GTA V Billion Dollar Baby Gets Blamed for Society’s Ills

GTA V Proves Crime Does Pay

Since its release on September 17, 2013 Rockstar Games GTA V has pulled in a record breaking $1 billion in sales. Proving that, for Rockstar Games at least, crime does pay. The series, debuted in 1997 and it could be played on the PC, PS1 and the Game Boy Color handheld. The original game was based in London, which made sense as the game itself was developed by two British developers David Jones and Mike Dailly (who is actually from Scotland). But this billion dollar baby is getting blamed for society’s ills. The ignorant are claiming that the game is a corrupting influence on youth of the world.

Later the game moved on to fictional areas of the United States. The game’s name and the premise, at least its main premise, was based on “vehicle theft” and it is set in an open world, almost a sandbox world of gameplay as the game grew. As the games have evolved, Dan and Sam Houser two Londoners who co-founded Rockstar Games, increased the amount of activity in the open world of GTA. It included more criminal activity than just boosting cars.

The series itself has won many awards and is considered among one of the most popular franchises of all time. Game sales figures back this statement up. While the gaming community itself can spend hours arguing that Metal Gear Solid, or CoD or other games hold the crown as most popular, in the end it is the revenue the games earn combined with reviewer’s scores that place GTA in the top spot.

It is also the game that gamers themselves “grew up on.” While non-gamers, folks who have never in their life held a controller in their lily-white and unsullied hands, continue to believe that the target demographic for video games are young teen boys, the truth is far different. They can be forgiven their ignorance, it does seem at times that the industry still believes the same thing.

If you go onto YouTube and expose yourself to the thousands, if not more, of gaming channels, you will discover a huge range in ages of devout gamers. Players who remember, with real nostalgic joy, playing Donkey Kong and Mario Bros “back in the day.” The same players who made the transition to Tomb Raider and GTA and other games that moved out of the “standard platformer” games on offer.

Video Games have evolved. They place more focus on story, characters and arcs. They are immersive. And in the case of GTA V they are wide open worlds where anything goes. Crime pays in Rockstars game verse. A verse, meant for adults. The rating, yes video games are rated, it does not matter how many prepubescent boys you encounter on a CoD multiplayer session, at 18 +. And like CoD, GTA V is for adults. Yet the hysterical naysayers insist that this billion dollar baby is to blame for all of society’s ills. Even though it was made for adult gamers.

Gamers who grew up with games and continue to play them. The adolescents of yesterday are now the target market. Why?

Because surprise, surprise, gamers grew up. As the first players in the video game verse got older, their love for the games that they played did not die. It evolved. Games developers don’t just suddenly fall off of the tree of life, they are made by the games they experienced. GTA V proves that crime pays with a $1 billion pay off in the first few days of the games release. Because gamers, even adult gamers, will pay for the privilege of playing this open world game of criminal fiction.

Despite all the hysterical finger-pointing from the ignorant who read “studies” conducted back in 2001 and believe the results as avidly as they trust the many different versions of the Bible, game playing does not and has not, created a race of violent sociopaths.

Some of these “potential” sociopaths have gamed since the industry’s infancy. Getting excited when Pong first came out, I was as enthralled as the next guy with the game’s limited ability to amuse me for hours. It was an easy step to then move on to Pacman, Space Invaders, Mario Bros, et al.

GTA V has been around since 1997. The theme of the game has always been the same. Law breaking; gasp. The games are meant to be a black humoured and almost cartoonish look at criminals, violence and the way that both are dealt with. One reviewer stated that “Rockstar has put the humour back in violence with GTA V.”

He was right. The game has been developed by adults for adults. It is the exact opposite of Trix breakfast cereal, made just for kids. To paraphrase the old television advert, “Silly rabbit, GTA is for adults.” While certain members of the world’s non-gaming community continue screaming that video games have caused mass murder to escalate and swear that children are driven to murder their siblings, parents, grandparents, or classmates because of a videogame is the worst sort of ignorance.

These same people who deny the logic that if “little Timmy” did not have access to a loaded weapon or had been parented properly, i.e. not allowed to play grown up games or, more importantly have access to loaded firearms, he may just not kill the next door neighbor.

Rockstar Games have proven, yet again, with almost perfect scores across the board that their crime based formula works well. It is not serious nor is it meant to be. It is a adult, sartorial and blackly comic look at “cartoon” violence. In GTA V crime pays, literally for the characters, along with Rockstar Games, and figuratively for the players.

For non-gamers to blame society’s ills on Rockstars billion dollar baby, is an attempt to destroy something that they don’t understand. But gamers, and those who develop games “get it.” All gamers ask is that if videogames are not your “cup of tea” fine, do what you like to do for amusement. But for the love of Pete, stop trying to take our “train set” away. If you don’t understand it, don’t knock it.

(Op-ed)

By Michael Smith
United Kingdom

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6 Responses to "GTA V Billion Dollar Baby Gets Blamed for Society’s Ills"

  1. Dean Smith   September 25, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    the bad things that people do in society isnt a games fault, its the fault of the people doing these things that screw the world up. Societies problems have been around since before pixels turned to to polygons, and the only thing to blame is something called ‘bad education’, its just easier to blame a game on this societies ills than it is to blame themselves for not doing a good enough job educating people with enough common sense to not be killers and theives. These games are a parody on real life, in other words societys ills are the creative driving force behind GTA, not the other way round. Its societies fault its the way it is, not a damn video game, that for one, is for adults, and two IS FOR ADULTS!! its whoever has been educating adults to be irresponsible enough to do this stuff and show kids this stuff so they grow up to be irresponsible adults themselves that are to blame, but then they are to busy blaming somebody else for their own mistakes, which proves that they themeselves are just as uneducated as the people they are responsible for educating.

    Reply
  2. jcalberta   September 22, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    It’s strange how things get singled out isn’t it? 20 years ago I coulda walked into any Comic book shop and i felt like I was in porno joint – the sex, violent, torture and gore.
    Nobody said nuthin’. And like i said about that Lone Ranger movie. It’s the Lone Ranger for Gawnd sake! – turning into some kind of horror movie? Nobody said anything. But here comes GTA5 and … I’m not saying we shouldn’t pay attention. But it’s everywhere and been going on for quite a while. And I doubt that it’s going to stop.
    I don’t have kids so that would be a huge concern if I did. Instilling wisdom and values in your kids … ???

    Reply
  3. Ben   September 22, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    I just noticed your intro picture is showing preorders for a PC version of GTA V. I hadn’t even heard that was announced. If so, awesome!

    Thanks for keeping it real. Far too often the media looks at objects rather than people to blame for violence. Desensitization may be real, but it’s far different than inducement. I can be desensitized to on-screen violence, but I still don’t go out on shooting sprees or ram my car into other cars (on purpose) because I’m a grown-up who can differentiate fantasy from reality. In fact, I play video games precisely because I want to escape the constraints of reality and do things that I can’t otherwise do. It relieves my frustrations by destroying pixels rather than people, and I think that’s a good thing. The pent-up anger is vented in a completely safe way.

    Reply
    • Michael Smith   September 22, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your views on the “non” issue. Too many journalists and media personalities attempt to blame most of societies more violent acts on video game violence. Games just happen to be the latest scapegoat. In the 1940s and 50’s it was comic books, after that rock and roll, then heavy metal music, and the list goes on. It is the behaviour of people who do not understand and in their ignorance and fear fall back on a Salem’s witch trial mentality. Cheers!

      Reply
  4. jcalberta   September 22, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Hi Mike …

    I have the previous game … and I find it hilarious. It’s somewhat immersive to be sure, but I never confuse it with reality There is no doubt, however, that ‘desensitization’ is occurring.in out society. In the recent movie The Lone Ranger, in one scene the Badguy literally rips a Rangers heart out of his body and brandishes it. I never heard wimper or whine – during or after. Could you imagine such a scene taking place in The Magnificent Seven in 1960 (for instance)?? No way. Yet such depictions are so common now that we can find on TV any day of the week. As computer games become more and realistic there will be a point when the action and depictions are completely real to us – so when I’m shooting or killing someone it will have genuine impact – if we aren’t there already.

    Then what?

    Reply
    • Michael Smith   September 22, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      I understand what you mean by immersion. When I played The Last of Us, I was completely in their stark and doomed world. But if it ever gets to the point that “normal” people cannot differentiate between fantasy and reality, they will not need a video game or a film to put them over the edge, they will always recognise the difference. The videogames industry has left Hollywood in the dust in terms of entertainment profit. One reason why some many media outlets are doing their “Chicken Little.” As I’ve mentioned before, games are just the latest in a long line of scapegoats that are easier to blame than people taking responsibility for their own actions. As always, thanks for your input. Cheers!

      Reply

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