Lyberta.net

Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you

My experience with GTA and Saints Row

Last update: 23 Jan 2018
This is a draft of the article, only 60% of the stuff I want to say is written.

Grand Theft Auto

It was 1999 I think. I was just a kid whose only desire was to kill my parents as a revenge for bringing me into this world and subjecting to unending suffering. By sheer luck, I have found video games where I could for a brief moment escape the real world, have some agency and get at least something done. I only had NES clone and Nintendo was heavily censoring their games. I loved video game violence but I was always the “good guy” and it didn’t cut it.

And then I got to my friend’s home and he showed me GTA on PC. Well, fuck me! It was so amazing, just walking around the city and killing everything that moves. It was like dream come true. Finally, I could realize my inner desires of violence and destruction and kill my virtual parents over and over again. But, I actually played only a tiny bit of the first GTA. My friend had GTA and GTA London on the same disk and we mostly played the latter.

Grand Theft Auto: London 1969

Oh yeah, this is my first “proper” GTA. Back in the day I didn’t have my own PC so getting to play it was a real challenge. I could only play it maybe once a month so I didn’t experience it much. One of the most annoying things was that there was no auto-alignment to road like it was in GTA 2 so driving was hard. Cars didn’t show pretty much anything before they would blow up. It was very easy to die. I’m pretty sure missions were in a completely linear order and I have no idea how far I got because I usually had to uninstall the game after I finished playing and had to wait maybe few months to play again. Yeah, life was shit. But, it never really got better.

Overall, I could forgive this game almost anything because playing it was cathartic. You live in hell for several months and then get a few hours in heaven playing GTA: London. Fuck life.

Grand Theft Auto 2

Oh yeah. By this time GTA was already famous and I could even talk to other people about it. I had to borrow a disk from my friend and find PC to play it, pretty much like with London. And not all PCs could run it well. Actually, my first experience was very convoluted. First, there was a color depth issue. GTA 2 requires 16 bit color, I think, the the PC I was using was set to 8 bit color. So I actually had to reboot the PC to get that depth. Then, there was a funny glitch where transparency was not working so all effects were rendered on top of black rectangles. This created a “black hole effect” where explosions looked like a black rectangles with explosion texture on top. When the cars were burning, every puff of flame would get its own black rectangle and there were tons of them stacked. Finally, performance. Oh, it was struggling. If you’d fire RPG at a bunch of cars, the game would enter “bullet time” slowmo which actually looked cool and you could see black holes spreading. Surreal sight. During my first play session I just aimlessly moved around town and barely remember anything.

But then other people told me that there is a tank in the south east corner of the first district that can crush cars and make you pretty much unstoppable. Oh yeah, GTA 2 turned into a tank game. You just drive around the district and crush all cars in your way. You were limited to 4 “star” wanted level (which was using cop heads instead of stars at that time) which gave you SWAT teams. The only way you could lose is to get cops to throw you out of the tank. Still, getting a single play session every few months meant that it took me a very long time to earn million to get to the second district.

And getting to the second district proved to be pretty much the limit I could get to during a single play session. But that changed in 2002 when my family bought a PC. Oh, having a PC turned into psychological torture. You had the only good thing in your life, the only way to escape the hell right around you but couldn’t use it. Oh yeah, fucking parents and fucking school.

I vividly remember this nightmare. Getting forcefully woken up, physically dragged from bed then forced to go to prison called “school” where you are forced to exist near sick fucks called “classmates” whose only purpose is to beat you and laugh at you. Then there are torturers called “teachers” that force you to sit at the table and read some extremist shit called “books” then open your notebook and do the form of torture called “exercises”. And that shit drags for about 6 hours. And then, then the moment of clarity, you run as fast as you can home so you can play some video games, particularly, GTA 2. Just a few hours out of that madness, just a brief moment from the pain. Just a few kills, a few fucks destroyed. Just a tiny revenge, you know, one day I will kill them, I will kill them all, I will fucking make them suffer for what they’ve done to me. All of them. But then, then the parents come, they say “home work”. “Home work” is a particular form of torture that is more insidious because you are being tortured at your home. It is used to show you that you are not safe in your home, that no matter how hard you try to escape, you will always suffer. Of course, since the objective of the world is to drive you into suicide, home work is very effective at that. So yes, then go a few hours of home work. Fuck, it’s hard to think about it, it’s devastating, it’s pure… I don’t know, pure madness. And once that is done, you drag your half-dead body back to PC, a tiny bit of more GTA 2, a few minutes of survival, of existence, of pain, of trying to get your mind together. Only then to be forced into your bed where you are forced to sleep. And you cry, you always cry, how can the world be so cruel? Why? Why am I being tortured every day? Why every fucking human exists only to make my life unsufferable? Is this some sort of conspiracy? But then you gotta prepare for the next day, the next torture and the next few hours of GTA 2. And you only think of GTA 2. Nothing exists, only GTA 2. It’s just GTA 2. It’s just killing, it’s just revenge, it’s just the joy of violence, of seeing other human beings get the taste of their own medicine. As long as people die, as long as they cry, they suffer, the life continues.

But still, I got at least few hours a day to play GTA 2 and I didn’t want to waste the opportunity. When you know that you don’t have to uninstall the game after play session is over, you can stop rushing and for a few moments just explore the city and see what the game has to offer. And the game, well, the game was insanely hard. You had no map of the city and there was no way to find the save point without manually memorizing the layout of the map - nigh impossible. And of course, saving the game cost 40,000$ - insane amount of money. I really remember saving the “legit” way only once in my life. I’ve just finished the mission that happened to be right near the save point. There are 3 districts in the game and you “complete” the district by simply earning money. 1 million to complete the 1st district, 3 million for the 2nd and 5 million for the 5th. Completing 1st district was not that hard. You just get into the tank and kill everything for a few hours. 2nd district is much more tougher.

So, in the end, I just gave up playing the game normally and turned all kinds of cheats on. This turned in just a massacre sandbox with me running around with all guns blazing. Well, after a few weeks even that became repetitive. So I decided to finish the missions. These were completely optional, there were 3 gangs in each district and maybe 6 or 7 missions per gang. The missions themselves were… well, yeah, they were insanely hard. Everything in GTA 2 was insanely hard. Completing all the missions in each district gave enough money to complete it. I managed to complete all missions in the first district without invincibility cheat, but other 2 districts? No way, all cheats enabled. I guess after finishing all missions GTA 2 had to offer, it was natural to put it away. It was time to focus on GTA 3.

Grand Theft Auto III

I was very skeptical of this game. When I heard that it is no longer top down, I immediately remembered Doom II running at 2 fps showing dull corridors. But, it’s GTA, so I had to play it. And that was a pleasant surprise. It was so different. The safehouse was shown on the radar and saving cost nothing! That’s total 180 on Rockstar’s part. Also, missions now had cutscenes and you could actually understand a bit what was going on. So, basically, it was possible to finish the storyline for the average gamer. But that, in turn, meant a different kind of investment. Now you actually cared about your progress. It was important to get to the safehouse and save your game. And the fact that you lose your weapons when you get killed or arrested by police meant that you had to load a save at that point. Weapons were basically the most important part of the progress. And all of this combined meant that the game was now very punishing. Lost a mission? Well, load a save and then manually drive through the city to restart it. Completed a mission but got accidentally killed while driving to the safehouse? Too bad. It was common for me to burst into tears while failing a mission for the 3rd or 4th time. The only game that made my life sufferable was also harshly punishing me at the same time. But I had nothing else to choose. Playing GTA 3 was the path of least suffering.

Anyway, it didn’t take me long to go through all missions on the 1st island and I’ve unlocked 2nd one. But then I stuck on a bug that made this game so memorable. I had an unofficial localization and one of the strings that are displayed during the 1st mission on the 2nd island was corrupted. So during that mission the game froze so I couldn’t progress. But I already had 2nd island unlocked so I had a lot of city to explore. And boy, I did. I remember spending countless hours with GUNSGUNSGUNS cheat that gave me all weapons. My favorite spot to camp against the police was stadium entrance on Staunton Island. It was a perfect place. GTA 3 era games had terrible pathfinding, NPCs could generally drive on the roads and that’s all. If you wanted cover, just hide behind corner of the building, pillar, anything, NPCs will not be able to shoot you. The stadium had a huge stairs leading to an entrance and their length was perfect because if you stay on top of them, you will make police cars appear but they won’t be able to get to you. So, as long as you are on top, your only enemy is helicopters. You can just shoot M16 at FBI cars and they will not be able to reach you. If you want challenge, just go down a bit until FBI cars will detect you and start driving towards you, that way, you can lure one or two cars and destroy them.

Another great spot was TW@ Cafe near the center of Staunton Island. It was a 2 story indoor area and you could be pretty safe on the 2nd floor. I remember “farming” AK47 ammo by killing FBI there until I got 9999. Generally, you get ammo by finding hidden packages. Every 10 hidden packages found give you a weapon pickup in the safehouse. Weapon pickups like this respawn very fast so basically you get infinite ammo for that weapon. There are 100 hidden packages in total so 2 islands out of 3 would let me find about 66 packages. And you get AK47 by finding 70 packages. Yeah.

So I got stuck on the first 2 islands for several months and this was basically its own era. You know that there is stuff to explore in the future, you hope for the better, you create mysteries about what lies on the 3rd island. Life, man. And, eventually, I decided to try to complete that freezing mission with English text and, amazingly, it didn’t freeze. Holy fucking shit! As if there was now completely new world to explore, the places I lived in for the last few months now had story missions inside them.

And, well, it didn’t take long to go through a hurricane that is story missions and get to the credits. Man, that was satisfying. Few months of real life, countless hours of playtime. The longest video game journey in my life at that time. And I continued playing side activities, continued closer to the 100% completion. But, the mystery, it was gone. Sure, the tunnels into the mainland were intriguing, but it was not the same. Still, overall experience was great and I kept playing until the release of Vice City…

I was in the middle school back at that time. And that’s when it became obvious that this nightmare is not gonna end. I remember I was camping at the stadium as usual and I lured the cop car up the stairs. I had Uzi in my hand and I backed away in the corner. This made the camera enter almost first person mode and I had a cop in front of me trying to shoot me. It was a rare moment where I was able to actually look closely at him. I remember his face, extremely ugly by the current standards, but extremely pretty back then. I looked at his eyes and I saw his family, his wife, his children. I could smell his fear. He shouted “don’t move a muscle!” “Comply!” But I could feel that he feared for his life. He was just doing his job. It only took a fraction of second as my finger clicked the mouse button which made my character shoot a couple of bullets at that cop and he fell to the ground and died. I was just doing my job. I knew what was needed to be done. I knew that all those people I killed were my parents, my classmates, my teachers. All the time. I knew that only I could put an end to this nightmare. I knew that I had to kill them. And myself. It was that rare moment of clarity, of truth. Little did I know how hard would that be and that I was just at the start of the long journey into the abyss.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Hype! Oh man, if they did miracle with GTA 3, surely Vice City would be the best game ever made. Amazing photorealistic graphics, insanely big city… I was expecting the same leap as was between GTA 2 and 3. I was expecting something like GTA 4. But what I got was like an expansion. Same graphics, same cars. Yes, different city, but… But of course, the biggest offender is the setting of the 80s. Man, fuck 80s! Especially, fuck pink! I mean sure, pink is fine sometimes, hell, my site is in pink. But pink in GTA? Fuck that. And fuck radiostations there.

Anyway, it took me a month to finish the story and I remember I got to the end credits right after the school year ended. Then, of course, side missions. I don’t really remember what I did but I think I got most things down. And then was probably the thing I regretted the most - using Internet to find hidden packages. See, hidden packages are usually the only thing that is worth exploring the city for. Sure, there are other things like rampages and unique stunts but there are much fewer of them so they are easy to find. Anyway, by 2003 I had dialup Internet connection with a whooping 30 kbit/s and I decided to use it to find hidden packages. Vice City introduced helicopters and some of the packages were on roofs of the buildings so I decided to cut down the time. And of course, by the time I got the the “package #100” I had found only like 98 of them. Argh! Now there was no point to explore the city manually because there would like 2 packages hidden and I couldn’t handle going for weeks without finding anything. That’s when I realized that I pretty much couldn’t get 100% completion and gradually stopped playing.

I definitely never had as much fun with Vice City as I did with GTA 3. Vice City quickly became the worst game in the series for me and I moved to other games.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

After astounding success of GTA 3 and astounding failure of Vice City I was cautious. But at that time I was reading a gaming magazine so I even got to watch some gameplay videos. Hell, PS2 version was already out so I didn’t have unrealistic expectations. And so, it was autumn of 2005 and I got it. Well, it’s better than Vice City, but never close to the masterpiece. 80s bullshit was changed to gangsta bullshit. And honestly, gangsta bullshit is better. The story? Oh, fuck the story. Who cares about the story in GTA? It’s just a convoluted tutorial for cop killing. So yeah, to me it’s all about cop killing. And the key component of cop killing is infinite weapons you get by finding hidden packages. Both GTA 3 and Vice City had a simple rule that you get a weapon in your safehouse for each 10 hidden packages you find. Well, what did San Andreas have? Oh, it had tons of pickups. Los Santos had 100 tags you could spray paint, San Fierro had 50 photos you needed to take, Las Venturas had 50 horseshoes you need to collect and there were even 50 sea shells scattered throughout the state under water. And yes, collecting them gave you weapons. But here’s the catch, you needed to collect all of each type to get weapons. What the fuck, Rockstar? Really? Fuck that.

Yeah, another problem is that San Andreas added a mechanic where you could shoot into cars’ filling inlets and they would immediately explode. This means it only required you to have pistol to become pretty much unstoppable killing machine. As a result, I had very mixed feelings while playing this game. Sure, the state is huge but there is almost no reason to explore it. So in the end after finishing the story I decided to 100% driving schools and after that quit the game. And man, those driving schools are insanely hard. Good thing you can easily restart the challenges. So, San Andreas is an okayish game. If I had to rate it, I would probably give it something like 5 out of 10. Finish the story, mess around the world a bit and move on.

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories

Oh yeah, this is the big one. 2005 was a difficult year. I was transitioning into a “high school” phase. In a way, it was not that different from previous grades but still harder. But it was mostly fatigue. You know how there is one form of torture when you simply drip drops of water on the head of your victim and that eventually drives them insane? Yes, that’s what was happening to me. Getting the firearm proved to be extremely hard and I was getting desperate. Killing was imperative and I was willing to go dirty - with a kitchen knife. Yeah, I just take the kitchen knife to school and go on a stabbing spree. You know, that put the suicide part in danger, I mean, how am I gonna reliably kill myself with a knife? Fuck it, I didn’t care.

Enter the deux ex machina that is PSP. A handheld console? With good graphics? And, fuck me, GTA on it?! Oh fuck, this is like dream come true. But it ws a long way there. I begged and begged and begged my parents to buy me the PSP. My survival was dependent on my greatest enemies. I was feeding from a hand that put me through the endless years of torture. But what choice did I have? By winter of 2005 I cracked them. I got the PSP. Little did my parents know, they were saving lives in the process. Fucking cunts.

But PSP cost a shitload of money - 300$. And games, man, games cost insane amount - 60$! Seriously, with my usual schedule of getting 30$ as a birthday present and that’s pretty much it, I couldn’t dream of assembling any kind of game collection for myself. Also, PSP had DRM and proprietary UMD disc format that made it impossible to buy pirated games and just play them. The only way was to flash a cracked firmware and play ISOs from memory stick but it’s a whole another can of worms that I didn’t want to invest into at that time. Anyway, I had a friend who had some games and, of course, I factored that when deciding to get the PSP. I mean, why buy PSP if I don’t have any means to play games? So, I borrowed them.

And, of course, I borrowed Liberty City Stories. Oh boy, going back to Liberty City, going back home. I was very scared, I didn’t want another San Andreas, I wanted something playable, something enjoyable. There’s been way too much time without a good GTA. And, to a point, Rockstar succeded. Liberty City stayed pretty much the same. Every 10 hidden packages gave you a weapon. Everything was so good. I played the shit out of that game, I played every time I could when there was no PC around. Parents forcing me to bed? Well fuck them! I secretly played LCS in bed. This was becoming my painkiller. I was completely dependent on that game. Then in 2006 I finally managed to save enough money to buy my own first PSP game. I finished the story using a borrowed copy, for a layman, there was no point to buy LCS again. But I knew that nothing came close to LCS on the PSP. It was THE game.

As time moved on, school year came closer to the end. But my involvement with LCS only grew. I finished pretty much any side mission, any tiny thing you can find in the game. And soon it became obvious that there was only one grand project left - going through all the city looking at every nook and cranny and finding all hidden packages. All 100 of them. Getting 100% completion. This was something I never tried to do but I knew that LCS was a perfect game for that. It had a minimap and allowed me to put a marker in it so I could mark the next building to search. And so, it began. The great hunt, the great exploration. Going through every square meter of the city, circling camera around searching for those sweet sweet white spots that indicate hidden packages. LCS didn’t have helicopters so basically you could get most packages on foot and a few harder ones required a vehicle jump. But it was still doable. So days have gone by, weeks… I think it took me about 2 months to explore first 2 islands.

But then there was a slight interruption. Summer vacation. You see, “vacation” means that you travel away from your home, your computer and are forced to spend several weeks suffering the company of your parents. You see, this is used to torture you outside of school. Back in the day, I usually survived vacation by entering catatonic state, just turning off my mind and pretending this is all is just a bad dream. But this time, this time I had PSP. It was payback, bitch. I was just glued to PSP. I didn’t see anything outside of it. Where I was, what other people were doing, I didn’t care at all. All I had was GTA. From dawn to dusk. I had 100 hidden packages to find and I’m sure as hell I won’t let anyone to interfere with the only thing that gives me the slight chance of hope.

But then, parents began to notice. During the previous vacations, I simulated some sort of, I dunno, involvement, going places, I dunno, for a walk. This created an illusion that I, sort of, “lived” a “life”. This time I openly didn’t give a fuck. I was done playing games. I just wanted to be left alone, I wanted my parents to fuck off. I always wanted them to fuck off, I was just too scared of openly opposing them. I mean, they turned my life into an endless torture, they were obviously extremely evil. Yet, I still was dependent of them, they gave me PC which I couldn’t live without. They could still increase the volume of torture.

So we started conflicting, we started yelling at each other. But ultimately, they fucked off. I won. I could finally be at peace for a few brief moments. This was the last time in my life I was on vacation with my parents. I had Shoreside Vale to explore and last 10 hidden packages to find. School year started, I have found 99 hidden packages after going through all of Liberty City. Fucking hell! Thankfully, finding the last package turned to be rather esy with the help of the Internet. I got it. I had 100% completion. Fuck yeah!

But did getting 100% stop me from continuing playing? Fuck no. I was still at school, I still had my daily murder quota to fill in order not to go on a real killing spree. So it just turned into the endless cop killing. Each day, every day. Extreme amount of violence inflicted upon me meant I needed to inflict extreme amount of violence towards other people. It just happened that they were virtual. Each action demands an equal reaction. It’s a delicate balance. But of course, killing virtual people is not as satisfying as killing real people. So I had to go orders of magnitude higher. Hendred after hundred, thousand after thousand, ten thousand after ten thousand. I have no idea how much hours I invested in total. But I think 9 months playing 6 hours a day, which gives 1620 hours of total playtime, is a fair estimate.

I think it was autumn 2006 and I was already hyped for Vice City Stories. But, for the reason I forgot I decided to fire up GTA 3 for the old time’s sake. So I start the game, enter my favorite dark blue Cheetah, switch to my favorite radio K-JAH and start driving around the city. And then… And then I feel uncontrollable tornado of emotions, I start crying like crazy. I remember 2003. Man, 2003 sure was hell but it was not as devastating as 2006. It was a different world, I still had hope. It was like going back home and talking to the old friend. “Remember when you had hope?” “Remember when you were so fucking naive?” “Remember you thought that the life couldn’t get any worse?” That friend sure had tough questions to ask. Now I was a mindless killing machine. I only understood violence - the only honest, truthful, universal language. I did violence. I thought violence. I lived violence. How did I become this? How did the world become this? I couldn’t handle it, I mustered whatever was left of my determination to survive, I had to kill to survive. I didn’t know why I wanted to survive. I was just a blind person that was being pocked with spears from every direction and was trying to find a position that hurt less. I forced myself in a neverending circle of violence just to keep whatever was left of me. And thankfully, a new toy has arrived soon.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice city Stories

Sure enough, Vice City Stories arrived at the end of 2006. I was already saving money for it so I bought it near its release date. Well, after Vice City and Liberty City Stories, VCS was pretty much what I expected. Another forgettable story, another batch of same old side missions, another collectibles. However, this time hidden packages were different. They were balloons that are usually stuck to the ceiling and you had to shoot them. And this design decision was a defining factor. Being stuck on the ceiling meant that they could be way up, some of them accessible only by helicopter. This means finding them is a bitch, a real bitch. And remember, it’s GTA, if your helicopter’s blades touch the wall, it’s pretty much over. So, countless trips to the airport because my helicopter crashed. After a few months of playing I got only maybe a third of the first island covered. It was obvious that finding all 99 (yes, 99) balloons would take thousands of hours. But then, suddenly, the school ended. Permanently. This brought an abrupt end to the game and, in fact, to me playing PSP in general.

SA-MP

SA-MP - San Andreas Multiplayer - was an unofficial modification to GTA: San Andreas which added multiplayer to the game. It uses client-server model and the server runs Pawn scripts that define the logic of the game. So, basically, you can write your own crazy gamemodes and do whatever. That was great. After playing on a few servers I decided to run my own server and create my own gamemode in an MMORPG fashion. I decided to use the most uncreative name for it - San Andreas Stories - and started developing. I was familiar with Basic, VBA and Pascal, so Pawn was rather easy to learn. But its greatest strength at that time was the usage of C-like syntax which would then allow me to migrate to C++ in the future, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Anyway, it was summer of 2007, no more school, I could concrentrate on development. But the biggest present my parents could give me was them leaving to vacation without me. About fucking time! Oh man, no school, no home work and, above all, no fucking parents! These were one of the best days in my life. I could code for 20 hours straight, San Andreas Stories quickly surpassed 3000 lines of code. I was very proud of myself. I was finally doing serious game programming. But Team Fortress 2 Beta was launched in September and I quickly migrated my efforts there and this is a story for another day.

Grand Theft Auto IV

This game proved that GTA as a series have no future. But it was a long way there. It’s been more than 3 years since the release of San Andreas on PC. The gaming industry has evolved. Back in 2005 San Andreas wasn’t even available officially in my country. Everyone was buying pirated disks. Now, fast forward to 2008, GTA IV had official distributor, even had official localization. It came in a glorious DVD box that contained the map of Liberty City. And it also cost insane amount of 24$. And I even fucking paid it. It was sorta gamble, I wanted to see what’s inside the official release. I already had broadband connection and could just download the game from The Pirate Bay. But I was loyal. I remember seeing the 1st trailer for the first time. I was blown away by graphics, I could already imagine how much realistic violence I could inflict. Also, this trailer made me discover Philip Glass and defined my tastes for orchestral music.

But well, my life has changed. After I finished school my parents forced me to go to college. Well, fuck. I didn’t know what to expect but I was preparing for worst. But, as I was preparing for school 2.0, I found it wasn’t quite like school. For some reason, I was not tortured by everybody. Sure, lectures were painful, but, ultimately, lecturer didn’t give a fuck. In fact, nobody was giving a fuck. Everybody was minding their own business. So, yeah, I didn’t give a fuck either, I had video games to play. By this time my parents could no longer physically drag my body from my bed every morning so they could force me to go to college. In fact, my dad has seriously hurt his eyesight as a result of all those physical exercises throughout the years and now is almost blind. Well, who’s laughing now, bitch? It became obvious to them that they will not get the perfect child they were dreaming of - a slave to the government. What they had was a terrorist whose only meaning of life was murder, violence and torture. But of course, it was not in my interests to tell them anything. They should have been clueless up to the moment when I kill them.

So my parents backed off and I happily dropped out. It was a strange feeling. Wait, am I free now? Nobody’s gonna torture me every day? I didn’t know why my parents did it. I needed time to think. And soon I realized that my classmates are now physically in the distant locations and my killing spree plan was failing. Back in the day I could just go to school and shoot or stab everybody. Now I couldn’t. In a sense, I didn’t want to kill random people, I wanted to kill people who personally hurt me. I could still kill my parents but there were only 2 of them - way too little. I wanted to go out with a bang. And you know, now that they do not force you to go to school pretty much every day, it’s not that satisfying to kill them. And, ultimately, I felt that my meaning of life was fading. I was a soldier without a war. The clarity, the suffering, all was blurring into a meaningless existence and I was mindlessly drifting away in unknown direction.

So naturally, GTA 4 was a throwback.

TODO: Actual gameplay

I remember it very well. It was February 2009. I just went to sleep like usual. And then I had a dream. I was just talking to a person I knew before but it was different. I actually trusted them this time, I could talk to them and not be afraid of being ridiculed or offended. Just for those brief moments in the dream they were close to me and I was happy. I was so happy like I never was in my life. I had a friend, maybe more than a friend. And as a woke up physically and metaphorically, I could feel the insane strike through my mind, as if I got heavily electrocuted. It was like I was a rape victim and just have woken up from shock and realized that I was raped. I realized the cold hard truth that I lived two decades in hell, was being tortured by everyone, was stuck with parents who are the reason of all this torture and I was completely alone. I couldn’t talk to anybody. I had no friends. Those people I called friends were simply inmates in this prison we call life and we just used each other to survive. All of them were completely alien to me.

I quickly got up and ran to my PC, my hands were shaking, “just a few hundreds of people to kill and this will end”, I thought to myself. “I’ve been through this, right? Violence should fix everything, right?”. And I started killing people but it didn’t work, I stared blankly at the sceen in shock. I could no longer ignore the truth. It was screaming through my ears. “HELLO. WELL, WELL, WELL. YOU REALLY THOUGHT YOU COULD HIDE FROM ME FOREVER? DON’T YOU REMEMBER? DON’T YOU REMEMBER ALL THOSE PEOPLE? YOUR PARENTS, YOUR CLASSMATES, YOUR TEACHERS. YOU HAD 10 YEARS TO KILL THEM, WHY DIDN’T YOU DO THAT? WHY?! BECAUSE YOU ARE FAILURE! YOU FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT! FINE, IF YOU CAN’T KILL THEM, YOU SHOULD HAVE KILLED YOURSELF. WHY ARE YOU STILL ALIVE?! YOU COWARD!!! YOU DESERVE NOTHING! YOU WILL NOT HIDE BEHIND YOUR FUCKING VIDEO GAMES. NO AMOUNT OF VIRTUAL DEAD PEOPLE WILL FIX ANYTHING. THEY ARE STILL HERE. THEY ARE STILL IN YOUR HEAD. THEY ARE STILL LAUGHING AT YOU. THEY WILL FOLLOW YOU FOREVER. THEY WILL MAKE EVERY BIT OF YOUR EXISTENCE UNSUFFERABLE.”

“Please! I beg you! Let me live!” I was desperate, I pleaded for forgiveness. I was using the language of kindness trying to talk to something that only understood the language of violence. I was a soldier without a war. So I had to make my own war, I had to obey the martial law and I had to pay for my crimes. I had to kill myself. I had to take responsibility because the opposite meant completely losing my mind. And so, I had the clarity back. Or, at least, it was less blurry.

And so, I started a long path to suicide. I knew I had to get rid of any traces of human nature. I needed to become a perfect killing machine. So I started heavily researching philosophy. I wanted to unify all my experiences, I wanted reason. I was thinking about it day and night, week after week, month after month. It was all so conflicting, I could find a counter argument for every argument I could imagine, it didn’t make any sense. And in one moment it snapped. Exactly! There is no truth. Everything is relative. I started searching through Wikipedia and found that this philosophy is called relativism. Everything else came naturally. Religion is bullshit, there is no meaning of life. Now everything made sense. I had as much reasoning as I could to kill myself.

Once I got the basics done, it was time for more practical aspects. Like, how am I exactly gonna kill myself? So I started researching suicide methods. And damn! Those are all risky and/or expensive. I couldn’t pinpoint the best candidate so instead I focused on freeing my mind. I knew that my suicide should be an act of reason and not of emotion. I knew that if I kill myself in an impulsive outburst of rage, of hatred, that would mean that my human nature would win. I should be a perfect killing machine, not a slave of emotions. And so, I started sort of meditating. Sitting in my bed for hours at a time, trying to let go of the thoughts, let go of hopes, let go of emotions. It was a huge amount of work. I learned that I hid a lot from myself deep inside my subconsciousness and tearing it apart was not an easy task.

But after several months of such meditations for about 2 seconds I entered the state of mind I was trying to achieve. It is difficult to describe. It’s a feeling where you leave your body, you break your shakles and you fly away. You have total freedom, you left the world of living beings and you are now pure consciousness. This is the ultimate happiness, the ultimate peace. In the next fraction of second I realized how stupid I was having the body and was already giving it orders to run as fast as it can into the kitchen, grab a knife and stab itself as hard as it could. I knew it was just a minor annoyance and I will leave this useless junk of meat in the past. As my body was trying to process the definitive order to kill itself, I was completely calm. I was even a bit surprised how calm I was and that probably triggered something very new to me. As another fraction of second passed, I felt something very strange. Something was dragging my mind back in the body, I tried to resist it but it was extremely powerful, it paralyzed my wings and I was not sure what was going on. I slowly realized that I was starting to feel my own head again but it was filling with something very cold and chilling. As the coldness got deeper into my consciousness, I started to realize what it was. It was fear. But it was nothing I ever felt before. It was something primal, very deep and very powerful. It was not reasonable. It was an animal fear. It was a self-preservation instinct. And in the next fraction of second it just crushed my consciousness, it turned off my brain. It felt like I passed out.

In the next few seconds I slowly started to regain my consciousness and trying to understand what was going on. It was clear that I’ve stumbled on something much more powerful that I’ve ever dealt before. I worked hard for months to get rid of human nature, I didn’t expect to see the animal nature under it. It didn’t understand the language of reason, I had to learn completely new language - the language of emotions and the language of instincts. And so, I knew I had much longer path to suicide in front of me. I didn’t understand how to approach it. So I admitted defeat and started to prepare for another attempt. That time I should be much more prepared.

TODO: FOUR-MP, Trainer

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Spring 2010

Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City

2010

Grand Theft Auto V

LP: March 2016

Saints Row

June 2016

Saints Row 2

August 2017

Saints Row: The Third

LP: September 2017. Play: Dec 2017

Saints Row IV

Dec 2017

Saints Row: Gat out of Hell

Jan 2018