It was a simple assignment. One could argue that it was one of many repetitive tasks in this highly acclaimed, best-selling monstrosity of a game. I had to go someplace in this enormous city to do… something? Was it to pick something up? Remind someone of their debt? Get rid of him? I don’t remember, but it didn’t make any difference to the first part of the job: get there. As always, I didn’t have to memorize directions, because in times of constant access to route planners, waypoints in video games are actually realistic. Why should I get less bored in games than in real life whenever I need to get to any given location.
I parked my car and walked the short bit up to the house. As soon as I would arrive there – that’s how the game had conditioned me – I would get a more accurate waypoint and be told what to do. Except this wasn’t what happend at all. I stared at my mini map at the bottom of the screen and didn’t even notice that I was approached by a man who then kindly but surely asked me to leave his property. Since I could not interact with him any further, I did as I was told, but still had a waypoint to reach. So I crept up to the house from behind to get to the correct point that would finally allow me to carry on.
Once again I was noticed and now the man got rude. I understood – this was part of the task. I had to get past the guy to get to the house. I needed a plan, but my options were quite limited and so I did the obvious thing, pulled out my gun, aimed at him and waited to see what happened. What happened was that he was terrified and implored me to stop, aking me what the hell I was doing before making a run, never looking back. I watched him for a long time, running up the entire road, until he disappeared behind a hill. The man was obviously desperate and did not know what was happening to him. But at least I finally understood: I was at the wrong house. I was supposed to reach the neighboring property. Despite my high-end GPS. In retrospect, I thought that the man had behaved pretty understandably while I must have seemed like an all-out psychopath. I felt sincerely sorry for him, but I also had to chuckle into my empty living room.
Grand Theft Auto V was first released in 2013 and has sold more than 130 million copies on various platforms worldwide to date. It is one of the most profitable media products of all time and has persuaded the author to buy a Playstation for the first time after years of loyalty to Nintendo, because it finally fulfilled the long-standing promise of a real sandbox with bizarre moments like this one and many, many others.
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