Grand Theft Auto V: A clear and present danger to society

What did you do this weekend?

Here are some of the things I did:

I drove a superbike up a mountain, snaking along the arete with dexterity and skill, just to get a selfie at the top overlooking the surrounding countryside. After a surprisingly non-fatal accident which involved falling off said mountain on said superbike, I strolled out of hospital and headed for the airport.

After cunningly evading security by smashing my newly-acquired 4X4 through a fence, I merrily dodged police cars before commandeering a passing Learjet. I took the plane for a quick spin out over the ocean, returning to attempt an admittedly risky landing on a mountain road, decimating a herd of deer and a hiker in the process.

I quickly descended the mountain in a clapped out camper van, stopping occasionally in the path of downhill mountain bikers with hilarious consequences. Upon arrival back in the city I took up honest work as a tow truck driver, helping out a friend who had succumbed once again to his crack addiction. Oh JB, when will you learn!

My coup de grace was to steal a yacht from a pair of yuppies, sail it gently up an inlet, get out, punch the man who took a picture of the yacht directly in the face, steal $19 from the man, lead the chasing police up a mountain in a sports car, then lose them by careering down a ravine before shooting over the highway like a steel comet, jumping out in mid-air and obtaining only minor injuries as I ploughed, salmon-like, into the sea.

Admit it, that's a nice yacht.

Admit it, that’s a nice yacht.

I should point out that in the nine hours all of these activities took, I did none of the following:

– eat

– drink appropriate levels of fluid

– leave the sofa

– press pause

– make any human contact outside of grunts

– start the actual story bit of the game

GTA is obviously a very violent game, and it’s getting a lot of stick from a lot of people whose last games console was clearly an Amiga 500, who argue that it will lead to violent copycat behaviour and that videogames are inherently evil and must be outlawed. This is clearly bollocks.

What is more concerning is that Rockstar have made something so vast, detailed, immersive and downright fun that I could conceivably spend the rest of my natural life in a fictional city buying strip clubs or hunting coyotes in a desert with a sniper rifle. I could seal myself off from the world with just this game and be happy for a good long time. I’d never go outside and start picking people off from a clocktower – that would be silly, I live nowhere near any clocktowers – but I could happily become one of those people who has a groove in the sofa which tessellates perfectly their own arse.

Getting it up there without using roads was a completely worthwhile use of an hour.

Getting it up there without using roads was a completely worthwhile use of an hour.

I’m not the only one. Twitter is abuzz with exploits from players or worried messages from their significant others who haven’t seen them for a week. I felt genuine pain for a man who was mauled by a mountain lion whilst trying to take a picture of an elk he’d set on fire.

I mean, who doesn’t want to give that a go? That, my friends, is a story you can tell down the pub when or if you start leaving the house again.

If there is one positive to the situation, it’s that the skydiving practice I’m getting on GTA sets me up nicely for my big charity skydive in the real world in two week; which you can find out about here (seamless Mark, just seamless).

Maybe from now on, instead of labels warning of sex, violence, drug use and the rest, there should be more honest descriptions:

“Warning: this is brilliant. May result in significant loss of free time and/or interpersonal relationships.”

Anyways, off to start the story. See you in about a year. Maybe.

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