This is a first person account as told to me by a friend. I am writing it from a first person point of view. I too have played Grand theft auto 4 and can vouch that yes to a very small extent it does change your perspective. How much differs from person to person. This is not an attempt to malign the game but rather to give an honest insight of a personal experience.
It’s been a while but I clearly remember how excited I was to get my hands on the latest offering of Rockstar: Grand Theft Auto 4 (popularly known as GTA4). It is an amazing game no doubt and I thoroughly enjoyed playing it. The story was as good as a game story can get.’ Niko Bellic’, an immigrant arrives in the city to start a new life and also looking for revenge. This article is not a walkthrough but rather an overlook at how I was psychologically affected by it.
A typical grand theft auto game has a central character that has to rise steadily in the world of gangsters and criminals by doing all things illegal. While starting out, money has to be earned by robbing, mugging etc. the average lowlife routine. I used to spend almost an hour to two hours playing every day whenever I could. It had been about a week and I was making steady progress in the game when it first hit me. I was playing when a friend called and I had to leave right away. I got up got ready and started to drive towards my friends place. It was medium traffic and I was overtaking others thinking everyone was going oddly slow today. I looked at the speedometer and it was showing 90.
What happened? How could I not know I was going so fast? Was my speed perception blurred? I immediately parked and just sat there thinking maybe it was a headache or something and never thought of it much afterwards. In gta, players can drive around the entire city at high speeds performing stunt jumps etc. smashing into people and objects etc. A big demolition derby if you will.
Few days passed and I moved forward in the game, same old shooting, killing, robbing a bank, things a respectable gangster would be proud of. I could see myself changing. Every time I would drive, rashness would somehow creep in. I would always look at anyone in uniform, be it a cop or security guard like I did those in the game. I got tired of doing the same thing over and over again. So what I did was I tried gta 5 mod menu ps4. This helps me to easily modify some aspects or features of the gameplay. This was a new exciting experience for me. Whenever in a bank, I would think of various angles to pull off a heist just for fun. It was just fun and games in the beginning but I took it seriously after an incident happened.
I got into a fight with someone. The fight was over a trivial thing and now when I think of it, completely idiotic on my part. It ended when my friends intervened but it could have been much worse. That’s when I came to realize that aggression had never been my feature but off late any small provocation was enough to rile me up. As my friend rightly pointed out I would actually look for reasons to get into a fight.
I was near the end of the game and it was the last mission. The love interest of ‘Niko’ the main character named ‘Kate’ dies and he takes revenge. End of story. Checked the stats and it showed that I had killed nearly 1000 people in a span of nearly 35 playing hours. I got back to completing other side missions and tasks.
One day I was watching a news clip on soldiers who had returned from war and how they were finding it difficult to adjust to their previous life once again. They showed how repeated killings and other horrors they had to witness changed their outlook towards everyone. One of the soldiers said that they had seen their colleagues kill someone for no apparent reason. The value of a person’s life meant nothing to those few. Behavioral problems have often been associated for people who have suffered or witnessed trauma of any sort. It was sad and horrific what some had to go through on the front lines and at that age where one’s personality is still been formed.
Although a computer game, in this case Grand theft auto does not even come close to what the soldiers have to go through, I could somehow understand what they were trying to say. Seeing or doing something again and again kills the emotions that a person doing it for the first time would have. I researched the net on how video games affects people and found many studies had been made and experiments performed. This study by Craig A. Anderson and Karen E. Dill on http://www.apa.org/releases/videogames.html shows very clearly that video games do have an effect on the behavioral aspect and in turn on the life of that person. [Study article link- http://www.apa.org/journals/features/psp784772.pdf ].
To blame my aggression on GTA4 would not be fair since I was having some personal problems at that time which is why I turned to the game for an escape of sorts. One undeniable fact however is that the game added fuel to the fire. It affects some more than others and some, not at all. The realistic graphics and story push a player into a virtual second life. The character’s emotions become their emotions, like when watching a movie we can feel what a character feels. Unlike a movie however we can choose the action a character takes. This strengthens the bond we have with a virtual character even more.
Is gta bad for you? Should one stop playing these types of games? Will I stop playing now that I know how it affects me? The answer is – no.
The game is an entertainment and it should be viewed just as that. One should not lose sight of what is real and what is not. Reality check is what is needed and I mean in the literal sense. A virtual life is exactly that – virtual and it should not be perceived as anything else. One should not let this or for that matter anything get to you as it got to me. Just because so many rules can be broken in a virtual environment, we cannot forget that we live in a society and we are humans. There are rules and they are there not to control us but rather to let us be free and pursue our happiness. That said I can’t wait for GTA5.