Fun for the whole family!



Article: Dan Sherven – Contributor

Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) is not the brain-numbing game that the Western media makes it out to be. While it is true that the player is able to commit car thefts, perform mass murders, have sex with prostitutes, fight over gang territory, and profit from the trafficking of drugs, there is actually a rich intellectual core to the game. Now, before we delve too deep into this, it is important to dispel an over-publicized myth surrounding violent games such as Grand Theft Auto V.

This myth states that these games cause children to commit mass murderers, as they train them to kill indiscriminately. The logic of this argument rests in the premise that as the player controls the in-game character, instead of merely witnessing a character in a movie or a book, they become well-practiced in the atrocities they commit and are therefore much more likely to carry them out in reality. I hope that didn’t make sense to you – because it is bullshit. By following that same train of logic we arrive at the conclusion that if I were to invest my time in playing Madden football on my Xbox, I would become a great football player. Here we see that the argument and the myth it supports fall apart. There is no chain of causation to suggest that the player of a violent (video) game is more likely to become violent person, just as there is nothing to suggest that a player of a sports (video) game is more likely to become adept at a sport.

Now I do understand that for an individual who is already planning to commit a mass shooting or become an NFL superstar, these games may offer encouragement or even provide solutions to problems that the individual was struggling with (in the attainment of his or her goal). But these statistical anomalies are no reason for the media to demonize violent video games and claim that there is a chain of causation between playing a violent video game and committing a mass murder. I include the dispelling of this myth in hopes that skeptics of violent video games will take my claim that GTA V is an intellectually sound piece of art more seriously. My reason for claiming that GTA V is brilliant is through its hilarious satire of North American society. I only played GTA V for an hour before writing this piece, and in that hour I was met with countless examples of societal mockery that exposes serious problems with North American society. The first of these is the relentless chase for the American Dream that we all seem to be a part of.

The game introduces you to two main characters very quickly; one of them has a beautiful family and more riches than a person could ever need, whereas the other lives an impoverished life and is primarily concerned with generating income (even if it must be done in less than moral fashion). Strangely enough, it is the wealthy individual that is seeking help from a therapist, as his actualized American Dream has done absolutely nothing in light of life-fulfillment for him. Evidently, this often demonized game series appears to be promoting the notion that money does not equate to happiness, despite the fact that those lacking money are destined to quest for it in the capitalist jungle of our society.

My personal favorite societal satire in the opening moments of the game is when the rich, Caucasian character’s son is playing a video game online and is yelling the “N” word. For those of you who do not play video games online, I appreciated this satire because the instances of this type of behaviour are disturbingly high. It tells the unfortunate tale of some of our society’s young people, who act in this very way when bestowed with the anonymity of the internet.

That reminds me, a Facebook type program exists in the GTA V universe, only it has been appropriately re-named: Life Invader. I don’t think I need to elaborate on the brilliance of this title for any member of the Carillon’s readership.

Further instances of highlighting the oddity of the North American condition include the in-game alcoholic drink Pißwasser [Editor’s note: theß is Germanic and is pronounced like an “ss”]. Pißwasser sprouts the slogan “For a Night You’ll Never Forget” while captioning a picture of a passed-out man that has been drawn on. This is clearly a shot (ha) at North American alcohol companies that run ads promoting unforgettable nights resulting from the drinking of their products.

I could literally keep on listing similar examples for another page as nearly everything in Grand Theft Auto V is a mockery of some aspect of North American society, but unfortunately I have already overstepped my word count. Here it is: Don’t judge a game by its cover.

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