Even if you don’t play video games, I’m sure that, by this point, you’ve heard of Grand Theft Auto. I wouldn’t be surprised if the teachers in this course have heard their students abuzz about the latest entry in the series, GTAV, which released Tuesday. Though it’s only been on the market for about a week, it’s already throttled into the forfront of popular culture, with gamers, critics and the media each taking their turn at contributing to the discussion of its legacy not just on video games, but on society, as well.
First, some perspective. Grand Theft Auto V earned $800 million in its first 24 hours on sale and crossed the billion dollar mark shortly after, making it the most lucrative entertainment launch in media history, including movies; movies like Marvel’s The Avengers and Avatar didn’t even reach figures that high until their third week at the box office.
Because so many people are playing it, there are conversations all over the web about what the game says about fans, issues on mysogyny, race, gun violence and a host of others issues.
Here’s an editorial of a video game retailer sales associate lamenting the alarming amount of copies of GTAV parents purchased for their young children. Now, here’s a kid who is so happy that his parents bought the game for him that he weeps tears of joy. Here, you can watch two Polygon editors debate whether Grand Theft Auto is the most influential video game franchise, and here you can read one Guardian contributor’s take on the problematic representations of women in the game. Everywhere on the web, fans and mildy-curious observers of game culture are putting in their two cents on the game. It’s so big, even The New York Times and late nite host Conan O’Brien can’t ignore it.
And this is just the beginning. Next month, Rockstar, the developer behind the franchise, will release an online component to the game to complement the single-player narrative, allowing players to collaborate their own heists and turf wars. If (and perhaps when) the game ever comes to PC, the game will explode even further thanks to the mod community who’ve been tinkering with the GTAIV code for the past few years (for example, here’s a guy who coded Iron Man to be the protagonist).
With the holidays drawing near and outlets looking to begin nominating Game of the Year candidates, GTAV isn’t going away any time soon. Personally, I can’t wait to dive into multiplayer and cause mayhem in Los Santos with the millions of other players online.
Written with StackEdit.