I strongly believe the release of Grand Theft Auto IV is a step forward for the video game medium. Not because of its record breaking development cost or its near flawless critical accolades, but because they are talking about it as well.
You know who they are. Your dad, your neighbour, the mainstream media anchors of the evening — they’re talking about GTAIV along with us. Not all of it is kind or correct, but they are acknowledging its presence in the entertainment world. Why is this more important than say… Halo 3’s launch? Because of the fact that not all coverage for GTAIV has been about the evils of this so called “murder simulator”. Shooting aliens is one thing, but people? This is the fourth numeric installment from a franchise rife with controversy — the material is there for the media to rip into, but they don’t.
Are people becoming more understanding? I mean, they are talking about the possibility of GTAIV rivaling summer blockbusters and breaking sales records. Or is it a sign of our beloved medium maturing?
Whilst the rest of the world is catching up to this ever growing and ‘immature medium’, what GTAIV topics are gamers discussing? Well from what I can gather they’re either counting pixels, griping about issues or in some corners of the web, talking about the game itself and our attachment to it. Intelligent discussions? I’d like more of this.
1UP’s article inspired me to start this piece of writing; to think and dissect my GTAIV experience. This isn’t a review; I’ll get into that at a later date. “Am I what I play?” “Are games still just games?” Those are two questions I wish to answer using GTAIV as an example.