December 13th, 2005

Tom Lehrer is Smug

(no subject)

I had a moment of remorse last night while playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. I've played every incarnation of the GTA franchise, from the earliest top-down games (including the London 1969 expansion) to Vice City and now San Andreas and not once have I ever felt bad about perpetrating any of the zillions of crimes that I've perpetrated while playing the game. I can't help it; the game is cartoony and fun. Who doesn't love a moment every now and then of rampaging down a city street in a cement mixer, while wearing a hockey mask and Zubaz?

Last night, though, I was carrying out a mission wherein my wannabe gangsta pal OG Loc wanted me to steal for him a van with a real sweet sound system. The van was being used to spin tunes at an all-night beach party, so off I went to the beach, looking very friendly and approachable in my hockey mask and Zubaz. I find the van and a friendly DJ type, and she wants me to show off some dance moves. This then brings me to the second DDR-style mission so far in the game (the first was a lowrider hydraulics show-off competition, no kidding) and so once again I hit the right arrows at the right time and my avatar does his stuff and really impresses the DJ.

"Why don't you step into my office?" she says for no discernible reason that I can fathom, and hops into the van. So I hop into the van as well. At this point I've forgotten that the game is all about larceny and being mean and shaking down little old ladies for their Social Security (well at least that's where I pretend the money comes from.) Maybe it's the late hour, I don't know, but when I hop into the van I'm under the crazy delusion that I'm in a Regular Game, wherein I shall receive the van and sound system through some contrived show of respect on the DJ's part. "Wow, great dance moves! Here, have my van with expensive stereo!"

But no. The game then instructs me "steal the van!" and so I do, pitching the DJ out of the side door and roaring off. But not before feeling, well, pretty bad about it.

I mean, pimping? A-OK. Carjacking? Can do. Carjacking and then running over the driver so they won't chase me? You got it. Approaching people on a secluded forest path with a knife and slitting their throats? Wicked easy. Pegging cops on motorcycles just to watch 'em fly off? Hilarious fun! Gunning down purple-wearing gang members in cold blood because I'm a member of the Green Wearing Gang and the Purple Wearing Gang is my sworn enemy? No problem. Indiscriminately chucking grenades in random directions? Awesome! Firing potshots at cars' gas tanks to watch 'em explode? Toasty. Retransmitting or rebroadcasting the Sox game without the express written consent of Major League Baseball? Difficult to do (the VCR programming mission is a bitch) but I pulled it off without a hitch. But gaining the trust of some random DJ through dance, and then stealing her van? Now that just ain't cool.

In fact, I was so filled with remorse after this most heinous act I had to go steal a bunch of cars and pile them on the railroad crossing so the oncoming train would hit 'em all and make a terrific wreck. Then I felt better, and kept on keepin' on.