Sociologist Finds GTA IV is "Less Sensational" Than Real Crime

Illustration for article titled Sociologist Finds GTA IV is Less Sensational Than Real Crime

Slate contributor Sudhir Venkatesh is a Columbia sociology professor who has written a book about street gangs, even going so far as to run with one in Chicago for a book. So, naturally, Grand Theft Auto IV would intrigue him. His verdict on the game's realism? It "actually offered a less sensational portrait of gangland and ghetto streets than the one put out by most cops, politicians, policymakers, and even academics."

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But it does pretty much nail the always changing landscape of a criminal's life, in enemies who become friends and vice versa, risks taken trusting someone and goals that were of vital importance at one point becoming expendable in short time.

It's still "a carnival of violence, deceit, and cruelty that makes you slightly nauseated after playing for only a few hours" - well, remember he's writing for a Slate audience. He fesses up to lacking joystick skills to control the cars, but offers up a couple informed suggestions.

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One, set the next one in the south side of Chicago (isn't that Carcer City in GTA canon?) and two, for multiplayer: Form gangs, or clans, which themselves have their own alliances and enemies and bargains. That gets GTA IV into MMO territory of course - but isn't that the rumor we're hearing out of latest developments with Realtime Worlds and APB?

What Grand Theft Auto IV Gets Right About Gangland and Illegal Economies[Slate]

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DISCUSSION

@buttpwner: Right... he's basically saying that the cops and media have gotten so paranoid in their portrayals of crime lately that GTAIV actually seems mild compared to what we're being told by these other, more respected sources.

That doesn't mean GTAIV is less "sensational than real crime". It means its less sensationalistic than the portrayal of the crime problem in mainstream media and from official sources. Two very different points there.

The ironic thing is that this point is hammered home repeatedly in the game itself, with Weazel News and whatnot focusing so heavily on terrorism and crime, and this vague undercurrent of anti-immigrant feeling running through all the crime stories on the radio and on the Liberty Tree.