Grand Theft Auto thrives on its open world. The sprawling landscape of Los Santos or Liberty City draws gamers in. Inside each pixel of a GTA game lives the promise of unexplored fun. This fun doesn’t originate from Rockstar-programmed activities such as tennis or golf. This fun originates from the mind of each gamer. Just like a true sandbox, the imagination that each player brings into a Grand Theft Auto game makes it great.
Most gamers choose to indulge in the creation of chaos and anarchy while playing a Rockstar title. The progression of the Grand Theft Auto punishment system transforms players from small-time criminals to the nation’s most-wanted fugitive in a matter of minutes. Fighting against the aggressive, relentless pressure of the nation’s military amuses some gamers for years after launch date.
In contrast, the pre-planned stages of Grand Theft Auto’s story contain violence that Rockstar uses to push the game forward. Never on a story mission will you find yourself holed up on top of a billboard, armed with a bazooka and other contents that look like stolen property from the local Military base, and bombard your foes with an onslaught of bottled fury. At least, you can’t do this if you want to succeed in the mission. Rockstar’s planned assault can never match the pure, gleeful, and anarchic violence that players can create.
Sightseeing offers an avenue for joy that single-player missions can’t offer. Sure, the game’s story will carry players from one side of the beautifully crafted map to the other, but it can’t match a player charting his or her own path. A lone adventurer can steal a helicopter, fly to the highest building in the city, pick a point, and then glide downwards through the city, taking in the digital landscape as they go. In contrast, the high-octane chases and dramatic shootouts of the story leave little time to truly appreciate the graphics of a Grand Theft Auto game.
If just taking in the city isn’t enough for a player, they can also explore the city while searching for the perfect place to perform a motorcycle jump. No flying vehicles match the thrill of taking to the air on a bike. Although many Rockstar-sanctioned jumps exist in the Grand Theft Auto games, players grab the best air by searching for it. A dedicated thrill seeker can peel away the hours searching for and executing the most daring of jumps.
Another fun activity removed from Rockstar’s beaten path can be a particular kind of fun that only video games can offer: cheating. Although cheats have to be programmed into the game, by activating them, a gamer sacrifices the ability to earn trophies, making them far from sanctioned. Still, the fun of becoming a powerful deity in a digital world of potential sacrifices might be worth the loss of a few trophies. And besides, Grand Theft Auto V has a few cheats too good to pass up.
These few off-the-beaten-path activities take full advantage of Grand Theft Auto’s freedom. Only in an open, living world can players engage in structured activities undiscovered by the developers. With Grand Theft Auto V only a day away, we can look forward to devising new and improved ways to spend time in a Rockstar game.