WHETHER OR NOT YOU CAN SWIM IN GTA V ... IS VERY IMPORTANT
September 18, 2013 4:07 PM   Subscribe

 
From here.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:09 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


The "What, you wanna leave me death threats? Go for it! Go for it!" chorus is very catchy and awesome.

So apparently you can take a job filming a woman having the buttsex in the first 30 minutes of GTA V, which tells you pretty much all you need to know about the game. That and running over old ladies in your sweet ride.
posted by Justinian at 4:13 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


It looks fucking awesome, TBH.

What?
posted by Artw at 4:21 PM on September 18, 2013


I played some GTA V today. It's the first GTA game I've touched since San Andreas. It made me wish I was playing Saint's Row 4.
posted by dortmunder at 4:21 PM on September 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


Just enough things... what more does a person want?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:24 PM on September 18, 2013


It's Button Mashing Time!
posted by helmutdog at 4:24 PM on September 18, 2013


I feel like the original context of the satire might be lost a little bit with this post, so:

Leigh Alexander's Review of GTA V

Her review was in defense of Carolyn Petit's Gamespot review of GTA V, which was very positive but spent a few sentences calling out misogyny in the game. Her review was greeted with thousands of misogynistic, vile comments and transphobic personal attacks against the reviewer (and an angry reddit thread with the same.) More context.

Leigh Alexander also says this today: "My 'GTA V review' and the subsequent audio performance I posted yesterday circulated much more widely than I anticipated. I guess I tapped into something — our sickness, maybe, of the black and bilious pall that enters fandom and the media that surrounds it whenever a successfully-hyped, major commercial release appears. It was a protest on my part, and I’m comforted that it resonated."
posted by naju at 4:25 PM on September 18, 2013 [35 favorites]


Thank you for the context, naju; I had no idea and thought it was odd to see a link to a review written by someone who admits to not having played the game. It makes much more sense now and I am also sad.
posted by Hoopo at 4:27 PM on September 18, 2013


As much as it's possible to feel bad for a publisher that just made $800M in 24 hours, I feel bad for Rockstar. They obviously want GTA to be this important social commentary satirizing a specific time and place (III), or the pursuit of the American dream (IV), or (in GTA V's case) what it means to be a man. But these games just aren't that. They live and die by the size of the map, and the quality of the radio stations, if the controls are tight or not, the ratio of fun:annoying missions (and friends!). No one really remembers what IV was about, they remember couzin/tittys/bowling/Brucie and a hodgepodge of scenes lovingly ripped from the kind of crime movies college kids hang posters of in their dorm rooms. They remember cruising around in VC to 80s songs, or jetpacking around SA to 90s rap.

And, besides an open world sandbox, that appears to be what GTA is about. A series of pastiches tied together with excellent voice acting over a background of retarded humor (our app is called iFruit, we have parody Facebook app called Life Invader, do you get it?).

So too, no one will really remember what V is about, they'll remember the fun parts and the annoying parts and that time they totally crashed a crop duster into a train while jamming to Slow Ride (or whatever).
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:39 PM on September 18, 2013 [17 favorites]


... which tells you pretty much all you need to know about the game.

If true, this will certainly simplify the gaming review process.
posted by zippy at 4:40 PM on September 18, 2013


"they'll remember...that time they totally crashed a crop duster into a train while jamming to Slow Ride..."

Where do I sign up for this?
posted by Pecinpah at 4:46 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


They obviously want GTA to be this important social commentary

I knew some of the Rockstar guys. Memorably, one of them (who I didn't meet, but heard stories about) literally had to be asked to find somewhere else to snort coke than off of his desk at work. Like, the bathroom maybe.

I'm pretty sure the casual violence, rape-culture, and misogyny are not mysteriously appearing out of the ether into their games. It's brogrammer culture extraordinaire.
posted by restless_nomad at 4:47 PM on September 18, 2013 [34 favorites]


or jetpacking around SA to 90s rap.

Dude. The jetpack had no stereo.
posted by sourwookie at 4:48 PM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


See! That you remember.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:49 PM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Sigh. That just made me miss X-Play. Not the later days where they tried to be all slick and that Blair Herter guy was always hanging around. The glorious, silly days.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:55 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I picked up GTA V on Australia Tuesday, way before any of you losers did, unless you're from NZ in which case fuck you. I'm at 19%. I'll be honest in that I agree with the popular opinion that this could have been a much better game with a female player character as one of the three.

The only major female NPCs we've met so far are crazy, naggy or bitchy, and while in the end I don't really give a shit because I'm a dude and this is obviously a game made by dudes for other dudes (I don't think there are even any female writers, but I may be mistaken) and it's just, after all, a game, it just feels like a badly missed opportunity. Why not have a fourth character, and have it be a woman, and have it be a LSPD detective, on the trail of the bad guys, just a step behind them until the final shootout when you have to spin the character select wheel and decide which of them lives, and which other three die?

Imagine that. The final showdown, the end game: there have been betrayals and fuckups and hijinks. Michael, Franklin, Trevor (I hate Trevor and hate playing him), and Detective Lady. A busy suburban shopping mall, or a deserted construction site. Trevor is crazy, and wants to kill everyone just because. Michael is desperate, and wants the money so he can get out of LS and start a new life. Franklin wants this all behind him. Detective Lady needs to take down the bad guys.

All four characters are in cover. Time slows down, and the player has to pick who pops up and gets the headshots on the other three. That would be great, and I guarantee the vast majority of players would pick Detective Lady because while it was fun playing as M, F and T, they are all bad guys, in the end, and need to be stopped. The percentages would appear on Rockstar Social Club and Rockstar could point to it and say: hey, look, most of our players actually made the morally correct choice. Suck it, media.

Also, the cars handle like ass and the police do not fuck around in GTA V. It's a good enough game, but I'm not sure if I like it as much as GTA IV, and I certainly don't like it as much as Red Dead Redemption. That said, it's sure as hell a lot better than Saints Row 4.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:57 PM on September 18, 2013 [17 favorites]


I just drove a paparazzo around on a motorbike to get shots, then switched bodies, drove a motorcycle off a pier and now I'm riding a rollercoaster.

GTAV is nice :)
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:57 PM on September 18, 2013


The song's pretty good, but I really adore the beat poetry vibe of the original recording.

They obviously want GTA to be this important social commentary satirizing a specific time and place (III), or the pursuit of the American dream (IV), or (in GTA V's case) what it means to be a man.

This was especially evident with GTA IV, where Niko's apparent dilemma between trying to free himself from the violence of his home country and trying to make money in his new one is largely obliterated by the game's mechanical requirement that you be given enough targets to shoot. So far, the only open-world game I've seen that addresses this issue somewhat directly is Saints Row IV, and even then it's a cop-out: it's basically "you're trapped in the Matrix and everyone's a computer automaton, so it doesn't matter at all how many you kill!" And it actually plays with this idea in a few ways, most of which are just goofy metajokes but Saints Row isn't really a franchise with a serious story at this point.

In the three hours I've played so far, Grand Theft Auto V is very similar to previous GTAs, but the Housers' larger emphasis on storytelling makes the game elements stand out even more. When you're doing relatively mundane things like walking your dog, you wonder a bit why you're doing them at all; when you want to do classic GTA things like jack the first car you see to get to the next mission, it feels totally wrong. Since Saints Row has already staked out the "make everything batshit insane" territory already, I'm not sure Rockstar has any good ways to avoid this, short of scaling back on the goal of being an all-encompassing criminal life simulator.
posted by chrominance at 5:02 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I spent my first 2 hours playing by completely ignoring all missions and just generally mucking about. That is what GTA was made for!
posted by Arbac at 5:03 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


This song sucks. Her original review is incredible. You should have linked that. I won't leave you any death threats, though.
posted by xmutex at 5:05 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I did link it! First post!

It's cool if you wanna leave death threats though!
posted by Sebmojo at 5:07 PM on September 18, 2013


I guess it's not surprising that there would be some video game developers who wish they were making crappy movies instead of amazing video games. It's just a shame that so many of them are in charge of huge AAA franchises.
posted by straight at 5:07 PM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


And also, people who go on about how good the writing is in GTA games? It's really not. We get our sense of how angry/desperate a character is by how many times in a row they say "fuck". "Fucking fucked" and "Fucking, fucking, fucking fucker" are two memorable lines. My take is it's written by slightly clever, but angry teenagers, there's no nuance or colour. Also do black LA gangsters really call one another "nigger" that much? Because they call one another that a lot in this game. But then, I guess they said that a lot in The Wire as well so maybe it's a True Fact. It just feels a bit lazy.

Anyway, I'm not inspired by GTA V at all, but it's fun to muck about in. Problem is, as big as the game world is, it's actually quite empty and there's not a lot to do or interact with. Comments above, that nobody remembers the story of the GTA games, and that's it's just all about the fun stuff you did and the music that was playing at the time, are spot on.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:12 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


when you want to do classic GTA things like jack the first car you see to get to the next mission, it feels totally wrong

The overwhelming police reaction to everything naughty you do is really off-putting as well.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:13 PM on September 18, 2013


The overwhelming police reaction to everything naughty you do is really off-putting as well.

The last time GTA was in SA, the setting was the 90s, right?

9/11 changed everything.
posted by notyou at 5:19 PM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Ha. True. I was actually surprised when I drove a Hummer through the airport, that the military didn't immediately show up and blast me with rockets from helicopters (the airport is a good spot to escape from the cops when you're on 3 or more stars btw).
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:21 PM on September 18, 2013


Leaving aside all else about GTA V (I've played two missions and greatly appreciate that the whole world is open from the get-go):

As soon as I got control of Franklin, I took off in my car, speeding down the Pacific Coast Highway analog into the sunset while blasting "California Soul" as loud as my car/tv speakers can go.

Anything else is gravy.
posted by thecaddy at 5:25 PM on September 18, 2013


I don't know who Leigh Alexander is, but I do know she's my new hero.
posted by Apropos of Something at 5:32 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


One question that's brought up and I grapple with is do I play games to feel powerful and get my way? I mean, the last AAA title mainstream game I played was Saints Row 3, so I can speak a little about this. And you can easily make a case that in Saints Row 3 or GTA V, there's a lot of getting your way, as the games are sandbox games and most players choose to engage in violent or risky behavior, often something they would not do in real life. But, the other thing is, players are rewarded in many ways by the game's system itself for being violent and psychopathic. the only way to progress in the story in SR III is to kill and steal. Even if you choose not to play the story, you still accumulate achievements, points, and money when you do something that the game approves of. It's not like you get any reward for doing other actions like going grocery shopping or saving on car insurance.

I'm not saying I don't relate to occasionally blowing off steam by running around downtown blowing up cars and inflicting as much damage as possible, but eventually that just gets totally boring. It's not a very interesting mechanic in and of itself, and it eventually becomes more fun to push the system to it's limits and trying to see if you can get the seams to show by like exploiting bad AI.

Well, this is getting rambly. Maybe I do play to feel powerful, it's just that I gravitate towards Simcity/Civilization more than GTA. But I still appreciate a challenge and also enjoy games that I can fail at time and time again.
posted by FJT at 5:36 PM on September 18, 2013


Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs was a far better experience than GTA V has been, and Pigs isn't even good as Dark Descent. The best games are sitting in the stands, not playing on the field.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:39 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


My only first-hand experience with GTA games were the first couple on a PS2. Wasted a few hours exploring the world and tried a couple missions.

At some point I realized this was pretty much just a send-up of medieval D&D type fantasy adventure games... Instead of battling other knights to defend your ruler's domain, you're gunning down gangsters. Instead of rescuing fair maidens, you're fetching a pimp's hooker from the public health clinic. And so on.

From that perspective I thought the game was pretty clever -- why are narratives about bashing other thugs and macking on the dames okay in medieval fantasy settings, but when transplanted to other times and genres these narratives are totally not okay? Nice job, interesting metacommentary whether intended or not. But that realization was also the moment that I felt like I got out of it all that I was going to get, and I haven't tried anything in the franchise since.
posted by ardgedee at 5:41 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


> They obviously want GTA to be this important social commentary satirizing a specific time and place (III), or the pursuit of the American dream (IV), or (in GTA V's case) what it means to be a man. But these games just aren't that. They live and die by the size of the map, and the quality of the radio stations, if the controls are tight or not, the ratio of fun:annoying missions (and friends!).

That's as it should be, though. If they wanted to tell those stories without telling them at least partially through the gameplay, they should have chosen a linear medium to tell them in, like a film or a novel. More and more, gamers are demanding that our stories be told in the medium that actually comprises our hobby: interactive gameplay. That we don't remember the stories of the previous games by what we remember playing is a huge flaw. We remember what we played. It involved a lot of bowling.

That's because we've been spoiled a lot recently by amazing experiences that have achieved that. Journey, Gone Home, Brothers, and many others. The stereotypical advice to novelists is: "show, don't tell". We're beginning to demand something similar of game makers. It's a hard concept, but we've been given a taste. I don't even know how to phrase the equivalent advice to "show, don't tell" for videogames. It's like trying to describe higher dimensions by comparing the leap from 2D to 3D (extrude a square into a cube) to a hazy concept of 4D (extrude a cube into a tesseract).

That leap in storytelling does exist, though. We've played it.
posted by gilrain at 5:49 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


From the Polygon Review of GTA V (spoilers follow):
I counted roughly (and generously) six semi-important female characters in the game, maybe a couple more if I include the occasional quest giver or victim of theft. None are playable. All but one are shrill buzzkills; the latter has Stockholm syndrome. And the two grisliest murders in the game happen to women. One side story involves the persistent and unsettling harassment of an absent female character, the purpose of which is to show the cruelty of Trevor, but which goes upsettingly far beyond what feels necessary to the story.
posted by FJT at 5:54 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think both Leigh Alexander and the review are nifty. That song isn't so much, but to each their own. Storywise, from what I've seen of the first eight or so opening act hours, Grand Theft Auto is one part Married with Children with a 200 million dollar budget, one part Jack Nicholson swilling a shot of One Flew Oer, Easy Rider & Five Easy Pieces, and one part Ice Cube Cubed, being a holy trinity of Friday, Boyz in da Hood & Barbershop. Rockstar's prior best work, to my mind's eye, are Bully, Red Dead Redemption and San Andreas. Honorable mentions go to The Warriors and L.A. Noire for going in a completely different tact, that of AAA Adventure Game. I'm looking forward to whatever else they've got cooking. With the next gen around the corner, I'm a little scared to see what genre/playstyle/open-world thing they unleash next.
posted by chainlinkspiral at 5:55 PM on September 18, 2013


They obviously want GTA to be this important social commentary

Onion: ‘GTA V’ A Sophisticated Gaming Experience, Says Man Who Spent 3 Hours Running Over Homeless People With Fire Truck.
posted by ceribus peribus at 6:00 PM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


The "What, you wanna leave me death threats? Go for it! Go for it!" chorus is very catchy and awesome.

It's a good chorus for life. But then again, my life is pretty bourgeois.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:06 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, exactly.

Team Lead: All right, it's time. Let's tell the story I know we all care deeply about. The catch-22 of American immigration.

Team Member: Excellent. How will our new gameplay reinforce and relay this difficult story?

Team Lead: What? We already have some perfectly good, fun-loving, open-world-mayhem gameplay with cartoonish random violence! What's the issue here?
posted by gilrain at 6:06 PM on September 18, 2013


Rockstar's attempts at "narrative innovation" are fucking embarrassing. They specialize in developing rich, sandbox worlds, they're decent at crafting gameplay on top of that, but the stories in Rockstar games are always paltry at best, offensive at worst.

GTA is absolutely one of the landmark series that defines "gamer culture", and I mean that as a bad thing. Their approach to critics ("oh, you thought THAT was offensive? well how about THIS") reminds me of what Eminem used to do, just as misogynistic but a tenth as well-written. I enjoy some good old-fashioned escapism, but we're past the point, I think, where anybody believes that gratuitous hedonism and violence is the only route to blissful, delirious escape, and we're coming round to realize that it often enables some pretty disgusting world views as well.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:08 PM on September 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


I'm a bit surprised GTA V doesn't have some sort of in-game Xbox Smartglass integration for our phones (GPS, texts from other characters, selfies and screencaps saved to camera roll, etc). Even the ability to pick a "real time" mode where things are happening in Los Santos even when you are not playing at the console (humorous texts from other characters, purchase stocks, even deal with important plot points like a "ransom scenario") .
posted by sourwookie at 6:13 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


For me, it's not even that you can't do fun-loving, irreverent, problematic gameplay. Just don't try to tell a compassionate, nuanced story using the same. I enjoyed Saint's Row 3, for instance. That game embraced itself as the trashy, over-the-top, pulp gameplay/story that it was.

It doesn't hurt that my partner and I played that game in co-op as a pair of badass, butch, business-suit-wearing lesbian crimelords. Because with all its problematic elements, Saint's Row let's you play as any gender, body type, and style you want. What a concept.
posted by gilrain at 6:14 PM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Because with all its problematic elements, Saint's Row let's you play as any gender, body type, and style you want.

But... the narrative vision!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:23 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I will never read her blog because she made a joke that trivializes piracy, even though modern pirates are a threat to the safety of thousands and both a part of and symptom of a horrible system of international oppression.

Actually I really like her blog and will continue to read it, even though some might find the jokes in it offensive.

I'm not going to play GTA V because I'm pretty sure I've already played similar a dozen times, and to me as a consumer it looks more time consuming than fun.
posted by poe at 6:33 PM on September 18, 2013


GTA V the musical song
posted by Bwithh at 6:49 PM on September 18, 2013


I'm glad GTA V is not on PC because it allows me to feel even more superior.
posted by Justinian at 7:19 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I knew some of the Rockstar guys. Memorably, one of them (who I didn't meet, but heard stories about) literally had to be asked to find somewhere else to snort coke than off of his desk at work. Like, the bathroom maybe.

I'm pretty sure the casual violence, rape-culture, and misogyny are not mysteriously appearing out of the ether into their games. It's brogrammer culture extraordinaire.


You know that Rockstar North is the division that handles all the GTA V game design, right? The one in Edinburgh, Scotland?

Is that where you knew the guys you mentioned, with the cocaine and brogrammer culture?
posted by misha at 7:30 PM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


No, that's true, those guys were all from the LA office. Can't comment on the internal culture of the Edinburgh office, although I am inclined to make certain assumptions based on their output.
posted by restless_nomad at 7:37 PM on September 18, 2013


Rockstar North is what used to be DMA Design. That's as close to a legendary game design studio as you can get, I think.

Rockstar San Diego (not LA) made the Red Dead games, which are not really the kind of thing you'd expect from a bunch of cokeheads.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:45 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Huh, and now I can't even *find* the L.A. office. Maybe it was San Diego? But I could have sworn... Maybe *I* was doing all the coke.
posted by restless_nomad at 7:51 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Still hoping for a Gunsmith Cats game in this genre. Rally, Minnie May and Bean Bandit live here, dammit! You are all just visiting!
posted by SPrintF at 7:52 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


*grumble* He's credited on GTA3. Must have worked in the TakeTwo office or something. I'm not crazy, I swear.

/derail.
posted by restless_nomad at 7:54 PM on September 18, 2013


The studio that made Lemmings made GTA V? My mind is blown. Actually, it sort of makes sense, both involve wanton death and destruction. It's possible the body count in Lemmings is far higher.
posted by naju at 7:56 PM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


So apparently you can take a job filming a woman having the buttsex in the first 30 minutes of GTA V, which tells you pretty much all you need to know about the game.

Erm, no. It really doesn't.

It just means you're doing the exact same kind of cherry-picking cynical politicians do when they decide they need to get on the TV and bitch about how video games -- not guns -- are creating a culture of violence in this country.
posted by chasing at 7:58 PM on September 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


Huh, wow, just read this interesting piece at The Guardian, about a torture mission and apparently another one where you've gotta grope a bunch of women in a nightclub. I haven't encountered either of them yet but I was really put out by an optional mission that Trevor goes on where you have to shoot a bunch of coyotes for no reason. Rubbed me the wrong way, as well as robbing me of any ability to ever empathize with the guy.

When I think about it, the thing that gets me about this game is how anti-intellectual it is. I mean, this sort of tech, you've gotta assume they've got some pretty smart people working on it, but it's just frat boy shit through and through.
posted by turbid dahlia at 7:59 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


It just means you're doing the exact same kind of cherry-picking cynical politicians do when they decide they need to get on the TV and bitch about how video games -- not guns -- are creating a culture of violence in this country.

I haven't played GTA V but I played IV and San Andreas and some of the others and, yeah, I think it gives you a decent idea of the kind of games they are. These are games where people do things like engage the services of a street hookers and then beat them to death with a crowbar to get their money back.
posted by Justinian at 8:12 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Actually they may use tire irons or baseball bats or just run them over with the car. These details matter.
posted by Justinian at 8:14 PM on September 18, 2013


You could just shoot them, too. That said, that's not something I've ever done in any of these games, because I would feel bad about it, which is hilarious because I'll happily drive an SUV over everybody in a mall.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:19 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


These are games where people do things like engage the services of a street hookers and then beat them to death with a crowbar to get their money back.

It's a sandbox world. People can do that, they do not have to do it. And they may very well do so because there is no moral dimension to the life and death of polygons.
posted by spaltavian at 8:19 PM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


I've been playing for a couple of hours. I kinda think it's meh so far. Much prefer Sleeping Dogs.
posted by empath at 8:28 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


What a boring plea for attention.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 8:31 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's a sandbox world. People can do that, they do not have to do it.

Eh, I think that's not entirely true, the game offers rewards for certain behaviors as opposed to others. So, it tries to guide players towards certain goals. It's not like you're literally dropped into the world and you can choose to have Michael not engage in crime and work a typical 9 to 5 office job for the rest of his in game existence.
posted by FJT at 8:32 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not aware of any missions that require you to kill hookers after you've solicited their health rejuvenating powers. Not entirely sure that mechanic has been in the game since GTA3 either.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 8:37 PM on September 18, 2013


Turns out I'm wrong on that last bit. I guess I stopped noticing them after the first one.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 8:42 PM on September 18, 2013


People can do that, they do not have to do it. And they may very well do so because there is no moral dimension to the life and death of polygons.

Then why do people talk about moral choices in games?
posted by empath at 8:45 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Turns out I'm wrong on that last bit. I guess I stopped noticing them after the first one.

Thanks for that. But I don't see any mention of busts either. Police departments usually are very, very active in this area, waging long term campaigns against both prostitutes and johns.
posted by FJT at 8:53 PM on September 18, 2013


I'm not saying I don't relate to occasionally blowing off steam by running around downtown blowing up cars and inflicting as much damage as possible, but eventually that just gets totally boring.

...so then you play Insurance Fraud or Septic Avenger, which are physically incapable of becoming boring.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:59 PM on September 18, 2013


As soon as I got control of Franklin, I took off in my car, speeding down the Pacific Coast Highway into the sunset while blasting "California Soul" as loud as my car/tv speakers can go.

…GOB?
posted by Jon Mitchell at 9:06 PM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]




Why not have a fourth character, and have it be a woman, and have it be a LSPD detective, on the trail of the bad guys, just a step behind them until the final shootout when you have to spin the character select wheel and decide which of them lives, and which other three die?

I vote that this character is Jane Tennison and is actually voiced by Helen Mirren for reals. Would SOOOO buy that video game. Would probably buy an XBoxOne or whatever to play that video game.
posted by Sara C. at 10:38 PM on September 18, 2013


Yeah, I think it's about time for a Blue Shift take on the GTA franchise.

"Dude why the fuck can't you just straighten up and fly straight? Nevermind, me and the rest of the precinct are gonna bash the hell out of you and your stolen ride with our super tough cop cruisers. And now yer the stupid AI, fucker, and I have the clever, world bending player on my side."
posted by notyou at 11:00 PM on September 18, 2013


One question that's brought up and I grapple with is do I play games to feel powerful and get my way?

If you'd like something different, maybe try Miasmata, where you play a man who is sick with the plague, has trouble running uphill, and has to take slopes cautiously lest he stumble, fall, and trigger a fever. He needs to stay hydrated and rest frequently. You get to use real triangulation methods to explore and map a tropical island, looking for plants that you collect and study, hoping to find a cure for your disease. There are no guns, no cutscenes, no artificial Myst-style puzzles.

It's not the sort of thing everyone would like, but I found it near-perfect in the subtlety and ambiguity of its story, the novelty of the mapping gameplay, the beauty and design of the island, and several other bits I won't spoil. I played it with my teenage kids who loved it and we talked about the ending off and on for a few days afterwards.
posted by straight at 11:20 PM on September 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


notyou - I've a good friend that has been wanting exactly that for ages, you'd start off as a beat cop and work your why up, etc. When LA Noire came out he was super pissed that someone had stolen his idea, and then super pissed again when he actually played it because he felt being transferred from Homicide to Vice was a demotion.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 11:22 PM on September 18, 2013


The important thing to remember about open-world games is that it's--

Wait, we're talkin about a console game here?

No opinion.
posted by ShutterBun at 1:27 AM on September 19, 2013


Rockstar's inexplicable unwillingness to allow a female protagonist is the only bit of this that I can identify with. The rest? I am conflicted about as much as I was when playing an evil Empire minion killing Luke Skywalker's friends in TIE Fighter. Which was not very much, to be clear.
posted by vanar sena at 2:18 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Justinian: "These are games where people do things like engage the services of a street hookers and then beat them to death with a crowbar to get their money back."

Are we talking about GTA V here, or Baldur's Gate 2?
posted by vanar sena at 2:32 AM on September 19, 2013


Amnesia: A Machine For Pigs was a far better experience than GTA V has been, and Pigs isn't even good as Dark Descent.

It's trying to do different things, I think the comparison comes down to the bits of this kind of horror game you personally want emphasised. Speaking as someone whose taste in games 'some bits from Amnesia attached to a horror Dear Esther set in a Victorian meat factory' could pretty much have been directly targeted at, Pigs is the best thing I've played this year and maybe one of my favourite games ever, but I totally get how people who value the stuff that was more prominent in TDD were disappointed. I think its reception has suffered badly from the expectations around being 'a sequel to Amnesia' when that's not really the game thechineseroom set out to make, and that's a real shame.

Um yeah GTA, everything I've seen about it pretty much seems to exemplify this particular attitude or atmosphere of video game grossness you see elsewhere too. Maybe this bloated pinnacle was necessary for it to get old and decline, who knows?
posted by emmtee at 2:59 AM on September 19, 2013


I guess I don't understand why you spend $300,000,000 to build a beautiful world to murder people in.
posted by empath at 3:16 AM on September 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


I think the biggest breakthrough in GTA5 is the persistent helmet technology.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:21 AM on September 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Because with all its problematic elements, Saint's Row let's you play as any gender, body type, and style you want.

That's exactly why the Saints Row games are superior to the GTA games in this respect, because when it matters they do the right thing and allow the player to be who they want to be, not force you to play as some boring dude the designer thought was kewl.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:41 AM on September 19, 2013


I guess I don't understand why you spend $300,000,000 to build a beautiful world to murder people in.

And yet you're playing it.

As much as I realize it is a character flaw, I really enjoy the GTA games. They're fun to play, sometimes very funny, and tell interesting stories. This is a great GTA game.
posted by graventy at 4:39 AM on September 19, 2013


empath: "I guess I don't understand why you spend $300,000,000 to build a beautiful world to murder people in."

See also: Bioshock Infinite.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 5:29 AM on September 19, 2013


empath: Then why do people talk about moral choices in games?

They are play moral choices. You can pretend to do things in the game that you can't, and more importantly wouldn't, do in real life. You can pretend to make choices you probably will never face in real life. This is absolutely no different than watching a cops-and-robbers movie or Richard III, unless you piously refuse to connect with or understand any of the villainous characters.
posted by spaltavian at 5:47 AM on September 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


It's a sandbox world. People can do that, they do not have to do it. And they may very well do so because there is no moral dimension to the life and death of polygons.

So this is a common argument made about video games, and the reason people still get away with making it is that the video game industry is still abysmally underdeveloped. It's a complete bullshit argument, and the second you play a game which actually gives you a sandbox wherein your choices have moral consequences, you realize how essentially thoughtless sandbox video games have let themselves become.

Luckily, the concept of sandboxes in video games is a third of what I wrote my thesis about, and another third was on the concept of morality in art/the responsibility of artists! This thread was made for me. (Oh and I read lots of Leigh Alexander as I was writing it, because she is incredible.)

People like to talk a lot about "choice" in video games. An in, choice is good. But what people are usually thinking of when they talk about choice is actually outcome. I don't care about the "choice" to swing a crowbar at a hooker—I care about the outcome wherein my doing so lets me get my money back. Oh, and gives me a hilarious "hooker got hit" sound/visual just so I can be certain that what I've done is enjoyable.

The problem with "choice", and this is the problem with your "people can do that but they don't have to" argument, is that choice implies consequence. It implies trade-off. Do I eat the grape snowcone? If I do, I can't eat the cherry one. When I'm an adult I can buy both, but then I will feel sick and get fat and on and on and on. The notion that your choices will have consequences that last for longer than, say, thirty seconds is completely lost on most video games.

(With the exception of simulator games like The Sims, but – as the Russian developer said in the lecture translated for my thesis – simulator games are no better in that they make you immune to the consequences of your actions. When your Sims suffer, you don't suffer. You have no reason to treat them well unless you want to win your game, and in most sim games that involve victory that means killing a bunch of people on the other side—RTSes are sims in terms of how interface/interaction works. There are some simulator games that try to model popular resentment of your actions; one of my all-time favorites, Lords of the Realm 2, would have its peasants rise up and revolt against you if you treated them too cruelly. But even that just means you have to play the Machiavellian game of manipulating your citizens into obeying you. Few RTSes give you a peaceful victory option, and the ones that do – like Civilization – usually put far less thought into them than they put into war.)

But wait! This isn't entirely true. Games think a lot about consequences as far as their real gameplay is concerned. The GTA review that sparked this outrage talks about setting up elaborate combinations of vehicles and weapons for your grand heists—proof that Rockstar knows that requiring your players to think about their choices can make a game world more immersive. They understand that the more your actions have consequences, the more fun it becomes to make your choices. Yet there are no consequences for killing civilians. Not really. Death is impermanent, hospital stays cost no money, it's practically un-American how irresponsibly you can behave and not suffer blowback.

Considering how many hundreds of people your GTA character kills, I think it would be a lot of fun if the city's media dynamically reacted to your killings. What happened to infamy? Let players develop a reputation for themselves. But at the same time, let cops try to track your location and hunt you down, let weeping family members be heard on the radio, let there be stories of children orphaned, spouses kicked out of their house and onto the streets, because they lost the person who was providing for them. Rockstar's a fan of black comedy—think of the potential there'd be in making a player deal with the consequences of their choices. You could make them hilariously dystopian: every death you cause seemingly triggers a wave of sorrow and sadness that's almost comedically depressing. And then, every so often, they report a death on the radio and note, "Nobody seems to care that Ernest John Jackson is dead. On to sports!" Which is hilarious AND depressing! Hell, you can even make it meta and have some of the dead people be loser gamers whose parents are glad they're out of the basement at last. GTA players would eat that shit up.

I mean, this is all off the top of my head. And that system detailed above would still be pretty consequence-free. What if hookers yelled at you to spare them as you bashed in their heads? Desperately offered you the only couple thousand dollars they have to their name? Tell you about their kids, their hospitalized parents? Why is it that killing is so funny? Why is it that your deaths are never as brutal or unpleasant as the ones you inflict upon NPCs? If there was a random event that involved your character being tied to a radiator and beaten to death over the course of thirty minutes, even if it was one in a hundred thousand games that ever saw it, you'd quickly have an urban legend for gamers to discuss in hushed voices. You'd also have a lot of gamers seriously re-consider the actions they took in-game. That's the sort of escapist grittiness that people legitimately respond to. People like thinking serious thoughts in games! That's why Rockstar so craves this bullshit "artistic legitimacy" which they'll never, ever have. Gamers responded well to Heavy Rain, to Bioshock Infinite, to The Last of Us. All three of which are pretty asinine examples of moral dilemmas to begin with but gamers don't care! They are so deprived of content which treats them like adults that they will eat up every scrap of false self-reflection you fire their way! And Rockstar builds games knowing this! The point of these critiques of their games is that if they were smarter, more self-aware, less seemingly bro-tastic, they would make games which actually do the things games keep pretending to do.

And it turns out, certain games have risen up to fill the voids these AAA titles have foolishly left blank. Cart Life, which was the big indie success story last year, has you playing as a vendor in a biggish town, trying to make a living withing completely screwing up the rest of your life. It gives you an insane amount of detail as you go about trying to fulfill this seemingly mundane task: you have to buy ingredients, prepare meals, small-talk your clients, and meanwhile things are happening in your character's life that you can't shy away from. It's a story of city living that gives you a whole lot of freedom but also assigns this incredible weight to your actions. Pretty phenomenal, actually, and it puts the lie to this crap about choice and "this game is good because you caaaaaan kill hookers but it's moral because you don't have to." Which is the five-year-old's go-to argument anyway.

Now, the game that I made into the focus of my thesis is an even more pointed criticism of your GTAs, and it's pretty much the single best argument against modern game design that I've come across ever, which is why my thesis is being reworked into a book for mass audiences. It's called Pathologic, and if it wasn't for the fact that it was poorly made to the point of being virtually unplayable, we'd probably acknowledge it as the most important game of the last decade (and we'd have ignored Bioshock and Red Dead Redemption's attempts at "artistic narrative" entirely, thank God). As a matter of fact, in Russia where it was originally created, critics compared it to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas favorably, despite Pathologic's way less impressive gameplay, graphics, voice acting, and basically everything. Because Pathologic exposes the lie inherent in these open worlds we love so very much.

To keep things brief, and to convince you to buy my book when it comes out, Pathologic is big on the inescapability of consequence. It's like a Greek tragedy, but the player's the one whose hubris will bury them and lead to sorrow. And the steps that you have to take if you want to avert this tragedy involve you literally going about the steps that lead you to cathartic self-actualization. (The ending is insanely, gloriously convoluted, hehe, and no English-speaking critic played the game long enough to discover it.) In the meantime, though, you're trying to keep alive in this city from some sort of political hell, and you realize as you play that you are no better, fundamentally speaking, than any of this town's residents, be they criminal or otherwise.

What this means, logistically speaking, is that any of the generic characters/enemies you encounter on the streets is a role you might come to fill. Not through plot twists, either: through the mechanics of gameplay alone. Muggers who try to stab you and loot your body are an early enemy. Clear-cut evil villains, those! Except that food is expensive in this town, and you don't have much money, and when you have clear deadlines for achieving those things in life which you think are way more important than scrounging through trash cans for bits and pieces of food, you have to start taking shortcuts. And before you know it there's a young woman lying dead on the ground because you need her jewelry to buy a loaf of bread. And tomorrow you'll probably have to kill again.

A big part of the game's play is your figuring out how to become less of a monster. Well, monster isn't the right word, because the more you go on the more you realize that everybody – the corrupt politicians, the bickering families, the rioters, the religious cultists – has a valid reason for believing what they believe, acting how they act. You'll realize this because you'll become each and every one of them, usually without realizing it. It's a brilliantly-written game (translation issues aside) in that it realizes its characters in great depth, yet in ways that mean you'll react poorly to many of them even as you understand (or think you understand) their reasons for being. Which in turn makes you into just as misunderstood a character as everybody else. The central horror of the game (did I mention it was a horror game?) is how it makes you realize, over and over again, that you're barely more free than the fictional characters that you're living alongside. That, even given free choice, you'll make certain kinds of decisions and certain kinds of mistakes, simply because it is very easy to predict how people will respond to certain sets of facts, certain perceived environments.

(There are moments in this game where you, the player, are made to speak with a fictionalized version of the character you've chosen to play as. And it's uncanny how much this pre-scripted piece of fiction sounds exactly like you. There are also people who've gone through the game in groups, as different characters, and they report back that the game anticipates all of their IRL arguments with each other as they get into them. God I love this game.)

The point of all this, and indeed the point specifically made by Pathologic, is that our actions, our choices, are determined in large part by how we understand a world to work. We will take actions if we think there are no consequences, and if we feel enough of a disconnect from our perceived victims that we think nothing of inflicting pain upon them. There's a moral dimension, polygons or no, just as there's a moral dimension in fiction and theatre and cinema. That dimension comes from how we identify with our characters, and with the worlds those characters occupy. And it's the job of a person creating characters, creating a world, to think about how people will perceive these things.

There's no argument to be made, really, that "oh Rockstar is just out to have fun, keep this morality bullshit out of my entertainment!" Because Rockstar is obviously out to provide their audience with a certain experience. And if that experience is violent and sexist, well, some critics will say "The violence is fine but the sexism is problematic." Because it is. And the argument that this is all one big satire falls apart because satire functions by challenging how we perceive a world. A game in which hookers can be killed without consequence isn't satirizing violence against women—it's saying that violence against hookers is fine because hookers barely count as people. (And in the game world, they don't.) A game that "satirizes" women by making them bitchy and naggy isn't satirizing what we think women are like—it's legitimizing a false perception of women, by mocking that perceived bitch and nag of a female (to use the parlance of our times). It's offensive, it's misogynist, and it absolutely deserves to be called out.

Can we enjoy misogynist entertainment despite the misogyny? Sure! Which is why that original review gave GTA V a 9.0/10 rating. That's pretty damn high! Yet gamers still flipped the fuck out, threatened the reviewer, and did all sorts of nasty shit that suggests the problem here isn't gamers hating censorship or liking freedom of speech. The problem here is gamers believing that a particularly sexist and offensive worldview is, in fact, a reflection of the reality they're a part of. And Rockstar is absolutely implicit in encouraging and reinforcing this worldview, through their game in which beating hookers to death is a choice with no consequence. I'm not saying this leads to gamers killing hookers, because that's silly, but I'm absolutely saying this is a game whose underpinning philosophy is not saying a whole lot of respectful stuff about women, "moral dimension of polygons" or no.

(One of the eeriest details in Pathologic, curiously, is the way that before the violence and horror really begins, you will occasionally see groups of two or three men chasing women down in the street, surrounding them, and beating them to death, all in complete silence. Nobody says anything about this; if you attack the men it is considered a crime. It has nothing to do with the rest of the gameplay. But it's definitely one of the more haunting events that occurs in this spectacularly haunting game, more so because it's such a seeming ghost of an event. No matter why it happens, no matter what the outcome of its happening is, everybody takes it completely for granted, and if you step in to prevent it then it's you who are the dangerous outsider, not them. Still don't know why it happens, and the developers I've interviewed about this game never choose to bring it up.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:33 AM on September 19, 2013 [35 favorites]


I am approaching GTA V the same way I did GTA IV and it's DLC which means *NO CIVILIAN DEATHS*. If I accidentally run over a virtual citizen whilst handbraking round a corner I start afresh from the beginning of the game. I have about 3 or 4 hours in (read ~20 with re-starts) at the moment and have nothing but good things to say about the mechanics of the game. It's a real improvement over GTA IV.

Storywise (no spoilers here) I appreciate Michael and Franklin a lot more than Trevor. Trevor is interesting in a CHAOTIC-EVIL fashion but I've seen too many stereotype sociopaths in recent media to actually find it shocking any more. He certainly is the the most accurate character in how his personality reflects how most players act in game.

I was discussing the lack of a female main character with a colleague before it's release and we weren't really able to come up with a reasonable justification. This was pretty piss-annoying as we've given most minority groups the chance to be a criminal in the GTA series so far, why not throw in a female (and hey, why not an LGBT character that's not an awful steretype) to even things up?

The only problem I can see with making a female lead character in the GTA series is the lack of capable female criminals in popular media. Critiscism of Rockstar for not giving us a tough, capable female criminal character should perhaps reflect our media culture at large given the relative dearth of this trope in movies, books, TV and comics. Sure they could write their own but what tropes would they refer to? What if I want a capable female criminal that doesn't wear a fucking catsuit?

In terms of toughness there are plenty of real world examples to draw from: Russian fighter pilots and snipers from WWII, female spies and WMMA athletes who could easily kick the asses of men in their weight class but as to famous real world female criminals who got their hands wet? I had trouble turning any up that didn't fit one of two different types:

The majority of female criminals of the violent kind that I have seen have either been press-ganged into crime through co-dependency with a dominant male partner or are acting in vengeance against male sexual assault. The remainder are mostly senior (in both age and position) members of an established crime family and thus are more likely to be directing action rather than hooning a car sideways firing an Uzi one-handed out of the window.

As a PnP RPG Director I can write you a dozen tough, capable female NPCs before breakfast without breaking a sweat but literally the only decent badass, female, criminal character I can think of in recent media is Lena Headey's as "Ma-Ma" in Dredd (which you really should watch). You could substitute Ma-Ma for Trevor pretty easily and I'd be happy to see it.

It's a good thing that we will apparently be able to play as a female character in GTA Online and I think we'll see a fairly high percentage of players, both male and female choose to do so, and not just for reduced "hit-box" reasons. I personally believe that the narrative I create playing GTA Online with my friends doing heists will be easily equal to that of the main game, whether it's an all male, all female or mixed gender crew. I will hold out for future GTA V DLC to feature a female character with some chops (not Chops) otherwise.
posted by longbaugh at 6:42 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The only problem I can see with making a female lead character in the GTA series is the lack of capable female criminals in popular media.

I can see the developers sitting around the table. "OK, we got Michael who is basically a retired Tommy Vercetti, Trevor, who is gonna be a young Jack Nicholson, and then the girl who is gonna be just like...uh...I got nothing."

"Me neither. Let's just go with the black guy."
posted by straight at 7:04 AM on September 19, 2013


I think it says volumes that in my peer group (late to mid twenties and early thirties), almost everyone is more excited about the fake stock exchange than they are about the fake strip clubs.

Gamers are more mature than the media, developers or publishers give us credit for and the real test would be to have some faith in your audience. As much as there would be a campaign for 'bring back strip clubs and misogyny in GTA VI!' if they were to remove it, I have a feeling it would be smaller scale and also a lot easier to defend as a decision.

The lowbrow humour and stuff feels like a vestigial tail that Rockstar seems weirdly unwilling to shed, as if though it would somehow compromise the world they've built.

I still like the game and the voice acting throughout is excellent. Wanna leave me death threats? Go for it.
posted by slimepuppy at 8:10 AM on September 19, 2013


Hotline Miami is the game Rockstar always thinks they're making.

I saw that some where and thought it belonged here.
posted by Our Ship Of The Imagination! at 10:25 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Probably in 1994 or 1995 (the first in this series was begun 1995 and completed in 1996, and a spiritual contemporary, Postal, was released in 1997) in , I remember a really sort of tripped out, drunken conversation that I had with a number of online friends at a weekend-long meetup party.

A bunch of us were videogamers, and many of us had aspirations to design games, but I don't think we ever did anything with it.

But the conversation centered around a video game concept we all sort of came up with together that weekend, called "Hurt People and Break Stuff". And I can't help but wonder whether, had any of us got it off the ground, it would have been just a couple years too soon (note yet Steam Engine Time), or whether we'd be the desktop line-snorting cokeheads now or then.

If it helps, within the next couple years saw us become savants, instead, at playing Bushido Blade. One of us went on to play it well in his sleep.
posted by kalessin at 12:40 PM on September 19, 2013


Rory, that is completely fascinating.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:59 PM on September 19, 2013


The only problem I can see with making a female lead character in the GTA series is the lack of capable female criminals in popular media.

Gotta go with Snoop.
posted by Artw at 1:03 PM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The only problem I can see with making a female lead character in the GTA series is the lack of capable female criminals in popular media.

Uh, Jackie Brown?
posted by FJT at 3:21 PM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The point of all this, and indeed the point specifically made by Pathologic, is that our actions, our choices, are determined in large part by how we understand a world to work. We will take actions if we think there are no consequences, and if we feel enough of a disconnect from our perceived victims that we think nothing of inflicting pain upon them. There's a moral dimension, polygons or no, just as there's a moral dimension in fiction and theatre and cinema. That dimension comes from how we identify with our characters, and with the worlds those characters occupy. And it's the job of a person creating characters, creating a world, to think about how people will perceive these things.

Eric Zimmerman has somewhat beefed with this view. As he once tweeted: "A game writer scripting a moral dilemma in an RPG: *not* an ethical choice. Deciding whether or not to cheat in Poker: ethical choice."
posted by Going To Maine at 3:37 PM on September 19, 2013


Eric Zimmerman has somewhat beefed with this view. As he once tweeted: "A game writer scripting a moral dilemma in an RPG: *not* an ethical choice. Deciding whether or not to cheat in Poker: ethical choice."

There's a difference between moral choices made within a game and moral choices made about a game, sure. And if the moral dilemma is scripted in the sense of, the outcome is determined by writers in advanced, then the dilemma feels kind of bullshitty to me, which is why the critically-acclaimed moments in BioShock, Red Dead Redemption, Modern Warfare 2, and Mass Effect all frustrated the hell out of me.

The difference in Pathologic is that dilemmas are, with only one or two exceptions, emergent rather than scripted. It's the properties of the game world that result in your slowly losing "moral" solutions to your problems, unless you're approaching playing it in a very particular manner; past a point, unless you've taken precautions, you will find that the only wholesome approaches you have to survival are simply too expensive for you to maintain.

It's not an ethical choice in the sense that poker cheating is ethical, because there are no people affected by your decision IRL, but it's a simulation of a morally-charged scenario, designed to dispel any notions you have that you're somehow above criminality or making difficult ethical decisions. There but for the grace of God go you and so forth. Ultimately, if you have to murder a couple of people in a video game, you're not a worse person for it, but perhaps you have a better understanding that crime is often less a matter of moral depravity than it is a function of structural imbalance that puts people in positions of needing to commit criminal acts. And that's one of a good dozen layers of gameplay here that are all geared towards challenging your assumptions that you are not the equal to the people you encounter here, even the ones you most despise.

So Zimmerman's right in one sense, but the way in which he's right doesn't change the impact a well-crafted dilemma in a game can have on its player. That said, however, I don't think most games' "dilemmas" are really as morally-charged as their designers intend them to be.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:20 PM on September 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


The only problem I can see with making a female lead character in the GTA series is the lack of capable female criminals in popular media.

Justified did this well! Mags "Ma" Bennett, moonshine bootlegger matriarch, for which Margo Martindale won a much-deserved Emmy. One of the best television characters ever, male or female, IMO.

Not only was Mags a "capable female criminal", she was a fully fleshed-out character with complex motivations and warring loyalties. Fiercely protective of her family despite her own frustration with their obvious limitations (if you were familiar with her sons, you'd understand), she was equally capable of ruthless pragmatism (acting without hesitation to take out a rival who threatened the family's business) and genuine empathy (taking an orphaned girl into her home after the sudden death of her father). Am Bennett's affection for the girl was sincere, seeing in her the smart, capable daughter she always wanted but never had (again, if you were familiar with her sons, you'd understand), but she never lost sight of the potential threat the girl might pose if her loyalties did not line up with those of the Bennett family. Which was pretty likely, given that Mags was the one responsible for making her an orphan in the first place.

And, come to think about it, Ava is another strong female criminal on Justified right now, though she is so sympathetic most of the time I don't even think of her as a criminal.
posted by misha at 8:42 PM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, hey, Hannah on Dexter, too!
posted by misha at 8:43 PM on September 19, 2013


Griselda Blanco, is a real person, and fits the bill. Cocaine Cowboys 2 has an in-depth look at her crime life.
posted by lkc at 10:30 PM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have not seen Justified yet but its on my watch list. Only just finished Deadwood so don't want to over-Timothy-Oliphant myself. Jackie Brown, whilst a great female criminal character isn't a badass although some of Pam Grier's previous roles could realistically be counted as such. Snoop is great of course.

It's nice to see that it's a failure on my part to find the characters rather than them simply not existing although there are still only a tiny number to reference.
posted by longbaugh at 1:49 AM on September 20, 2013


I am approaching GTA V the same way I did GTA IV and it's DLC which means *NO CIVILIAN DEATHS*. If I accidentally run over a virtual citizen whilst handbraking round a corner I start afresh from the beginning of the game. I have about 3 or 4 hours in (read ~20 with re-starts) at the moment

This is more disturbing than anything in Grand Theft Auto 5.
posted by EmGeeJay at 4:35 AM on September 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


When I play GTA I tend to try and avoid hitting civs and dinking up my car when I'm not on a mission.

All this GTA news makes me want to go back and finish San Andreas... but I ran into a total brick wall on one bit last time coz the driving is so much harder on the PC version
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:52 AM on September 20, 2013


Ok, I just had the most fun I think I've had in a GTA game since ever. I took Franklin out bush, found him a tractor, and drove up and down the highway flipping the bird to the drivers of all the other cars. One got out and chased me for like three game miles down the highway, me giving him the finger the whole way, and then I led him onto the train tracks and kept him there until a train destroyed us both. Worth it. I was crying with laughter.
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:39 AM on September 20, 2013 [7 favorites]




Conclusive proof that violent videogames don't make you violent.
(Because it was the kids who didn't have the game who done the violence...)
posted by EndsOfInvention at 7:59 AM on September 21, 2013




Historically I've not been a huge fan of Leigh Alexander because I think most of what she writes is dreary pabulum, but damn if she doesn't hit it out of the fucking park with her actual review of GTA V.
posted by Sebmojo at 4:06 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]




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