The Parkview Pantera

Grand Theft Auto rakes in $1 billion in 3 days

Christina Pham, Staff Writer

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Michael, one of the main characters in the game, stands atop a hill overlooking Vinewood.

Michael, one of the main characters in the game, stands atop a hill overlooking Vinewood.

Grossing $800 million in a single day ($1 billion in three days), Grand Theft Auto V was released by Rockstar Games on Tuesday, September 17, 2013, setting a new record for video game sales ‒ again. Notorious for its reputation as a series of drugs, violence, sex and profanity, Grand Theft Auto’s latest game is no exception. Rated M by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), the game includes blood and gore, intense violence, mature humor, nudity, strong language, strong sexual content, and use of drugs and alcohol. Despite the game’s M17+ rating (or because of it), thousands of teens flock to the stores and back to their living rooms, turn on their TVs and enter their alternate lives as Los Santos thugs.

One of the main characters shoots cops who have morphed into aliens in a gray haze after smoking drugs. Another spies on a young lady having sex with her boyfriend through a window. These are but a few missions players complete in GTA V, along with the usual car chases in stolen cars and excessive profanity characteristic of the GTA series. Romping around a cesspool of crime in the streets of Blaine County, players indirectly experience “living life on the edge,” a notion constantly channeled to the minds of teenagers through popular music, film and video games like GTA V. In fact, one of the game’s slogans is “If you wish life was just like the movies, come live where it is.”

Fast cars, hot women, profanity, vulgarity, crumbling faith in politics, and blatant resistance to authority, GTA V provides social commentary on 21st century American culture. Crime is rampant, people are depressed, social issues are ignored and women are objectified. Rockstar Games may use these issues to their advantage to draw in sales, but not without their own opinions which they express through humorously creative names and slogans. In the game, players use an internet social network alluding to Facebook called “Lifeinvader” and watch conservatives and liberals campaign on TV.

As with any popular art form, the game’s popularity and positive acclaim does not come without criticism. Many people, especially players’ parents, worry that games such as GTA V attribute to society’s moral decline by subconsciously sending bad messages and encouraging players to carry out some of the actions from the game. Many base this claim on classical conditioning as players get rewarded for completing missions. In 2006, 18-year-old Devin Moore was arrested for car theft, stealing a police officer’s gun and shooting the police officer. The lawsuit filed found that Moore had been playing a lot of Grand Theft Auto prior to the act. However, several studies have shown that violence and video games have no direct correlation. The makers of the GTA series themselves say their games are not to be taken seriously, and in fact, are meant to be a satire and purely for entertainment.

Despite the game’s controversy, there is no denying its technological and artistic accomplishments – superb graphics, unique gameplay and interesting character development. Fans of the GTA series hail GTA V as the best of the GTA series. There are a few key differences from GTA V that distinguishes it from the rest. With the advancement of technology, the GTA games have consistently gotten better and better in terms of providing a clear, detailed and colorful city in which players can explore a huge map. The controls have been improved to allow for easier control and the advent of large HD TV screens has contributed to an immersive gaming experience where players feel more and more like they are in the game.

The most notable difference between GTA V and the other games in the series, made obvious from the start when players are thrown into a bank robbery, is the gameplay. In previous games, players were only allowed to play through the game as one character, but in the new game, players assume several characters from different backgrounds and stories, allowing players to switch back and forth between these characters in order to complete missions.

Although many people may not condone it, for people who do enjoy GTA V, it is just extremely entertaining. There is a reason why the series consistently does so well on the market. Drugs, violence and sex are appealing to teenagers. Controversy sells. Whether players play out of boredom or even curiosity, video games like GTA V provide an outlet for stress that would otherwise be detrimental for society if they were expressed in other dangerous ways in reality.

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Grand Theft Auto rakes in $1 billion in 3 days