Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Residents of Real Life Liberty City Speak Out About GTA IV

Here's a first: a post about videogames. With all the media coverage surrounding the recently released Grand Theft Auto IV, I couldn't resist making at least one post about it. I've been following the news on GTA IV closely, since its predecessor GTA: San Andreas is one of my favorite games of all-time. The majority of the articles about GTA IV are standard reviews, the ones I've seen bestowing GTA IV with "best game of this generation" status, or editorials denouncing its content.

However, over at the excellent videogame blog Kotaku, I found this gem of reporting, In the "Real" Liberty City, GTA IV Might be Cathartic. Written by Leigh Alexander, this piece digs deeper than the standard "what will this do to our children" panic writing. Inhabitants of some of the poor places realistically recreated in the game's Liberty City are interviewed about their attitudes toward the game. A recent slaying of three unarmed young black men in Queens by police officers has increased hostile feelings towards the police in the area. These people talk about how GTA IV will let them alleviate some of their fury towards the law in the safety of a virtual world, an interesting viewpoint that I hadn't previously considered. For a game series that many have labeled racist, these people's enthusiastic anticipatory attitudes are telling, suggesting perhaps, only well-off white people are really frightened or offended by Grand Theft Auto. The day when intelligent gaming writing like this finds its way into the mainstream press will be a triumphant one indeed.

Here's some classic Nas while I'm at it.

Nas- NY State of Mind