A Pioneer In Sandbox Gaming

User Rating: 8.7 | Grand Theft Auto PC
These days, the original GTA doesn't really live up to some of the other action games out there, but it's hard to imagine any of them being around without its success. It's believed that this was one of the first real sandbox games, meaning that the player is given a big open world to explore, and do whatever he/she feels like. If you got tired of walking, why not 'jack a sports car and mow some folks down? Having a bad day? What better way to blow off some steam than to steal a school-bus and drive it off a bridge? Well, maybe that was just me...Still, I remember spending countless hours driving around, shooting people all night long, and having some of the craziest car chases with the police. See, back then, this generation of gamers were much more simple. Then, I didn't care about story-lines, or cool graphics, or any lasting appeal. No matter how much I played, my huge imagination allowed me to keep myself entertained. If I could think it, I could do it. One thing I became really fond of doing was setting up a massive road-block with gas trucks and waiting for a huge pile of traffic to build up, and then blow it all up. I haven't played GTA much for a few years, mainly because I've been busy getting into newer games like Crackdown and Saint's Row, but once in a while, it's fun to take a trip down memory lane again, if only for the sake of nostalgia. Actually I recently found a way to hack my PSP and get it on there and I gotta say it's pretty entertaining to just pull it out and dive in for a few minutes, cause some havoc, and then stop again. But when there are games like Vice City Stories out there, you might be better off sticking with that. The PlayStation 1 version isn't really any different but I'd say you're better off with the PC version. It's a bit tricky to set up, but GTA on the PC has a little multiplayer mode that lets you play around with a buddy. It's nothing incredible but it's good for a bit of fun, if not a few laughs. Also, I'm pretty sure the game is now freeware, so you should be able to download it from its website. Personally, I bought a double pack a few years ago that came with the original and the London expansion. The expansion set isn't really a big deal and is basically the same game, except the city is a bit different, and there are some new missions. The set I got only cost like $5-$10 or so, so it's a pretty good value for what you get. If you want something that's kinda fun to play around with, see about downloading it (try rockstar's website) or if you're just a fan of the series, get the double pack. You can probably pick it up real cheap and used at an EB games or something. We've been spoiled by Vice City and San Andreas and all those great games, so this will seem pretty weak when stacked up beside those games, but if it weren't for this old gem, we may not have games as distinctive and special as the Grand Theft Auto series.
For its time, this game received an abundance of positive feedback. However, it received some bad rep as well. While Rockstar games invented and redefined the Sandbox genre, they also (whether deliberately or not) began another trend. Specifically, with politicians and parents. Aside from games like Mortal Kombat, there wasn't a more-controversial game available. The crime rate was high, so as soon as kids began blowing each other away and murdering innocent people, congressmen and other politicians took aim at the game industry. They claimed that violent games such as this were the cause of all the killing and violence in the real world. GTA has always encouraged killing, but only in th game. However, these congressmen believed that it was encouraging and inspiring people to kill both in the game world and in reality. While there were several lawsuits filed against the developer, these cases were all thrown out of court, since there wasn't much evidence to prove a connection between the two. Unless I'm wrong, even to this day, nobody ever really gets away with suing the game industry. This is good because there are a lot of good people out there who play this, but wouldn't dream of harming someone. However it's these sociopath gamers that give games a bad reputation, and it really annoys me when people group all of us good guys with everyone else, making us all look like a bunch of primitive, barbaric stereotypes. Still, I think because of this controversy, the game became even more popular. The ironic thing is that the game is fairly tame by today's standards. Back then, a few small drops of pixelated blood was considered extremely violent and sick. But, there are many games out there nowadays that have you chopping off heads, and disemboweling people. Hell, remember Manhunt (also developed by Rockstar)? You could actually choose how you would kill somebody, like breaking necks or suffocating with shopping bags.
Whether people (and the government) like it or not, there's always gonna be some goof pointing a finger at the industry, trying to use it as a scapegoat.
In closing, this game is a must for any fan, but again, it's fun for the sake of nostalgia. It's also entertaining because it truly shows just how far we've come along from flat, pixelated cities. Still, this game was never about graphics and was deeply devoted to just good fun. And in the end, isn't that the only thing that matters?