In defense of GTA, part 1: A short history of video games

You’ve probably noticed that a new Grand Theft Auto game is out, GTA IV. As usual, the release of a new GTA has resulted in a new round of articles criticizing (or outright excoriating) the game. I’m a big fan of GTA. I’ve played every 3D GTA game from start to finish. As such, I feel I can provide an informed perspective on the game series. I see a number of annoying misconceptions and deceptions repeated time and time again, the most infamous of which is the claim that the game rewards you for killing prostitutes.


Since the age of about 11, I’ve been a fan of Interactive Fiction—also known as “Adventure Games”. If you were using computers in the 80s, you’ll probably remember them: text on a screen, words describing where you were and what you could see. You typed commands, and if you were lucky the computer understood you and said something appropriate. Then graphics came along, and the text adventure disappeared from the computer games market.