Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA V) is beautiful, seductive, addictive and absolutely a parental nightmare. There are video games, and then there are Video Games. GTA V is everything Rockstar, the game’s developer, could do with the technology available. The world the game is played in is filled with stunningly realistic surprises and a thousand & one little details, which show the technical expertise and dedication Rockstar has become known for. Every part of the world the game is played in is rich with digital content. Hop a random fence in a ritzy neighborhood; there will be all the items a backyard in that zip code should contain: Fire-pit, jacuzzi, manicured lawn, Bar-B-Que grill and perhaps even a family enjoying lunch, by the pool.
During game play, airplanes and helicopters become available. Players can fly all over the island nation of San Andreas, taking in the endless beaches, the beautifully rendered mountains and the surf smashing against seaside cliffs. There are also several blue lakes linked together by rivers and canals, and a few other interesting ways to navigate the landscape if a player doesn’t want to fly: Trains, boats and a seemingly endless supply of available cars. All of which, a player is obliged to steal in order to use.
It is, however, the dozens and dozens of computer driven characters who make this a game no child should ever be allowed to watch; let alone, play. Subjecting anyone under the age of 16 to this game, could qualify as child abuse. The AI characters which a player passes-by during the course of game play, are engaged in conversations with each other, or on cell phones; often discussing the sordid details of their latest debauchery.
The world of GTA V is populated by all of the people who — if their children grew up to become — would give a parent nightmares. The three playable characters are the most negative archetypes of masculinity imaginable: A retired bank robber, a brutal street thug and a violently psychopathic madman. Each of these characters must be played to complete the game, so they all have specific roles within the narrative. The “missions” the game requires a player to complete, include the typical GTA fare: Innumerable vehicle thefts, high speed thrill rides, murders for hire, muggings, robberies and plenty of street fighting. In addition, there is now a requirement that an innocent man be tortured by the player, drug abuse and sexual assault is implied, and remember; it’s all in the name of fun!
Female characters don’t fare very well at all, in GTA V. Many of the female AI’s are hookers or drugged out and desperate. The worst possible feminine archetypes, seem to be all the people at Rockstar could bring themselves to create. Those few female characters with any strength or personality, all seem to have terrible things done to them and die horribly.
One video game commenter, when speaking about one of the playable characters, said that he felt like washing his hands whenever he was required to play the psychopathic madman. Yet, interestingly enough and despite being such a massive parental nightmare, sales of GTA V are expected to break records; it will be one of the most requested games of the 2013 Christmas season.
Editorial by Ben Gaul