). If you're fed up with violence and death in reality, why would you go looking for it in your entertainment?

Perhaps Greg is just at a point in his life where he doesn't want nor need to be reminded of the darker depths of human nature and human society. You could question why then he would play a game like GTA V, but you have to remember some very important things:

1: It's his job.
2: Previous GTA were very tongue in cheek with it's violence and depravity. The shift towards a more serious narrative might have taken him by surprise and might not be as appealing to him.

But most of all, he criticize but one single aspect of the game. You don't have to share his view on it and might, by his description of it, rather be intrigued by the things that he finds unappealing. Thus my comment above about your enjoyment being heavily dependent on whether you interpret the narrative as insignificant flavour, satire or cynical realism. If not, then at least the rest of the review would give you an indication on whether this game is fit for you or not.

But he gave us his opinion on the game and that is arguably the point of a review. At least in equal measure with consumer information ("This is what the game is").

Mutant1988:
Morals are for reality. In video games, I'm allowed to do things that go against my morals.

Laws are for reality. Laws lay out consequences for your actions.

Morals are the foundation for knowing/doing right vs. wrong for your soul. It means what kind of person you are even when when there are no consequences, nobody gets hurt, and nobody is watching. Sitting there contemplating murder isn't lawfully wrong, but it is morally wrong.

"Character" is also another term for it, the substance/glue that makes up who you are and what your thoughts consist of. It most certainly carries over to virtual worlds and video games.

Games allow for a lot of player agency. You make choices on who to shoot, not the TV making choices for you. The choices you make in games to some small extent reflect on your real life character. (I'm not saying that everyone who plays GTA is a mass murderer. But rather if that type of activity is something you really enjoy, perhaps it's time to do a little soul-searching)

Mutant1988:
I'm perfectly capable of recognizing the actions performed as bad, but since this isn't reality, I don't feel bad about performing them.

"Even though I knew the actions were wrong, since there are no consequences (AKA, "it's not real"), I don't feel bad." At least that is how I read it.

Sexual Harassment Panda:

What am I saying? I fully understand, but my experience has been different. I am a little younger than you, Greg. My older brother seems to have gone off violent-media. Who knows, maybe I'll follow suit soon enough.

Wouldn't count on it though.

I am Tito's age and I am a bit put off by violence without a meaning in games. And that said, there is still a glaring double standard and a flaw in the argument that can't be boiled down to not liking violent games anymore. I made that point extensively, as well as others: you can't criticise this game as being worse in the violence department as any of its predecessors. Subjective though opinions are, they are still subject to arguing, and that is what a review is: arguing in support of an opinion. Had Greg's argument been anything other than a sequence of feet shoved in his mouth, by saying that the older games were somehow different, I'd be fine with a 1 for the game. I guess that I care because a) his kind of writing is below par for an editor of a magazine and b) when I think of it, it is quite fun to hold GTA's world into scrutiny and see it as the embodiment of all modern vice.

skywolfblue:

Morals are the foundation for knowing/doing right vs. wrong for your soul. It means what kind of person you are even when when there are no consequences, nobody gets hurt, and nobody is watching. Sitting there contemplating murder isn't lawfully wrong, but it is morally wrong.

Good then that murdering a fictional character in a fictional world is so far removed from contemplating actual murder as you could possibly get.

And I would argue that without consequence (As in, real objective consequence, not just subjective), everyone would do horrible things because then those things wouldn't be horrible things.

You seem to believe that morals are an incorruptible truth, as opposed to just being our means to co-exist and grow as a group of living, thinking individuals.

I'm fine with setting aside my moral sensibilities when doing so in no way affects my ability to co-exist peacefully with other humans.

Basically - What I do with fictional characters have no bearing on what I do towards actual real people, so I have a freedom that I do not have in reality. So then why do I use this freedom to perform acts that would be horrible in reality? Simple: Out of curiosity and visceral thrill.

All I can say is that this new wave of social justice makes me sick. For all reviewers I would sugest to go an take a look at history of Hollywood and how the Hays Code got introduced.

Then go an see movies like "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" and "Lock, Stock and two smoking barrels" to see how several totally morally bankrupt characters make good story.

Now, I'm a PC gamer so GTA5 is a long wait for me, but given the past GTA games, I fully expected horrible human beings as main, and really all character in games. They never did have redeeming features worth mentioning. I actually found idea that your team had full blown psychopath or sociopath on refreshing since it's one of the rare times when game is honest about character.

Thyunda:
I feel like I should also mention something else on Trevor's introduction.

Don't complain that the characters have no context and then ignore the context clues. Gawd.

Then that's on me, man. I didn't play through the DLC for GTA IV, so I didn't make the connection.

Still, I feel like demanding the player to have played all previous pieces in a series in order to undertand context is another example of poor storytelling. The way the scene plays out I have no way of knowing whether he's an important character or not.

And Ashley looks pretty scabby to me.

Greg Tito:

Thyunda:
I feel like I should also mention something else on Trevor's introduction.

Don't complain that the characters have no context and then ignore the context clues. Gawd.

Then that's on me, man. I didn't play through the DLC for GTA IV, so I didn't make the connection.

Still, I feel like demanding the player to have played all previous pieces in a series in order to undertand context is another example of poor storytelling. The way the scene plays out I have no way of knowing whether he's an important character or not.

And Ashley looks pretty scabby to me.

Eh it's cool. I wasn't totally serious in criticising you, I had a feeling you didn't play everything GTA. The clues, though, would've been in Trevor's subsequent rampage against the Lost and Johnny's biker leathers. I found the scene quite sad not because Trevor's a psychopath, but because as Johnny kept saying, Ashley was the death of him. That guy had clearly gone downhill. Him trying to pull Ashley off the drugs is what led him to Los Santos and drugs himself.

And...okay she's scabby. But I was trying to draw attention to it not being just any scabby woman, but the scabby woman who had a history of getting her biker boyfriend to beat up her dealers.

carnex:
All I can say is that this new wave of social justice makes me sick. For all reviewers I would sugest to go an take a look at history of Hollywood and how the Hays Code got introduced.

Then go an see movies like "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" and "Lock, Stock and two smoking barrels" to see how several totally morally bankrupt characters make good story.

Now, I'm a PC gamer so GTA5 is a long wait for me, but given the past GTA games, I fully expected horrible human beings as main, and really all character in games. They never did have redeeming features worth mentioning. I actually found idea that your team had full blown psychopath or sociopath on refreshing since it's one of the rare times when game is honest about character.

I'm not trying to change the game or condemn it. I think it has a right to exist just like anything else. I just didn't think it was as good or entertaining (story/character wise) than ANYTHING on offer in The Good the Bad and the Ugly, and Lock Stock. Shit, Reservoir Dogs is one of my favorite films. But even that had threads of character you could sympathize with and the shocking scenes were played bursting with context and drama instead of just being shocking.

If the Trevor scenes or the CEO thing I mentioned played out half as well as Mr. Blonde cutting off the cop's ear, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Greg

A character doesn't have to be likeable to be worth reading/watching/playing their story. They just have to be interesting.

GodzillaGuy92:

Frybird:
I cannot possibly imagine that GTA has nothing to "let them in on the joke"...they basically would have to cut out stuff shown in the trailers and TV Spots for this to be true.

Interesting. This is news to me. Would you mind sharing some examples?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bf38HiYPMiI
You just need to look at the "Michael" and the "Trevor" Part, and the way thier statements cut to other footage, no one can tell me that this isn't highly sarcastic to the point of being tongue-in-cheek.

Other than that, outside the Trailers, it's GTA, you buy guns at stores called "Ammu-Nation", the main News Network is again called "Weazel News", thier Facebook is called "LifeInvader"....

Frybird:
I'd agree, but the problem for me is, both the Review and the Editorial fail to comment on that. It just scolds the game for giving the characters insufficient motivations (despite pointing out that they are driven by "malaise, greed and psychosis", wich usually is a sufficient motivation even in real life) and is sad about a darkly satirical game about crime and the shallowest of american lifestyles because these things are dark and sad.

The motivations make sense, but they still make for an unlikable character, and what the article and review argue is that the game lacks the proper context to render those motivations satisfying on some level - either by making the characters sympathetic despite these flaws or communicating to the audience that the characters are unlikable by design - thus leaving the audience by itself in its attempt to derive meaning from the events depicted in-game. Though I am in full agreement that the implication that "games should only ever be fun and never attempt to evoke a negative emotional response" is horribly misguided.

Everything in the Article seems to point out exactly that the characters are unlikeable by design. It's just that the game (luckily) doesn't seem to draw stink-lines or devil horns on them.

EDIT: Sorry, major error here, fixed now, need to go to bad

[...]the criminals of Grand Theft Auto V are depicted as turning to crime to escape their social circumstances[...]

One of wich is a rich guy with a midlife crisis and another one a psychopathic red-neck.....i really don't understand how one can misunderstand that those characters as "justified" in thier actions even if the game plays out from thier perspecive, where of course they probably do not wallow in self-loathing over everything they do.
Again, look at things like "Arrested Development", where almost all characters are horrible people acting selfish, annoying and dumb, and it does not need the narrator making statements about how horrible these characters are because it's pretty self-evident.

It's funny because I understand. I think I need at least one character I can like in a movie or tv show: one of the reasons I could never get into Breaking Bad.
But I don't find that necessary in a game. I still don't expect much of a story or characters you can feel for in games. Shallow characters and contrived missions are what's always made up GTA games; even gta4 as much as everyone wouldn't like to admit it.

I've "grown up" and had kids since I first played gta too, I just never expected GTA to grow up too.

Anyway, I'm glad that there's one reviewer who at least isn't overrating it. I prefer a review to underrate than overrate a game.

First of all, you've gotten old, you said so yourself. You aren't the intended audience anymore.
Even so, it still doesn't make your review less important, I'm actually more miffed about the whole DA2 thing.

You've given the people that generally don't like GTA games another reason to stay away and you've given people that aren't that up to mindless murder anymore a reason to stay away.

Good for you.

Now, to what I find bloody hilarious. People criticizing story in a fucking GTA game. I simply laughed through your whole review and I don't even like the games. But it's so silly.
And it sounds like the perfect GTA game, where they don't try to justify the shit you do. God job R*.

Anyways, magnificent review.

Izanagi009:

Just out of question, what do you see Saint's row as? Because It had split off from GTA's seriousness after the first game and became an extended reference-fest full of crazy for the sake of crazy and nothing else.

I can agree that It is lazy to an extent based on your definition but I can't deny that I laughed

I see Saints Row's narrative as fairly infantile, to be honest. The actual gameplay is pretty good and true to the original GTA open world philosophy, but the story is a juvenile power fantasy rounded out with spurious pop culture references. I did laugh at moments, but it was less of an intelligent satire and more of a childish parody.

There are a couple of moments in Saints Row II where characters die, and the appeal to pathos was so jarringly out of place with the gratuitous violence meted out to other characters that I started skipping all the cutscenes because the narrative was lost on me.

M920CAIN:
Dude wrting this article, let me give you some examples:
1. In Skyrim you can sacrifice a best friend (follower) for a Daedra named Boethiah in order to get some piece of armor

how exactly is that a bad thing?
most of the time the death of a followers is just an inconvenience and even when alive there still are an inconvenience who blocks doors. most follower are pack mules with little to no back story. I once once killed a follower for being annoying. At least sacrificing a pack mule for armor is useful as opposed to killing one for being annoying. The armor even if it's not used is still worth more then the life of one follower.
That says something about the writing in skyrim.

Jiveturkey124:
People, this reviewer is in his mid thirties with a kid and a family.

He also knows very little about the Elder Scrolls series, even though he did an unboxing where he claimed he was a huge fan and couldn't even remember Cyrodill as being the home of the imperials. Sorry but he's not that intelligent and his point here isn't that well argued.

He just doesnt like the game because hes in a new stage of his life and he's trying to make a point for HIMSELFand his family, not for gamers.



If a game makes the player uncomfortable, makes the player think about their actions, not in an "Oh god" why but in a "Why did I just do that,that's not what I wanted" way, there's a problem. Especially in a game that supposedly gives so much player agency as GTA V. If the player doesn't feel like they have control, doesn't feel the character's actions are justified, and doesn't feel they are enjoying it, why rate it higher than games the player finds more fun?

Final Point/TL;DR
Yes, he's trying to make his point. He's a reviewer. Greg Tito gets paid to make his SUBJECTIVE OPINION known.
And as someone who cares about the industry, he asks why we don't ask for proper motivations. Why it's too much to want for fully developed characters from the company that gave us John Marston, and toted it's characters in every trailer. Since when is being "the bad guy" an excuse to skip out on characterization? Why must players be forced to commit heinous crimes, when every other aspect of the game promotes choice? Why is controversy included simply for the sake of it?

Do I feel he knocked off too much for a narrative (which most people won't finish, as they focus on free roaming and online) he didn't personally ethically agree with? Yeah, especially when he said the rest of the game played well (except maybe for the auto aim). However, the fact that he is so willing to stand by his points and defend them is something to at least be admired, and not simply dismissed as a result of him having a family.

Calabi:
I think this game is a reaction to the criticism of their games in the past especially the so called cognitive disson... whatever.

Who else could do the things the player does except for psychotic evil crazy people. They've now made those characters, they havent tried to jusify things. Which in my opinion is worse. Good people justifying bad things you end up with alot worse happening.

The whole world of GTA are sort of this nihilistic social commentary nightmare world, where everyone is an arsehole or crazy. You dont really feel bad about doing anything in it because everyones bad(well I dont). Its roleplay not real.

I cant wait to play it.

I wonder, when did gamers (seemingly) become such pussies? Earlier in the year we had people complaining about the violence in Bioshock Infinite because violence-in-an-FPS someone call the cops! And now people crying because the characters in GTAV are morally reprehensible? Suck it up, people. Good job on not finishing that cognitive youknowwhat phrase, a turn or phrase that needs to taken out back and shot if ever there was one.

Wow just wow. And this guy "Greg Tito" is serious about calling himself a games critic?
Giving GTA 5 a 70/100 because the characters are "horible persons" is rediculous. While this same person gave Splinter Cell Conviction ( a game in which you interrogate people with torture) a 100/100. Well, that's whay we call a hypocrit. And game critics are supposed to comment on a game in an as objective way as possible. That's who so many critics give points for graphics quality, then storyline etc and combine those for the final score.

And it's a freaking game! "Oh no, I'm gonna play a terrible person". Are you seriously kidding me? In so many games you can be a terrible person.

And also gives Saints Row 4 a 100/100. A game in which the characters are at least as "horrible persons" as the characters in GTA 5. Not to mention that GTA was the huge inspiration for SR in the first place. GTA created the genre. In SR killing people is portrayed as normal, necessary, expendible, etc. While in GTA you always get the message that doing that is wrong, like police chasing you after killing somebody. In SR you go kill people in gameshow like events & for movies in which they kill real people to "make it realistic".

I can't take this review serious, not even the least. Did this guy receive money for braking down GTA or does he get money to give other games a 100? That's the only thing I can think of when somebody gives GTA 5 a 70 for "terrible persons" while at the same time giving 100 to a game with torture and 100 to a game which glorifies violence even a lot more than GTA does.

(Or is this reply now going to get censored away? I've heard that's a common practice here.)

Greg Tito:

carnex:
All I can say is that this new wave of social justice makes me sick. For all reviewers I would sugest to go an take a look at history of Hollywood and how the Hays Code got introduced.

Then go an see movies like "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" and "Lock, Stock and two smoking barrels" to see how several totally morally bankrupt characters make good story.

Now, I'm a PC gamer so GTA5 is a long wait for me, but given the past GTA games, I fully expected horrible human beings as main, and really all character in games. They never did have redeeming features worth mentioning. I actually found idea that your team had full blown psychopath or sociopath on refreshing since it's one of the rare times when game is honest about character.

I'm not trying to change the game or condemn it. I think it has a right to exist just like anything else. I just didn't think it was as good or entertaining (story/character wise) than ANYTHING on offer in The Good the Bad and the Ugly, and Lock Stock. Shit, Reservoir Dogs is one of my favorite films. But even that had threads of character you could sympathize with and the shocking scenes were played bursting with context and drama instead of just being shocking.

If the Trevor scenes or the CEO thing I mentioned played out half as well as Mr. Blonde cutting off the cop's ear, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Greg

That my be, but the way you presented things smells squarely of your personal preference rather then some objective truth. And even that is valid criticism IF you state it's someting that you can se personally bugging you.

On the other hand, all I can deduce from your text is that we are taking an untouched and concentrated view of few really deplorable human beings. CEO thing makes perfect sense. You are executor, a technician. There is no need for you do know what is the greater picture. You get the job and you do it. To compare it to Vice City since you invoke it repeatedly, there you get to kill a bunch of construction workers. It's a mission you have no choice about. Same with bunch of Chinese laundry workers. And the fact that it's never mentioned again? In Vice City you slaughter army unit in the middle of city and steal a tank in plain sight of everyone else and that is not mentioned again. And yet you praise that game.

As for the rest, every character in every GTA game is stereotype turned up to at least 25 on 1-10 scale realizing 250% of it's potential. That's why the game is so compeling to people. No one was ever spared. Remember redneck that was drinking Battery Acid, or rock stars that cheered you on while you ran over people? That too is Vice City. And that teen star sex tape is something I really love about Rockstar even if I don't like all their games. After Hot Coffee they decided to give middle finger to moral outrage, just as an artist should do if he/she feels compelled.

In the end, your complaints are perfectly valid from a personal standpoint if you said that those things are problematic to you. Say I'm 35, married and with children therefore i don't have same preferences. Your article comes off as "I'm 35 therefore I know better"

I'm not trying to shame you or anything like that. i'm just trying to point out inconsitancies and problems with how your article came through. At wery least how it came through to me. GTA was always about doing iredimable things with not knowing full spectrum of conseqences. Somehow you text reminds me of Tommy's mom in Vice City and that finally made me smile.

Frybird:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bf38HiYPMiI
You just need to look at the "Michael" and the "Trevor" Part, and the way thier statements cut to other footage, no one can tell me that this isn't highly sarcastic to the point of being tongue-in-cheek.

Ah, these I've seen. I'm not sure where the sarcasm lies in Trevor's segment, given that the trailer plays his psychopathy pretty straightfaced; the problem lies in whether we're supposed to find him abhorrent for this or we're instead meant to perceive it as endearing in a backwards sort of way. The tone of the trailer seems to suggest the latter, what with the combination of the background music and the multitude of clips depicting Trevor doing a lot of fun-looking things such as bailing out of a car a split-second before it collides with a train. If that is the case, the game wants us to like Trevor's psychopathy when the player is instead put off by it, in which case the characterization is unsuccessful in what response it's attempting to evoke.

Michael's trailer is a bit more layered, with numerous instances of ironic juxtaposition much as you've described. But again, the tone of the trailer doesn't point to an intended audience reaction of disgust. It shows him doing bad things, sure, but it also goes out of its way to provide relatable reasons for this that are clearly intended to make you feel sympathy towards him. One of the very first images in the trailer is Michael wearily taking a drink as his son screams at him from across the house. Little more than ten seconds later, said son selfishly complains about having to support his father through his midlife crisis as Michael looks on with a pained facial expression. Not to mention the fact that his wife is plainly cheating on him. "I'm rich, I'm miserable! I'm pretty average for this town," Michael says. Those lines encapsulate his plight, and it's not a plight that suggests you're supposed to hate him - and, indeed, the trailer doesn't make you hate him because the overbearing presence of the life he's suffered through up to this point renders the accompanying scenes of punching and bank heists an attractive, liberating quality. It's a great trailer for a game in which you're meant to have fun being a criminal; it's extremely dissonant, on the other hand, for a game that ends up making the player feel guilty about those actions.

Frybird:
Other than that, outside the Trailers, it's GTA, you buy guns at stores called "Ammu-Nation", the main News Network is again called "Weazel News", thier Facebook is called "LifeInvader"....

And that's what I was talking about when I pointed out the difference between the social satire of Starship Troopers and that of GTA V. In the former, the characters support the clearly-evil government, thereby communicating to the audience that you're meant to dislike them despite their being the protagonists. For GTA V's satire to be comparable, the protagonists would have to be Ammu-Nation spokesmen, Weazel newscasters, Lifeinvader employees, etc. Instead, they turn to crime to break out of that society, which is something the audience naturally roots for, and this in turn suggests that you're supposed to view their actions and behavior as justified (as is the case with the Michael trailer). If, instead, the characters take their unlawful lifestyles too far in the player's eyes and the story does nothing to indicate a stance that they have become as bad as, or worse than, the society they're rebelling against in the process, then it's made them unsympathetic in a way that counteracts what the story is trying to accomplish and leaves the player feeling sullied by the whole thing.

Frybird:
Everything in the Article seems to point out exactly that the characters are unlikeable by design. It's just that the game (luckily) doesn't seem to draw stink-lines or devil horns on them.

One of wich is a rich guy with a midlife crisis and another one a psychopathic red-neck.....i really don't understand how one can misunderstand that those characters as "justified" in thier actions even if the game plays out from thier perspecive, where of course they probably do not wallow in self-loathing over everything they do.
Again, look at things like "Arrested Development", where almost all characters are horrible people acting selfish, annoying and dumb, and it does not need the narrator making statements about how horrible these characters are because it's pretty self-evident.

If your characters are unlikable, be they the antagonists or the protagonists, then drawing devil horns is a necessity - it's just that, in a satire, the devil horns should ideally be small enough that the audience has to do a bit of work to find them. Pointing out the depravity of your own characters in no way precludes skillful, subtle storytelling, as long as the act of pointing it out is done skillfully and subtly. Not bothering to point it out in the first place is no substitute for this, because if you don't, the audience will assume that the story is trying to draw halos over the characters' heads instead.

Woo, I have a profile on here. Don't even remember making an account on here. Anyway, I'll be copy & pasting whats I wrote on reddit to this thread, because it seems that the writer needs to replay a few games to see how things normally work. Also, I find it hard to believe that this wasn't just done to gain views by creating controversy. Anyway, he's the post:

"SMH.... That just reads like he forgot how every other Rockstar game was. Especially the part where he mention how RDR & VC has reasons for their protagonists to do bad things. Vercetti did it for money and later to take over the crime world there. For Marston, he was a criminal given another chance if he rounded up his old gang-mates, and he only reluctantly went along with it bitching and screaming at everyone the entire time. Neither of them had any reason to do the bad things, they did them because they wanted to.

And for all his griping about the missions like the lifehacker and torture, you go through 3 or 4 of those every game. In GTA3 you started a gang war by killing the leader of a gang YOU were a part of just so that you'd become rich from it. In SA there were tons of missons were CJ would be called up telling him about the horrible things that were able to happen because of what he did. And in GTA4 you kill the best friend of one of the main characters of the DLC, the whole diamonds/impossible trinity storyline is everyone doing terrible, terrible things just so that they can get a hold of the diamonds and become filthy rich. There is literally nothing new in a mission screwing you over by having the guy you're working for plan something horrible.

What has basically happened is that now the writer has grown up he doesn't like these types of games anymore, he doesn't want to play a gta-type game. He's gripes could fit any of the games in series, and instead he'd rather look through rose tinted glases at the past games and pretend that it's all gone down hill with GTA5. It hasn't, it's still the same thing. The only thing that's changed is him.

TL;DR: Greg needs to go back and reply the old games, go "oh my god, that's horrible!" at the dozens of bad things the games force you to do, and then review gta5."

Edit: Fixed up a few typos and stuff. Also, I'd like to say it again. Greg, the game hasn't changed at all, it's just that you've gotten older and gone away from things like this.

I was hyped as hell to play GTA V but after I read what you wrote, maybe I'll wait some more.
From what it seems , V suffers from the same problems of Ballad of Gay Tony.
In TBGOT everyone was an ass and hated each other, even Luis' mother bullied him. You could hang out only with your cousins and all they said was that you were a "dumb fagg*t". After the middle of the game I just started skipping all the cutscenes because I couldn't take it anymore.

So, your problem seems to be that the narrative isn't happy puppy rainbows or whatever. The narrative was sad, and that's bad? Every book, movie, play or videogame has a story to tell. Some are sad, some are happy, some are violent. But its all art. You totally missed... Something here. Obviously "the point" for one, but something else entirely. The V story is so multilayered... Eh, screw this. I can't change a mind that claims it was "sickened" by one of gamings best narratives to date.

MinionJoe:

I did no such thing. Which is why I asked you a question. Nice avoidance though. :)

You phrased it in such a way that presupposes the answer. But then, I answered your question. You just didn't like the answer.

I suppose I should have known you weren't serious the second you phrased it that way. But now I know.

debtcollector:
So, if someone was to publicly assassinate a head of state while s/he was making an address, that wouldn't "induce fear in the general populace"?

Of course the media can create hysteria about anything, that's not the point. The point of terrorist acts generally is "You, the common guy, can be next to get hit. Also, we don't like you." Killing one particular person is an assassination. It's set to get rid of one person, not to get *everyone* else afraid.

Why publicly? Mafia has been doing that for ages. It's just the way of some people. If a crimelord's car blows up, nobody calls that a terrorist act.

Since these days, even beating up a cop can be called terrorism, it's easier if you put it into a historical perspective. Say, middle ages:

- killing a king would be an assassination
- burning random houses at night to get the populace of the town fearful would be terrorism

Does the mission fit the game? I don't know, it seems kinda pointless, but it's been very long since I've played a really good mission in any shooter.

Greg Tito:

If the Trevor scenes or the CEO thing I mentioned played out half as well as Mr. Blonde cutting off the cop's ear, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Greg

As i read the review and this article I was trying to come to grips with your problems with the main characters when this very movie came to mind.

None of the characters in Reservoir Dogs is portrayed as anything but a stone cold killers. With nothing redeemable about them except for Mr White's loyalty to his fellow gangster. Even the cop kills a lady once he has been shot, making his moral transformation into the criminal he has emulated complete.

Mr Blond tortures the cop for NO REASON at all. None, he says so himself in one great line "Listen kid, I'm not gonna bulls**t you, all right? I don't give a good f**k what you know, or don't know, but I'm gonna torture you anyway, regardless. Not to get information. It's amusing, to me, to torture a cop. You can say anything you want cause I've heard it all before. All you can do is pray for a quick death, which you ain't gonna get."

There is nothing, and a i repeat nothing to be gained from this. He will not get any useable information. It is clear, and simple pleasure.

I enjoy the scene it is beautifully written. Madsen plays a fantastic psychopath. It is however gratuitous violence pure and simple.

I would like to know is it the interactiveness of GTAV that makes you shy away? Is that why it wasn't handled well? What makes watching the violence better than experiencing it digitally?

carnex:

That my be, but the way you presented things smells squarely of your personal preference rather then some objective truth. And even that is valid criticism IF you state it's someting that you can se personally bugging you.

On the other hand, all I can deduce from your text is that we are taking an untouched and concentrated view of few really deplorable human beings. CEO thing makes perfect sense. You are executor, a technician. There is no need for you do know what is the greater picture. You get the job and you do it. To compare it to Vice City since you invoke it repeatedly, there you get to kill a bunch of construction workers. It's a mission you have no choice about. Same with bunch of Chinese laundry workers. And the fact that it's never mentioned again? In Vice City you slaughter army unit in the middle of city and steal a tank in plain sight of everyone else and that is not mentioned again. And yet you praise that game.

As for the rest, every character in every GTA game is stereotype turned up to at least 25 on 1-10 scale realizing 250% of it's potential. That's why the game is so compeling to people. No one was ever spared. Remember redneck that was drinking Battery Acid, or rock stars that cheered you on while you ran over people? That too is Vice City. And that teen star sex tape is something I really love about Rockstar even if I don't like all their games. After Hot Coffee they decided to give middle finger to moral outrage, just as an artist should do if he/she feels compelled.

In the end, your complaints are perfectly valid from a personal standpoint if you said that those things are problematic to you. Say I'm 35, married and with children therefore i don't have same preferences. Your article comes off as "I'm 35 therefore I know better"

I'm not trying to shame you or anything like that. i'm just trying to point out inconsitancies and problems with how your article came through. At wery least how it came through to me. GTA was always about doing iredimable things with not knowing full spectrum of conseqences. Somehow you text reminds me of Tommy's mom in Vice City and that finally made me smile.

This, a thousand times.

Add to that list of despicable deeds the stone cold murder of Madd Dogg's agent. If in GTA V the pseudo Steve Jobs gets shot on Michael's behalf, on that mission in San Andreas, you're the one pulling the trigger. Or rather, sending a car down a pier complete with the agent's mistress, who is just there to scream in desperation. This is before you're mowing down a family on a combine harvester, complete with limbs flying out of the other end.

Also, the assessment that the world of GTA is amped up to eleven as it is is also pretty valid. Even in mechanical terms, cops and law enforcement show as little regard for human life as you do; Vice city even had them brutalizing people in the streets. Radio djs are dark caricatures and stereotipes reduce to their most self serving aspects, actors shoot people on talk shows out of the bat, the ENTIRE universe of GTA is unhinged and distilled to the worst in human nature. Again, I'm reminded of Ricky Gervais or Armando Iannucci's very grim sense of comedy.

Greg Tito:

carnex:
All I can say is that this new wave of social justice makes me sick. For all reviewers I would sugest to go an take a look at history of Hollywood and how the Hays Code got introduced.

Then go an see movies like "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" and "Lock, Stock and two smoking barrels" to see how several totally morally bankrupt characters make good story.

Now, I'm a PC gamer so GTA5 is a long wait for me, but given the past GTA games, I fully expected horrible human beings as main, and really all character in games. They never did have redeeming features worth mentioning. I actually found idea that your team had full blown psychopath or sociopath on refreshing since it's one of the rare times when game is honest about character.

I'm not trying to change the game or condemn it. I think it has a right to exist just like anything else. I just didn't think it was as good or entertaining (story/character wise) than ANYTHING on offer in The Good the Bad and the Ugly, and Lock Stock. Shit, Reservoir Dogs is one of my favorite films. But even that had threads of character you could sympathize with and the shocking scenes were played bursting with context and drama instead of just being shocking.

If the Trevor scenes or the CEO thing I mentioned played out half as well as Mr. Blonde cutting off the cop's ear, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Greg

An opinion is only as good as the argument for it. Carnex made a lot of good points to which I added my own. Frankly, if you're gonna be contrarian, you need stronger writing to back it up. Trying to draw a comparison between GTA V and the predecessors is ultimately self defeating and only emphasizes the weakness of your argument once it's pretty well established that the games you compare favourably to this one have the exact same things you perceive as a flaw in this installment. Which is all the more baffling when there *are* valid points one could make. I would definitely see where you'd be coming from if you mentioned that the graphical advancements makes these scenes feel more uncomfortable. Instead, however, you create a strawman to attack, and one that can be easily be picked apart by the fact that nigh on every character ever in the colective GTA universe is as big a hateful dick as Michael, Franklin, or even Trevor.

And I have to say the smugness with which you claim

Shit, if you have soul, you should probably stop reading too.

before describing that Michael assassination scene is frankly patronising and makes a statement like "I'm not trying to change the game or condemn it. I think it has a right to exist just like anything else." sound quite a bit hypocritical.

Again, your right to an opinion is undisputable, but you'd do well to back it up without such flimsy argumentation. There are valid points. People grow out of the games they once loved, the levels of photorealism might wanna make developers think twice before including gratuitous violence in their games, all of this makes much more sense in my head than hearing you complain about the new characters being about nothing more than the violence when examples of wanton disgosting sociopathy are just as abundant in the previous installments and are the franchise's hallmark. Dust off the PS2, revisit those games and see for yourself.

lacktheknack:

Maiev Shadowsong:

lacktheknack:

"It's just a game" is EXACTLY the same argument that people were initially trying to use.

Fascinating how the exact same thing is being said to attack someone in two entirely opposite ways. That's generally the first sign that an argument has been simplified to the point of uselessness.

...And that's exactly what you did! You didn't even address the key aspect, "I want choice", that the entire editorial is based on, because it didn't fit your easy-to-attack simplification! There should be a word for that.

Um. I didn't say it was just a game. That's the opposite of my argument. Did you read at all?

Yes, I did. I, however, did NOT claim that you said it was "just a game". Did YOU read at all?

You claimed that he doesn't like it because he just wanted a fun, unthreatening game. In the other thread, people were attacking him BECAUSE it's "just a fun game". Clearly, there's something wrong here, and I don't think it's Greg Tito.

Now, I pointed out that you constructed a simplification of his argument and attacked it, leaving out his entire damn point of not having a choice in how awful of a person he was (man, I REALLY wish there was a common, well-known word for that). Are you going to address that, or will you just quote me with a quarter-reply over and over and hope I go away?

I don't care what other people were attacking him for and it's not relevant to what I said in the slightest, no matter how hard you try to make it. You can't use someone else's argument as a launching point for mine. Either try again using actual logic, or stop pretending to be making a real point.

Mutant1988:
Good then that murdering a fictional character in a fictional world is so far removed from contemplating actual murder as you could possibly get.

And I would argue that without consequence (As in, real objective consequence, not just subjective), everyone would do horrible things because then those things wouldn't be horrible things.

You seem to believe that morals are an incorruptible truth, as opposed to just being our means to co-exist and grow as a group of living, thinking individuals.

I'm fine with setting aside my moral sensibilities when doing so in no way affects my ability to co-exist peacefully with other humans.

There is more to character/morality then mere co-existance.

Mutant1988:
Basically - What I do with fictional characters have no bearing on what I do towards actual real people, so I have a freedom that I do not have in reality. So then why do I use this freedom to perform acts that would be horrible in reality? Simple: Out of curiosity and visceral thrill.

I hope that one day you will feel otherwise. Escapism also offers us the chance to be better then we normally are, to make heroic sacrifices we wouldn't ordinarily do. We need not immerse ourselves in humanity's darker side.

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