Fans lined up to enjoy Rockstar Games’ newest chapter of mischief and mayhem as the latest installment of the “Grand Theft Auto” series was released on Sept. 17. Though titled “Grand Theft Auto 5,” it is the 15th installment in Rockstar Games’ popular and controversial series.
“I get to do the stuff I can’t do in real life,” said Mike Yearsley from Ogden. “It’s fun to do it in a video game. It’s not real.”
He said that, in addition to the nefarious acts the player can commit, the game includes virtual tennis and golf to keep people entertained.
The series puts the player in control of criminals running errands for mob bosses and corrupt cops until the player eventually progresses to building his or her own criminal empire. The new game allows the player to switch between three main protagonists.
Like its predecessors, “Grand Theft Auto 5” pushes the boundaries of what video games and entertainment can create. The new installment has a mandatory scene where the character must torture an unarmed man, which has generated the most rage from parents and teacher groups such as the Association of Teachers and Leaders. Such groups raised concerns about the level of violence and the freedom the game gives people to virtually commit unscrupulous acts.
Azenett Garza, associate professor of psychology at Weber State University, acknowledged that not everyone who plays these games will go out and kill. However, she said, it can affect interactions.
“You might spend a few hours playing a violent video game. . . . Now I go and cash a check, but I may interpret neutral behavior as aggressive, ” Garza said.
She also acknowledged influence from other media. “The way you interpret the world would be different than someone who just watched a love story.”
Another common concern is the game’s portrayal of women. In a mini-game, the player must attempt to touch a stripper without being caught by the bouncer. The prostitutes, who have been a series staple, return.
April Stark, a WSU sophomore, said she didn’t understand why players of the game think it’s fun to pick up a prostitute and kill her.
“Any woman who is not offended by this isn’t in touch with their femininity,” she said.
Violent video games have long been a topic of debate amongst the media. Some people feel the “Grand Theft Auto” series goes a step further by putting the player in control of the criminal.
“The detrimental part is that you’re acting out the part of the villain, and I don’t want to inspire people to be villains,” said sophomore Russ Reeder.
Reeder said he sees this as the key distinction between this and other violent video games, such as the “Call of Duty”‘ series.
“Grand Theft Auto 5” has received wide critical acclaim and received one of the highest scores ever on review aggregator Metacritic. The game made $800 million on its first day and almost $1 billion in total sales so far, making it the highest-revenue media release of all time.