Because of this, I figured that the entire franchise of Grand Theft Auto was worthy of a little spotlight (as if they don't get enough already), which here on TheNoyse.com can only mean one thing: Another "My Week Of..." series! For September, I am going to attempt a week long GTA experience, aptly titled "My Week Long Grand Theft Auto Crime Spree," as you can see from the top banner. Remember, I'm not going to complete each game, as that's not what this blog is about, but rather just play the games and get something out of each one.
I have no real objective for this week, other than to pay homage to one of the most successful and controversial franchises of all time, focusing on the evolution of the series and maybe trying to figure out just how they got to this point, the top of the mountain.
I wanted to start at the first Grand Theft Auto, the game that started it all. Unfortunately, when I purchased that game (along with GTA 2) in a package deal on Steam, I didn't realize that these first two games weren't compatible with Windows 8, naturally. Apparently Steam and Rockstar are "looking into the issue," but of course, that doesn't help me at all for this week. I wasn't completely bummed out, thought, as the first two games are mere shells of the franchise as it stands today, and it wasn't until GTA III that the franchise took off in mainstream appeal, and created the look and feel of the games that we all know and love. Besides, this way I can fit in a couple of other games I originally wasn't going to have room for. Win-win for everyone, I hope.
So Grand Theft Auto III. The games that mom's love to hate, and one of a handful of games to be put in front of the pubic's eye and attention as both an overwhelming and critical success, but also as one of those games that politicians, activists and finger-pointers turned to as a scapegoat for all things wrong in society, especially when it came to the youth in America. It was mentioned in every news story that involved violence or mischief, especially when juveniles were involved, regardless if those involved even played the game. Despite the hate and backlash that it received, it was still well loved and cherished by gamers old and young.
I remember when I first played it, over at a friend's house. I was out of high school by then, and was close to my now infamous gaming hiatus. I didn't own a PS2 at the time, so the only chances I had to play it was over at his house. And after the first time playing it, I was hooked. Sure, the missions and stories were cool, but we (like most people I'm sure) spent more time than not just driving around, wrecking havoc on Liberty City and living vicariously through the digital thug we were controlling. And it was glorious.
Playing this game again brought back all those memories I had mostly forgotten. I forgot how awesome the Chatterbox radio station was. I forgot how we thought the graphics were amazing back then, but now, they look like a polygon disaster, yet somehow, still manages to look good, all things considered. I forgot how bad most of the mechanics were (driving, shooting, camera, etc.), yet somehow they were groundbreaking and we did't care.
Essentially, I forgot how fun GTA III was, and despite it's flaws and stigma surrounding it, we owe a lot of what we see in video games today to Rockstar and this generation-defining game.
Speaking of defining generations...