Even if Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars took a drubbing at retail, the creativity of the GTA series remains a towering achievement in the game industry's eyes. Its effect is now being appreciated--not demonized, for a change--in the mainstream media as well. Time magazine has named Rockstar Games cofounders Sam and Dan Houser in its list of the 100 most influential people in the world over the past year.
The Housers' tribute entry on the Time 100 list was penned by The Simpsons executive producer Matt Selman. "What makes the Housers' creation unparalleled is that their games have a take on American cultural history," wrote Selman. "A smart take. A take that solidifies the culture's vision of its recent past. Was it a prominent film or book or record that defined how we look back on gang-era Los Angeles [in San Andreas]? No, it was a video game that uses movies, music, and writing to a greater effect."
"Who better summarized and satirized the drug-dealing Miami of the '80s [in Vice City]," he continued. "Or the New York City of now [in GTAIV]? The Housers are doing the work of Tom Wolfe, creating tapestries of modern times as detailed as those of Balzac or Dickens. At least, I assume that's true. Instead of reading those guys, I've been in Liberty City stealing tanks."
As has been the case in the past two years, Nintendo managing director Shigeru Miyamoto also ranked among the 100 most-influential list picked by Time's editors. Having landed the top slot in the popular-choice "Your Time 100" list last year, Miyamoto slipped to number 42 on the Internet voted-based chart in 2009. Topping this year's list, which combines user rating and popular votes, is Moot, better known as the founder of popular Internet meme-creating forum 4chan. Moot is also the highest-rated person on the list, although current top vote-getter is Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao.