Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Break Yo'self!

Originally posted at WayIPlay.com

Although I already own it for PS2, I do believe I’ll be getting Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for PC. In the first place, it stands to be prettier and to avoid the drawing glitches of the original. In the second place, I am useless at aiming with an analog stick. These are my PC shooter roots showing, folks: I still naturally reach for the mouse and WASD when I sit down at a computer.

When I played GTA:SA last fall, I got hopelessly stuck on the “Just Business” mission (pictured), in which a bunch of Russians on bikes pursue you through the LA River, just like in 30% of all action movies ever. Then a car carrier careens off an overpass, suggesting T2 in particular. Anyway, I played this mission about ten times, never successfully completing it. I got a little better, and then progressively worse, all because I couldn’t aim for crap. So now I can correct one of my major gaming failures of last fall. Now if only there was a “make headcrabs less like spiders” patch for Half-Life 2.

In related news, word came round last week that one particular prefecture in Japan had banned the sale of GTA:SA to minors. Stateside, a similar law is pending in Illinois. Rockstar of course isn’t happy about this, since it represents the possibility of losing some sales. But only maybe. In the US, most of the major retailers already will not sell M-rated games to kids under 17, so from a business standpoint, the law is moot.

In general, I don’t really get why regulating M-rated sales to minors is a big deal. To me, the situation is exactly analagous to R-rated films. If a 16-year-old can’t go see Menace II Society without a parent, he shouldn’t be able to buy GTA. Now, the one difference here is that while the ESRB, like the MPAA, enacted a ratings system, the stores were a little slower to decide that M-rated games shouldn’t be sold to minors, whereas the movie theaters enforced R ratings immediately. So now the politcal pressure is on.

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