Grand Theft Auto 5: How the GTA series changed the world
Okay, boys and girls. It is pop culture hyperbole time. Take a popular culture product and extend its impact to absurd lengths and try to come off as a visionary who saw things others didn’t. I know, I know. You are probably rolling your eyes because you have seen this before.
It is a common media tactic where journalists would take some device, invention, or product and say it changed the world. It makes for an attention-grabbing headline and it sure does move magazines off the shelf. But as you and I well know, true cultural impact often takes decades to adequately and fairly assess. The truth is that given how fast our culture changes nowadays, this week’s “game changer” becomes a mere transitionary phase after some time. Maybe it would be a good idea to lay off the “paradigm shifts”, “world changing” hype, and other detritus of the media hype machine.
Regardless, the caveat above has not stopped veteran video game industry observer David Kushner from claiming in his book “Jacked: The Outlaw Story of Grand Theft Auto” that the Grand Theft Auto series has heralded a new wave of games and set up a decade’s tone. While it does have its “changed the world” hyperbole excesses, the book does take an in-depth look at the game’s development and how it rose to the top of the game charts. It also delves into its battles with anti-video game crusaders. If Kushner’s name sounds familiar, it is because it is-he previously wrote about the beginnings of the video game industry in his book, “Masters of Doom.”
In an interview with CNET, he said that Grand Theft Auto embodies the story of the video game industry as a whole during the past decade. Really? Considering how diverse the industry is and the differing segments it has, this claim seems, you guessed it, over the top. Regardless, Kirshner focuses on the sexy and attention-grabbing side of the role of the rise of video games and the resistance it encountered among certain sectors. If you can look past this focus and get a feel for the development process-specially its intro into the rise of social gaming, the book offers other interesting nuggets that might make it worth a peek.