Grand Theft Auto is both famous and infamous. Which one is more prevalent? That depends on who you talk to. Many gamers feel that this series has broken new ground for the video game industry and flat out love these games. Political figures and parents are usually disgusted and outraged by what they “hear” is in the games. The first game was released in 1997 and was well received. However, the series didn’t really take off until 2001’s Grand Theft Auto III. Since then the series has sold millions of games and had many sequels and expansions.
Grand Theft Auto started on Sony PlayStation. It can now be played on everything from Xbox 360 to Nintendo DS. The demand for these games has exceeded any exclusivity deals with certain console makers. This commercial success has drawn the attention of the media and politicians.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas caused a ton of controversy in 2005 with the famous “hot coffee” incident. A modder released a patch for the game so gamers could engage in a sexual intercourse mini-game. The game involved fully-clothed characters and clearly wasn’t made by Rockstar North. However, this didn’t stop the politicians and parent groups from freaking out. The game was recalled and Rockstar had to release a new version of the game that prevented this modification.
This series has also pushed the envelope with violence. Grand Theft Auto is known for popularizing the sandbox game genre. These games allow the user to partake in side-quests and run around the city doing whatever he or she pleases. This includes shooting civilians and bludgeoning them with objects. This has been a hot topic for those who think video games need to be restricted and censored. Many have fought against this stating that it is just as fictional as a horror film or a television show. They have also argued that it is an art form and it should not be censored.
Grand Theft Auto has also pushed the envelope in many positive ways for gaming. It has helped increase video game console and software sales dramatically. These games have helped define what kind of replay value should be present in a game. Many Hollywood actors have leant their voices to various iterations of the game. These actors have included Ray Liotta, Burt Reynolds and Tom Sizemore, among others. Starting with Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, these games have been known for their eclectic and comprehensive soundtracks that are specific to a certain time period.
This line of games has become one of the hottest commodities in the industry. They have helped video games reach a new level of popularity. Grand Theft Auto is very much a part of popular culture. It is not simply a product. For many, it is a rebellious statement against those who dislike video games. To them it is like giving a big middle finger to the establishment. Regardless of what the intentions were when this series first launched, it is definitely clear that controversy does create cash.