The folks over at GamerSpawn.tv are known for their high quality documentaries about popular video game franchises. Typically, they focus their efforts on triple A shooters like Battlefield and Call of Duty, but with the upcoming release of Grand Theft Auto V, GamerSpawn's staff has turned their attention to the GTA franchise. The resulting film is a 48-minute documentary that chronicles the history of Grand Theft Auto and the controversy that it has inspired.
Grand Theft Auto's evolution is an interesting one, to be sure. The franchise has managed to carve out an impressive legacy since it was released in 1997, and much of this reputation has to do with the mechanical advances that GTA introduced into the video game universe. Open world games were practically unheard of before GTA hit the market, and every successive release has managed to refine those original concepts.
But mechanical advancement isn’t the only thing that GTA brought to the table, and the GamerSpawn documentary dives into many of these other elements and highlights their culture connections. GTA’s storytelling aspects, for instance, like gang warfare and pedestrian interaction, have also followed a discernible, evolutionary path to their current state. In the early days, Grand Theft Auto focused heavily on the tension between your player character and whatever law enforcement agency happened to be tracking you down. But as the game matured, plot lines developed a sense of depth, and moral ambiguity became a thematic focus. This was underlined by the inter-gang rivalries that became a staple of the series.
Outside of the video game industry, though, GTA has always been a touchy subject. Nervous lawmakers, religious groups and media outlets have consistently decried the game's moral ambiguity, and called for Grand Theft Auto's removal from the market. One person in particular, a former lawyer named Jack Thompson, has spent over a decade trying to get Grand Theft Auto taken off the shelf. Obviously, he hasn't succeeded yet, but with GTAV just around the corner, I'm sure we'll hear from him again.
Barring some kind of quasi-fundamentalist uprising, Grand Theft Auto's place in video game history has been secured, and GamerSpawn's documentary captures its importance with elegance. Even if you're not a huge fan of the GTA series (do those people even exist?), this film will give you a better understanding of the video game industry by investigating one of its most referenced franchises.
And, at the very least, you'll be able to participate in the conversation when all of your friends are talking about Grand Theft Auto V.
Date: April 25, 2013