A Reason for All the Perfect Scores?

I’ve not had one viable reason to trust the reviews from the big boys when it comes to GTAIV. Recently, I came across this: something from somebody I trustóa person who actually used to be with the big boys.

The story is what I came to see. And Iím having trouble putting my feelings for this gameís story into words right now. Iíll spare you the fumbling and just say that itís probably the greatest game story of all time, both in content and how itís integrated into the rest of the game.

I’m curious as to what others (even here) may say about the storyline. This statement comes from a guy who plays games for a livingóa lot of games. If it’s a tale of redemption, I will be greatly impressed. However, if the story is so brilliant, how come almost none of the reviews mention how excellent plot is?

Why I Am Not Playing GTAIV

Gamespot: 10 out of 10. Game Informer: 10 out of 10. X-Play: 5 out of 5. IGN: 10 out of 10. 1UP: A+. Gamespy: 5 out of 5.

I would not be surprised if GTAIV is Game of the Year. I’m not playing it, and I probably never will.

Here are my reasons in no particular order:

There are just too many reasons not to.

I’ve changed. In the past, I would play any game that was popular or a triple-A title without any regard to content or subject matter. I just cannot play a game where it’s good to be bad. I pretty much avoid games where you are a serial killer, psycho, or just some crazy going postal. The GTA games let you do just that. You’re rewarded for being evil, and not just a satiric or comedic type of evil. Generally, the worse you are the better. I’m not against violence. I like playing Crackdown and Assassin’s Creed, but even then I don’t play them all that much anymore. Now, someone will argue that I really don’t know the game because I’ve never played it. However, there’s so much about GTA in popular culture and reviews that I’m pretty sure I’m not too far off the mark.

Violence and language affects you. Argue this as much as you want, but playing games influence you. Any game. There is no way around it. Another argument is that anything we watch, do, hear, and feel influences a person. Over the past year I’ve come to realize that when I surround myself with violence I tend to be more agitated and have a shorter fuse. I’m also tempted to use language I shouldn’t when I hear a lot of it. That’s not good. I generally avoid movies, comics, books, and games with over-the-top violence and language.

I have two kids under the age of five. Why even fall into the trap of exposing my boys to this? Will I be able to protect them from everything? No. This is me being a responsible parent. By the way, the adult games I do own and play are put up and out of sight from the kids. I don’t watch movies or play games until after they are in bed.

My job. In working with teenagers, I am appalled at how many of them know about games such as the GTA series or any other type of game that the ESRB says they shouldn’t play. It’s only too obvious: they’ve played them. Gamers, publishers, and designers can scream all they want, but these type of games are being played primarily by kids. Who’s to blame? Parents? Retailers? Gamers? Publisher? Designers? You? Me? No one really knows, and that debate will go on forever. I’m trying to influence kids to live good, clean lives and uphold at least a modicum of morality. It gets difficult when I’ve got to break up a group of kids sharing gaming tips when it’s time to teach them. Oh, and it’s not just games either. Movies like Superbad (Quality matches title? Brilliant) and their ilk are just as to blame.

I know some of these reasons are tied together. Do I think anything negative about people who play these type of games? Not at all. Each person is allowed to set their own standards. I just feel that if no one at least stands up and reminds us what we’re really surrounding ourselves with and sucking into our lives what it is we might become. If not, we may see games where you can drive spikes through a person’s skull, come up with creative ways by killing a person by cutting their genitalia, and exploring all ways to strangle a man. Oh, wait…I think we’ve got that on a couple of titles.