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Burnt rubber: blazing through GTA IV

January 6, 2011

Once again, my obsessiveness has caused me to miss the full extent of something special.

After fall finals, I had the chance to play a gem given to me by my brother last Christmas. But I scuffed that gem, and its value was greatly diminished by my own handling of it.

Fueled by an intense self-imposed pressure to “beat” the game before traveling on vacation, I played it on overdrive. I did only the necessary missions, in order, slicing at this vibrant open world with razor-sharp linear intensity. I left all of my “friend” characters hanging, annoyed at me for never calling them back regarding non-required fun. My Niko was a heartless, friendless, joyless jerk. Like the fattest Wisconsin tourist or most jaded Wall Street tycoon, I avoided the foot-on-the-pavement thrill of exploring this awe-inspiring city to skip ahead by taxi and save a little extra time and effort. As if reclining on the couch and pressing a button to high-jack a video game car could really be called “effort.”

I did beat the game before I left for vacation, but it was a hollow victory. Each prior iteration of the modern GTA has consumed me completely (just ask my college roommate). This one I tried to consume on my own terms, and wound up with a bitter, half-digested experience that was more disappointing because I came into it with so much appreciation for its open-world ideal.

I made play work, and it didn’t work. Lessons learned – speed kills and burnt rubber stinks.

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From → Shame

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