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5 Ways Grand Theft Auto V Makes You Feel Like a Criminal

Some innovations make so much sense, you wonder where they have been all your life.

Walter Hudson


September 27, 2013 - 1:00 pm
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Described by one prominent reviewer as “one of the very best video games ever made,” Grand Theft Auto V delivers in unexpected and satisfying ways.

Developer Rockstar Games could have gotten away with simply recycling Grand Theft Auto IV, the previous iteration released during the same console generation. People would have bought their new game even if it were just more of the same. Certainly, many other developers crank out sequel after sequel with little to no functional improvements year after year. And gamers lap it up. However, Rockstar has never been satisfied merely meeting expectations. They seek to defy them, and defy them they have.

Grand Theft Auto V achieves what its predecessors strove toward, convincingly immersing the player in the experience of being a criminal. Though law-breaking and havoc have always fueled the Grand Theft Auto experience, the games have typically felt more like amusement parks than actual worlds. Each mission played like a specific ride which you got on, enjoyed, and then got off in search of the next one. Though Rockstar made valiant attempts to create a sense of persistent identity in an immersive world, the overall game mechanics never really came together to fully suspend disbelief.

By contrast, logging into Grand Theft Auto V feels like waking up to another life, that of a professional criminal confronting a world of persistent challenges while negotiating meaningful relationships. A storyline which switches the player between three main characters keeps the experience fresh. Just as you get into a rhythm as one character, the story calls you to take the reins of another, and each has their own unique misadventures to get into.

Personally, I love bounty hunting as the psychopathic Trevor Phillips. The bounties come as text messages with a mug shot of the bail jumper and an aerial shot of the terrain where they were last seen. Tracking them involves searching the landscape for the right area, then searching that area for the target before apprehending them. The experience delivers a refreshing departure from the typical go-here-and-shoot-this mission, requiring the player to show initiative, patience, and strategy.

Aside from the scope and diversity of its gameplay, Grand Theft Auto V immerses the player by effectively conveying the sense that crime is, well, crime. Here are 5 ways Grand Theft Auto V makes you feel like a criminal.

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All Comments   (11)
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So, let’s ask the question. Has gaming contributed to the coarsening of our culture in the way internet porn has? This is not the place to lay down the professional literature to support the argument, but the question needs to be asked. Not just as an academic one, but as it pertains behind closed doors of families, towns, and neighborhoods.

One can strengthen the observation by doing the hermeneutics on a surprisingly similar situation: the relationships intertwining Islam's Jihad with internet pornography and gaming. A looking into that shouldn’t be snickered at. And, don’t think it hasn’t been, especially by the Dept. of Defense!

We know that the motive and command for Islam's Jihad comes from its sacred text, but the current rise of its "beheading culture" (something endemic to orthodox, historic Islam) has been fueled by our technology, and has nested securely in our modern world.

It is a sensible claim we make, that our digital age has made it easier for Islam’s to evangelize and recruit, easier to develop tactics and strategies, and, as if a gift from the gods, easier for the Jihad to proclaim victory (even in battlefield defeat) as it inches its way, Land of War by Land of War, to the Caliphate.

The point being, all this easement comes to the Jihad (in its evangelizing and recruitment) by Islam’s “beheading culture” being mutually nourished by both the internet pornography culture (I almost said “community”!) and the gaming culture (especially its online format.

This is about more than the Jihad using online porn and gaming as platforms; this is about pornography and gaming (OK, toss in certain film genre) reordering our (the world’s) society (culture and nation-states all) to the extent that Islam’s Jihad-for-Sharia seems inevitable, even acceptable.

All this, much in the same way that decadent Berlin in the 30’s, in large part, made way for the arrival of the Nazis. (But, then, the Nazi leadership was already being tutored by Islam’s Jihad, alone with, at its genesis, a homosexual mysticism. Post WWII Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, secures the point. And, here we go again – still!)

I have not strayed too far from the main point: that is, how has gaming – and internet pornography – prepared us for a fall? How have they dulled our bodily and social senses, our hearts and minds, the prudent care to cipher between sin and salvation, so they can be scrubbed and brisked up for something more: something more glorious in its power to send us headlong into an unimaginable experience of orgasmic violence?

Recently the world was deluged with the images and descriptions of the Jihad at the Nairobi shopping mall: the gore, the easy mutilations, the calling out of the Muhammad faithful from the infidel, the slashing babes, the ripping of bellies, the rapes done almost as sacraments before children and husbands, the piling up of bodies as on sacrificial altars. The worst of it has been whirling around the islamist sites – doing its work of evangelism, praising and recruiting.

Yet, soon our memory of an afternoon at the mall will be gone.

Gone, scoured from our minds. No time for lessons from Kenya. Nairobi was just one more shopping day at the mall: for the Jihad, and maybe for ourselves.

Our hearts pant, heave for more, for the new thing. Look, there’s “50 Shades of Grey” coming to the screen. Not to be forgotten, all those sub-text promises of Gay Marriage, now happily registered with the county clerk: threesome marriages, plus; widening potshots at the incest prohibitions; narrating pedophilia to a story about “minor attracted adults” – all things, by the way, to tickle the sharia of any jihadist!

No time. Heck, no time, the juices must be kept flowing. When version 5 has entered our bloodstream, its novelty and thrill settled within out cells, there's the ever Second Coming of Grand Theft Auto/6 arriving soon.

Heck, there is always something to look forward to.

And when our culture mind and heart is addled enough – when gaming and pornography has accomplished all its evangelizing – then the Jihad can step onto our shores for good, tithe us forever into dhimmitude. We wouldn’t care. Like Berlin before us, we would be exhausted, we would be tired of life.

But then heck, and all that – maybe Grand Theft Auto/7 will be our saving savior!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment


Your point in your comment, that's a different kettle of fish. Not even the United States Army wishes for the civilian population to obtain the species of attack/focus aggression expertize that they instill in their troops. Even within the force they select and prepare others for skills more "violent" than any game for specified situations.

My son-in-law is a police officer who has stepped over his share of dead bodies. He is also a member of one of the most elite SWAT teams in the country. I would not, he would not, wish for the specialized skills acquired there be dispersed among the citizenry - or even his sons. Like your red-blooded self, he plays. But there are things, thoughts, and reflections he keeps to himself. And that doesn't even come near to what his brother (for years in deep cover in the Middle East) has been trained to do.

My concern comes from knowing something that lies beyond the structuring of gaming, in addition to the point of my prior question (also one of experience): what is the solution to the effect gaming has on the "near criminal" population, knowing that the EXPERIENCE of gaming effects their behavior (with the possibility that it reorders their psyche)?

I do not find that question ill-advised or unwarranted. Have you ever observed a young man walk away from an eight hour session with GTA or BLACK OPs, tossing over his soldier as he walks out the door, "I have the mind of Grand Theft Auto"?

Now, no game is a two-edged sword ready to be unsheathed to thrust into someone's neck, but it can be the glove on the hand that picks up the weapon. My question, how do we (that's better than saying "society"!) prevent an eight hour gamer from putting on that glove.

By the way, it is not that the proper authorities do not care if they are informed that someone is roaming the streets "with the mind of Grand Theft Auto" - nor are they unaware of the problem; their hands are hog-tied from doing any preventive action. The Grand Theft Auto stalker needs to be on the cusp of committing a criminal act, or giving a specified "terrorist theft". Even if one reports such to them, third party, over and over again. (Regarding their hog-tied hands I am of two minds on that.)

Yet, behind the, admittedly, infrequent incidents of GTA stalkers and roamers on the streets of America, there is a more universal concern. How do all those billions of hours of gaming, by all those multimillion players, work itself out in our culture? How do those billion of hours take stock of its ethical and social inventory and price the bill-of-lading. Its moral freight must be delivered somewhere, at someone’s door.

The parallel experience here is internet pornography. (Sorry, I know that raises the fight-or-flight hair on everyone's neck when that comparison is made.) But I have seen too much, I no longer fear the shunning for raising the connection.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
No strangling women and pulling the heads off of kittle cats? You may as well read H.P. Lovecraft to your kid as bedtime stories.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What are you talking about? Where did I write about kids playing this mature-rated game?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I wonder how much this classic cult television series informed the plotting, psychology and general feel of GTA V?..........
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Tell me, why hasn't video gaming reach the level of "control" concern as firearms/ I know its a pesky tiresome question yet would like a piece from you sorting this out.

Please, try not to detect any position of mine from asking the question.

Is there any way that our social handling of gaming can be applied to the gun control mania? Think the Left and Right play games almost equally.

NOTE; have been in a position to watch the "near criminal" element play, Grand Theft& Black Ops in particular. Have observed their behavior while playing and afterwords. Have observed the experience of gaming enter into their relationships.

Can it be said that (how shall it be put) that a religious dedication to gaming can reorder one that, in the language of the "dark" way, parallels the experience of a disciplined mystic. That it can provide a metaphysical reason for rising in the morning? (Referring to something other than addiction.)

A proper analyses must be more than declaiming that the issue is the gamer not the game. That is a cheat on doing the hard work of thinking through a problem

Currently, have been assigned to do a piece on a very disturbing murder by a young juvenile. Your observations on my question would be appreciated.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The United States Department of Defense apparently believes that gaming can change attitudes and behaviors, as well as teach combat skills.

I give you America's Army v3.3. Primarily intended as a recruiting tool, this game teaches weapons, small unit tactical doctrine, and some of the other basics required of the Eleven Bang Bang (MOS 11B, Light Weapons Infantry).

The Military has long used war gaming to test battle plans and evaluate and teach battle doctrine. Technology has advanced, particularly in the area of combat simulation, to allow tools such as virtual firing ranges to develop marksmanship in the ranks without the need to burn up expensive ammunition.

So, do violent computer games lead the players to violent real life actions?

The Army hopes so.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This is in direct response to studies which showed that few soldiers in battle (WWII & Korea) actually fire AT the enemy. They found that most were not able to overcome their morés against killing people, even in combat.

That has been changing, but still remains a major concern to the military.

Ergo, the military has been looking for ways to do that, to reprogram American soldiers into willing killers. Games work.

Those who argue they have no influence are essentially arguing that the entire advertising industry is one big mistake, a complete waste of money.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It is not my wont to hold to such, but is the military a bit pleased with the effect gaming, in general, is having on the (male) population, in general? With its societal assist in breaking that resistance?

Such a (general) programming of a culture would have its unintended (uncontrollable) consequences.

Professional soldiery is trained to focus very specifically. To disperse those skills (or changing mores) in the general population may, under certain circumstances, be a barking dog which turns on its master.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
These improvements sound great but my problem has always been w/ the missions in GTA.

In previous versions, you'd just repeat a mission over and over till you got it right. The only penalty to failing was that you had to try again. I'd much prefer a system where, if you failed a mission, you failed. The consequences being a change in the AI character's attitude/opinion of you and therefore the level of difficulty to proceed in the game.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
They've improved the mission system somewhat. You still have to repeat them if you fail, but get to retry immediately from a checkpoint. So it's no more repetitive than your average first-person shooter.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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