Back when Grand Theft Auto was released, I wasn’t the attentive videogame critic I am now. I rarely ever found any negative features of a game, and if it had some cool things like flyable planes, then it immediately got my stamp of approval. GTA didn’t have flyable planes, but that’s neither here nor there.
The thing about Grand Theft Auto is that it’s etched in my mind. I don’t know why, but everything about that game seemed to impress me. The missions were a high point for me. The approach they took with advancement through the game was great, “Drive around, and if you hear a phone ringing, go do a mission”, and it worked. I didn’t have to worry about completing a mission before I could do something: I was free.
Looking back, I can’t really see why I loved Grand Theft Auto so much. The series only began to break boundries with the birth of GTA III and before that we had top-down sandbox games with ugly looking graphics. Freedom played a big part in my love for GTA. I love to goof around in games and this is one of the few games that allow me to.
Even though it was awkward, the top-down view is something I fondly remember.
Long, winding roads and fast cars allowed me to run free at my hearts desire, and for this reason alone I spent well over 100 real hours playing the game. But the controversial nature of the game really took me by storm. I fondly remember barricading myself along with a few hundred civilians into an enclosed car park and whipping out my flamethrower. That is something you can’t enjoy anymore. Every since Rockstar did away with the top-down view, causing fiery havoc with a flamethrower is never any fun.
This alone represented the mischief the game conveyed, the “I can’t do this in real life, but what the heck, it’s just a game” feeling you would get when a twinge of guilt would escape into your stomach and the fact I was too young to play the game anyway. But luckily I didn’t become emotionally troubled and I remain as sane as I was when I first clapped eyes on the PS1.
Then of course the first iteration paved the way for future games. GTA 2 was good, but nothing remarkable. GTA III not only dragged Grand Theft Auto, but the entire games industry into 3D technology and games like San Andreas and Vice City still remain some of the greatest games to ever grace our consoles. And it all stemmed from that measly little sandbox game that I was stuck like glue to.
If you want to reminice in GTA glory, or haven’t played the game yet (there’s clearly something wrong with you!), then you’re in luck, because Rockstar are giving away GTA and GTA 2 as part of their Rockstar Classics programme. Click here to download some GTA goodness!