Although I got the game during the last holiday season, it’s only been recently that I’ve spent any real time in the world of ‘Grand Theft Auto V’, thanks to a combination of illness and daughter-on-vacation.  I found great hilarity in a moment wherein the protagonist (who reminds me of Ray Liotta) tells his therapist (yes, the game has an option to go visit your shrink) that he feels like two different people sometimes, wondering if he’s somehow being controlled by greater forces, a lovely meta-statement by the creators, followed by a moment where he and his partners mowed down row after row of corrupt LSPD police officers.  It’s kind of a given in these games that you’ll be shooting up the joint, but occasionally I’m given pause by grimdark stabby-stabby, as I prefer the Tommy Vercetti tongue-in-cheek “We all know this is over-the-top goofy and we’re all in on the gag” approach, which leads to today’s polygon-rendered query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced “ver-set-tee”) had no problem with the violence in ‘Grand Theft Auto III’ until he had to explain what was happening to a five-year-old girl, asking: Are you ever troubled by the actions of your video game avatars?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Hannah Jones on

    I recently tried playing an evil character in Dragon Age. I killed two unarmed me, one of whom was wounded. I don’t think I’ll be continuing with that character… It really messed with me.

  2. Sometimes I am. Parts of GTA V horrified me (Some Trevor parts, specifically. If you’ve played it you probably know what I’m talking about). Spec Ops: The Line definitely horrified me, which was most definitely the point the creators were trying to make.

    Sometimes it’s nice to be a little horrified, I think. Video games have sort of been stuck in two places for a very long time, either they are colorful games where plumbers jump on turtles to catchy music or they are blockbuster action with very little reflection. I think it’s good that we can start reaching into territories occupied by things like Heart of Darkness or Full Metal Jacket in games also. Everyone of us do mature (well, mostly) eventually, and I think it’s good that games are slowly starting to catch up with us in that regard.

    I can imagine that having to explain some aspects of GTA to a five-year-old being a bit awkward, though.

      • There were parts of GTAV that I did not want to participate in, specifically the torture scene. I wanted the option to not torture and to not assassinate the target. I know the game is supposed to be satirical, but it went a little far there.

  3. For me, video games are much like novels and are an escape. For the time I’m playing or reading, I’m not Ali the sick girl in the wheelchair, but Ali the Pokemon Trainer or Talena the Pegasus Knight or whatever character in whatever game I’m playing allows me to be. These characters aren’t me, though, so I shouldn’t expect them to think as I would. But sometimes, I am a little upset when a character (or often more accurately, the storyline) takes a turn I don’t like or don’t expect. It has rarely made me upset enough to stop playing or anything, but I do often imagine what I’d have done differently or what options I would have hoped were available to the character.

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