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Full Version: The Wisdom of Grand Theft Auto V
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So, just as a preface, I'm a child of the 80s and have grown up with video games from First Generation onwards.  Over the years, I've found them increasingly interesting on a number of metaphysical\philosophical levels, in part because they are such a novel form of entertainment.  So in a semi-serious deconstructiony way, I'd like to suggest a very different way of looking at one of the most infamous murder simulators on the market.

If there's an underlying assumption/thesis to this argument, it's that a)video games are as close to "karmically neutral" or harm-free as you can get in 3D activities, and b)they can provide real catalyst (if somewhat watered down) for those who go to them seeking catalyst.

What We Can Learn From GTA V

OK, yes, one thing we can learn from GTA V is many, many ways of killing people in gruesome ways.  That part has been discussed in depth many times, so I won't delve into it.  Because one thing that's generally overlooked in such arguments is that GTA V also contains a huge number of non-violent and\or socially-acceptable activities.  Players can go to the movies, watch TV, play tennis, go clothes shopping, skydive, run jetski races down rapids, go on dates, ride a ferris wheel, learn to fly, take a bus tour of the city, or retrieve sunken nuclear waste with a mini-sub.  And many more.  There's even a full 18-hole golf course with a decent golf sim built in.  

(And that's just scripted entertainment. Potential diversions simply enjoying the game world for its own sake are virtually endless. For example, GTA V is the best "walking on the beach" simulator ever made. Smile)

Outside of the plot missions, GTA V is only as violent as the player wants it to be.  Violence may occasionally occur spontaneously, through the interactions of the NPCs, but it's virtually always avoidable.  For that matter, the city's traffic simulation is quite realistic, with logical traffic light patterns, working train track barriers, and soforth.  It's entirely possible to get around while obeying traffic laws.  Oh, and there's multiple working forms of public transportation too.

So I'd submit first and foremost that GTA V can actually be a very positively polarizing experience, specifically because it's set in an amoral world with virtually no consequences for negative behavior.  The player can CHOOSE to behave in a positive way without any substantial coercion at all, while enjoying the lush game world solely for its own sake.   V even occasionally gives players opportunities to do a good deed, like picking up a hitchhiker and delivering them safely to their destination.  

And then there's the character-switching system.

There are three characters who, by and large, the player can switch to at any time.  They could be roughly called the Good, Bad, and Ugly.  

Franklin is a gangbanger with a good heart, who mostly just wants to escape "the life."  Trevor is the worst imaginable combination of every psychopath in pop culture, in the body of a 40-something dusthead with serious mommy issues.  And Michael is more ambiguous, because the player can take direct control of his evolution in the game.  By the end, Michael can be a confirmed unrepentant sociopath, or a deeply-flawed man who still loves his family.  He can die the death he deserves, or redeem himself and reunite with his family and live contentedly ever after.

The interesting thing here is this:  Virtually everyone I've talked to who's put substantial time into the game and cares at all about the characters, end up roleplaying to a certain extent.  We're reluctant to be terribly evil as Franklin, while even being in Trevor's body seems to inspire us to do really nasty things.  We'll even choose which character to play specifically based on our mood at the moment.

And through this mechanic, I would say GTA V (unintentionally) creates a fair simulation of what lifes must be like for 5D and 6D entities becoming Wanderers.  Players can live several lives at once.  They can actively choose, in all cases, whether to engage in positive or negative activities.  Some of these are clearly delineated, some are simply byproducts of the detailed and responsive game world design.  Players can truly swap polarities multiple times in the same game session, if they want.  They can even replay (remember) old missions but try different choices, positive or negative, to see different outcomes.

It can be an experience of seeking-out catalyst, no matter how a player chooses to play it.

There's even a lost soul for the truly positive to try to redeem, specifically by restricting their own actions while playing as him, and thus using him as a proxy for their own quest for enlightenment.  There's a psychological profile at the end of the game that says, more or less, how naughty Michael still is.   It'll even notice if Michael decides to take up Yoga.  (Really.  It's a minigame.)

And so by setting GTA V in a world filled with overt negative catalyst, it can also help inspire the positively-oriented to see the choices that exist around them for positive or noninterfering behavior, as well as coming to understand the pleasures of simply enjoying/loving the-world-as-it-is around them.  Were GTA V not capable of depicting great depravity, this lesson of positive growth could not exist by contrast.

Big Grin
I would say the main thing me and my friends play for, besides obviously the heists, is the cars/motorcycles and customizing them and racing. The driving physics in GTA V is awesome. Top notch and such a large map to go around and explore and find new spots to race and just cruise and enjoy the view. We spent all pf our money from heists and missions on new cars and new customizations and race each other (drag, circuit etc.) to find strengths of each specific Car ( top speed, handling, drifting). It is fun because we skype while playing and it's a good way to talk and have fun while in the game with each of our personally created characters modelling certain aspects of ourselves in real life. Other than that we all bought animal masks to wear when we go around smacking gangbangers with hammers and baseball bats and/or bazookas lol
GTA V taught me that the only way to Salvation, to Success, to ANYTHING, is by pressing R3.

Seriously, Trevor survives getting hit by a Train when pressing R3...

I'll give this some serious thought though when I'm on there spamming survival missions because I'm a lone player.
Quick question, is there anyone that does not hit pedestrians while driving?
I don't. I love just cruising the long map-spanning highway as fast as I can though. It's like life. Scenic. Open. Busy. Covered. Suspended, Sudden curves. But with time, effort, and attention paid, its a good ride.

I've also flown that highway with the jet, four different planes, and a helicopter, including the tunnel. Fun times...
(05-29-2015, 02:29 PM)VanAlioSaldo Wrote: [ -> ]I don't.  I love just cruising the long map-spanning highway as fast as I can though.  It's like life.  Scenic.  Open.  Busy.  Covered.  Suspended,  Sudden curves.  But with time, effort, and attention paid, its a good ride.

I've also flown that highway with the jet, four different planes, and a helicopter, including the tunnel.  Fun times...

So when you are in the city, you are extra careful about the pedestrians?
I can spend hours just driving around in IV and V, taking in the scenery and following the flow of traffic. The actual city simulation they're running is really stunning in and of itself. Especially in first-person mode, it can feel like going for a cruise around a major city.

And yeah, when I'm doing that I generally follow the stoplights and try not to run over peds and soforth.
About video games in general, I do think negative polarity and catalyst has more impact when there is confrontation between two individuals. It creates a struggle for domination and often the looser is angered at his lost. Shooters are good exemple of this, I've been playing deathmatchs with a friend in GTA V and I thought it was fun to see someone get so emotional about loosing. I mean there has to be a winner and a looser, you can't actually expect to always be the winner.
(05-29-2015, 02:31 PM)Minyatur Wrote: [ -> ]
(05-29-2015, 02:29 PM)VanAlioSaldo Wrote: [ -> ]I don't.  I love just cruising the long map-spanning highway as fast as I can though.  It's like life.  Scenic.  Open.  Busy.  Covered.  Suspended,  Sudden curves.  But with time, effort, and attention paid, its a good ride.

I've also flown that highway with the jet, four different planes, and a helicopter, including the tunnel.  Fun times...

So when you are in the city, you are extra careful about the pedestrians?

After playing L.A. Noir. Seriously and honestly; Yes. But I don't feel very bad when I do hit them. I"m also conditioned by the OP police on GTA Online that hitting a few pedestrians is basically suicide with the police. So I avoid it.
(05-29-2015, 02:34 PM)Minyatur Wrote: [ -> ]About video games in general, I do think negative polarity and catalyst has more impact when there is confrontation between two individuals. It creates a struggle for domination and often the looser is angered at his lost. Shooters are good exemple of this, I've been playing deathmatchs with a friend in GTA V and I thought it was fun to see someone get so emotional about loosing. I mean there has to be a winner and a looser, you can't actually expect to always be the winner.

I disagree slightly in some games where team play and cooperation are used. In Battlefield 4 I can play as a Medic. I've scored the highest score total on my team several times by just reviving my team mates on the commonly losing side. I usually aid turning the tide of the server and balancing out the game. I also prefer staying back and using the DMR. But I'm pretty good with a Carbine and RPG...
(05-29-2015, 02:39 PM)VanAlioSaldo Wrote: [ -> ]
(05-29-2015, 02:34 PM)Minyatur Wrote: [ -> ]About video games in general, I do think negative polarity and catalyst has more impact when there is confrontation between two individuals. It creates a struggle for domination and often the looser is angered at his lost. Shooters are good exemple of this, I've been playing deathmatchs with a friend in GTA V and I thought it was fun to see someone get so emotional about loosing. I mean there has to be a winner and a looser, you can't actually expect to always be the winner.

I disagree slightly in some games where team play and cooperation are used.  In Battlefield 4 I can play as a Medic.  I've scored the highest score total on my team several times by just reviving my team mates on the commonly losing side.  I usually aid turning the tide of the server and balancing out the game.  I also prefer staying back and using the DMR.  But I'm pretty good with a Carbine and RPG...

This would indeed apply much more to 'lone wolves' and much less to team players.
Service to All, I can't help my team as well if I'm in the fray, I stay back and run up to heal team mates. I'd call that team play.
I've always been the lone wolf kind especially at games like Halo, making your team win by conpensating for those that lack skills in game.


Is the campaign really good? I should probably play it. APeacefulWarrior gave me an interrest in it.

I've come to play very little video games.
In Halo 3, Reach, and 4 I used to lead and pull my entire team, while dealing with team killing team mates and other team mates trolling the rest of the players and their own team mates.

BF4's campaign is very short and...Not worth it. I got the game for it's massive multiplayer content.
I have to say.

I have seen a much different side to GTAV after muting the voice sfx and just taking in the overall environment mixed in with my own music for super long drives or bike rides.

But from walking/swimming to biking and driving (and flying).

Good find. I'll need to try this out in other games... If anyone knows any other ones please share.
This has my favorite soundtrack. It's my ringtone.



http://9gag.com/gag/awKwvG8

Grandma experiencing the wisdom of hitting people: giggles.
(05-31-2015, 10:21 PM)Minyatur Wrote: [ -> ]http://9gag.com/gag/awKwvG8

Grandma experiencing the wisdom of hitting people: giggles.

That was taken from this video, and the whole thing is really interesting (and funny) to watch. Only one of them actually finds it so immoral that they can't enjoy it, the rest clearly end up having good a good time.

@Gemini: Wow, that is seriously also one of my all-time favorite retro chip tunes. So, here, enjoy an awesome a capella version of it. (Smooth McGroove. I love this guy.) Smile
Awesome a capella APW.
(06-01-2015, 01:37 AM)APeacefulWarrior Wrote: [ -> ]
(05-31-2015, 10:21 PM)Minyatur Wrote: [ -> ]http://9gag.com/gag/awKwvG8

Grandma experiencing the wisdom of hitting people: giggles.

That was taken from this video,  and the whole thing is really interesting (and funny) to watch.  Only one of them actually finds it so immoral that they can't enjoy it,  the rest clearly end up having good a good time.

@Gemini:  Wow,  that is seriously also one of my all-time favorite retro chip tunes.  So,  here,  enjoy an awesome a capella version of it.   (Smooth McGroove.  I love this guy.)  Smile

The whole video was really enjoyable.