When any cultural product takes in a billion dollars of business in the first three days of its release, as Grand Theft Auto V did, you kind of have to pay attention to it. For years now many have been touting the fact that blockbuster movies appear to be on the decline at the same time video game sales are reaching all-time highs. Comparing the two on an artistic level is still riddled with problems and philosophical gaps, but on a business level, and a popular culture level, it’s becoming impossible for culture watchers to ignore an industry that continues to increase its modern cultural force.
One of the hurdles for people like me, whose avenue into popular culture is primarily movies and television, is confronting a niche market that has become mainstream in the face of an era when being mainstream simply comes about as a result of having a strongly established and passionately received niche. Gaming culture seems to be this way. And it’s intimidating for a non-gamer to venture into a realm seemingly (stereotypically) dominated by digitally sophisticated and socially inept hoards of basement dwellers. Of course, this is absurd. The same way the label of “foodies” shouldn’t ruin all food, this “gamer” label should have no bearing on anyone’s ability to participate in and enjoy the hell out of some of the most fun entertainment products that humankind has ever manufactured.
All this is to say that I am such a “noob” that I don’t even know if the term “noob” is in use these days, and that I bought Grand Theft Auto V (a week later than most people, I suspect) and have been playing it obsessively. After spending significant time with the game, I have 10 questions that are possibly rhetorical enough to be timid observations that might be worth sharing.
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