Weird Video Wednesday: TV and cinema in Grand Theft Auto V

GTA V is an ambitious game, to say the least. It seems like every mission you complete in the main story, you unlock a new activity to do; skydiving, off-road racing, darts and tennis are all present and accounted for. But none of these activities surprised me as much as the ability to turn on the TV and go to the cinema, and actually watch things. And it’s all completely optional – I didn’t even realise you could visit a cinema until I was tens of hours deep into the game.

When I finally did get round to checking out the local cinema, and the film started, after only a minute or so I was expecting it to end. (As it happened this particular film wasn’t The Loneliest Robot in Great Britain, but a parody of an Italian arthouse flick… I don’t know the name and can’t find it on YouTube sadly.)  Surely, I thought, this “film” will only last for a few minutes, kind of like a trailer. But no, it kept going, and going, and going.

OK, so the “movies” in GTA V aren’t 90 minutes long, they’re more like 10 minutes, but still! Of course being a Rockstar game, you’re in for a subversive, lewd parody of one thing or another, The Loneliest Robot in Great Britain being a case in point. In this case, I don’t actually know what the film is based on (British animated films like Wallace and Gromit maybe?), but regardless, I think it’s a cool, well-written, wonderfully animated short film, and compelling viewing in its own right. And just the fact that this short film – along with several others, most of which I haven’t seen – was made specifically as part of a videogame, was made in fact to be a diversion from the main game, something just to kill yours and your avatar’s time? Wow. Congratulations Grand Theft Auto V, you qualify for Weird Video Wednesday.

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2 comments

  1. moresleepneeded

    This film seems very strange. The style of the film seems to be a mixture of futuristic technology and fifties fashion. The artwork seems to be very modern with twenties film cards. The humour of Grand Theft Auto games seems to be very overlooked, with players focussing on the violence and the story about gangsters, rather than the satire of the adverts and use of innuendos in the landscape. I have always wondered about the Grand Theft Auto games set in San Andreas, as they seemed more dedicated to creating an alternative life than the other games. Most of the Grand Theft Auto games released on the Playstation 2 focussed on the player controlling a character through a story, while allowing them to commit whatever acts of violence they wanted between missions. In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, however, the game allowed the player to customise the main character and spend more time completing actions unrelated to the story (such as playing a small collection of arcades or dating other characters). I am not sure if these two differences are maintained in Grand Theft Auto IV and Grand Theft Auto V.

    • veryverygaming

      It’s true, the satire in this game runs extremely deep, but it’s often overlooked in favour of talking about the violence. You’re right about San Andreas too – GTA IV and V have continued expanding a lot of that “lifestyle” stuff. TV and cinema are one way they do that, but there’s lots of other stuff too. There are lots of minor things you can do in your character’s home for instance, like drink alcohol or smoke weed, and they will affect the camera, how the character walks and drives, that sort of thing. You can do yoga with one character in GTA V too to increase their fitness. The only thing we haven’t been able to do with a GTA protagonist yet is use the toilet!

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