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dxs's avatar

Give me your best reason for why games such as Grand Theft Auto aren't maniacal.

Asked by dxs (15071points) February 22nd, 2015

The arguments I’ve heard are:
1) It’s not real life.
2) It releases you from reality and allows you to vent.

I understand that a lot of video games involve killing, stabbing, squishing, and cutting bridges under bowsers, but Grand Theft Auto (GTA) is very realistic and detailed, so this adds a whole new dimension.
I’ve played GTA before. Aside from the heinous acts, it’s a really cool game and the visual designers are geniuses. I loved driving around in a truck and exploring all of the neighborhoods of mock-LA while listening to the awesome radio. I could spend eons doing that, but I wouldn’t want to approach innocent civilians, steal their cars, and beat them to death. Do many other people not feel this way?
So if you think it is maniacal, then why is it so commonly accepted in society? If I told people I sit in my room and stab a doll with a pencil, they would probably recommend I get psychiatric help. But perhaps I’m comparing apples to oranges here. (Please don’t assume I stab dolls with pencils—I don’t)
To be clear, I’m judging the game, not the people who play the game.

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16 Answers

jerv's avatar

Just because computer technology has advanced to the point where we have photorealistic graphics instead of huge blocks with a 16 color palette the ability to calculate physics in real-time, that doesn’t mean gaming has really changed.

I would argue that GTA is maniacal, and we merely have inconsistent ideas on what is considered acceptable or unacceptable ways to show that maniacal side of ourselves.

trailsillustrated's avatar

It’s maniacal. It’s also really fun. My son and his mates play these types of games all the time, they’re normal teenage boys, not into drugs, they get up everyday and go to their apprenticeships.

gorillapaws's avatar

It’s like dead baby jokes. Tasteless, crass, and pretty hilarious as a result. I haven’t played GTA5, but I’ve played earlier incarnations. There is a lot of genius in those games, with solid storytelling and some hilarious dialogue on the various in-game radio stations. The open world aspect is pretty amazing too.

Darth_Algar's avatar

I think one thing a lot of people overlook is that from a narrative standpoint the Grand Theft Auto series is, at its heart, a satire of American culture as viewed through the lens of American media and entertainment.

dxs's avatar

Thanks for the discussion.
@jerv I disagree with your first point about how gaming hasn’t really changed. In my opinion, a small-pixeled, fictional creature without any sentience is a whole lot different than a detailed, real-looking person who expresses emotion. In the sense of killing them and their reactions to the killing, for example. Squashing a goomba doesn’t feel as bad to me as virtually stabbing a person with a knife. Perhaps others feel otherwise.
@Darth_Algar Yes! That’s another thing I’ve heard. But now that you mention it, with all of the violence in this country, I guess no wonder games like GTA have come about. Violence really is just a part of our culture, isn’t it?

Darth_Algar's avatar


TV, movies, etc have been violent for decades. No reason why video games should be any different.

jerv's avatar

@dxs If I read that right, then you have a more literal interpretation of things (and less imagination) than an autistic person and thus cannot anthromorphize something on the screen that an NES renders as just a collection of blocks for the sake of narrative. I mean, if you see a difference there then I must wonder if you are even capable of enough suspension of disbelief to derive the slightest bit of joy from anything fictional, especially those without graphics like books.

dxs's avatar

@Darth_Algar True. Being the person committing the actions is very different, though, don’t you think?
@jerv I feel like I’m saying just the opposite. I am attributing emotional value to these imaginary characters. Killing isn’t my idea of joy anyway. Maybe I don’t have a huge sense of imagination. Maybe I show my “maniacal ways” through other media. I don’t really know, but if anything, it hasn’t been through this.

jerv's avatar

@dxs Goombas are people too!

ucme's avatar

What @Darth_Algar said, with bells on.

Darth_Algar's avatar


No. I see little difference between controlling a pixel person shooting other pixel people and watching Stallone make believe turn scores of people into paint in a movie. Ether way the viewer/player is living vicariously through the action on screen.

Zaku's avatar

GTA has always been maniacal. So what? What do you mean by maniacal, that we should want to talk you out of using that word?

At least it’s also satirical.

As for stabbing dolls, and other destruction of objects, anthropomorphic or not, that might or might not be maniacal, but again, so what? Often that behavior is more about releasing stress and/or aggression or just energy or having fun, and can be quite healthy and encouraged if it’s not destroying anything of real value.

fredTOG's avatar

it’s just a game if it’s anything more to you seek help .

Shovon22's avatar

Hi,I think it’s maniacal for a lot of distinctive objects .There is also no emotional value of this fictional character.But It’s also really fun. :D

Kayceey333's avatar

Many of my friends and peers play this game and many and most of them use it to relieve stress or to play with other peers and not one have robbed a bank yet

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