My latest GTA kick is "Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City." In the game, my character is a guy named Luis, an ex-soldier, a bad-ass, a straight bodyguard for one of the biggest (gay) nightclub owners in Liberty City.
Drugs, violence, sex.
[By the way: Liberty City is a video twin of New York City.]
Luis may not like it, but I absolutely love Carnage. Mayhem. Luis is under my control...or am I under his? That's a transcendental question, I reckon. Be it as it may be, I am the Puppeteer. And when I say "jump" Lou jumps. And when I say "Throw your grenade at the cop car and see what happens" Luis does just that. And when I say "Climb to the top of the highest building and drop a grenade at your feet and wait for the blim-blam" Luis does just that.
I think "transcendental" is too big a word for this. I think "vicariously" would work better.
See? I am college-educated, I have a somewhat golden finger for writing, but I am not immune to the slowly-seductive forces of--gasp!--video games.
They are so fucking realistic. Every time I play, I am immersed in Liberty City. If I start, I play for, at least, three hours. Good. God. Yeah. Three hours.
I enjoy killing. Vicariously. I enjoy throwing a live grenade, vicariously, into a crowded, traffic-jammed intersection. I enjoy watching the cars blow up and I, also, enjoy watching the fire-bound wounded straggle from their vehicle, and deposit Life on my doorstep. Upon which, I shoot them either in the head or the genital area.
In this game, I am a malevolent God.
But. Back to the title. What can a video game teach a person?
Well. For one thing, this: I was in Chinatown; I had just bought another grenade and also a bullet-proof vest. (Kevlar?) Anyway, I walked out of the shop and intentionally bumped a dude twice. Once was enough, for him. He said something like, "Why you here-ah?" in an Asian accent and so I bumped him again. In my side-vision I saw the red-and-blew of Trouble. The coppers were on the scene. My fingers itched to hold my M-16. I, instead, backed away from the Asian malcontent, and I squeezed my hands into fists so tight that the next day I had semi-circles on my palms. During the interaction, the game-cops took the Chinese guy away. (I guess he'd been inflammatory.)
See? Don't tell me that (even violent) video games can not be informative. That one interaction taught me something: Listen not to your gut which tells you that you are the chosen one, that you can do no wrong. Instead listen to Logic.
Words to live by. In this case, Logic dictated that: One, there were cops with guns and batons and training and shields (so.what.) and Tazers. Two, the Asian with whom Luis had tangled was bearing the brunt of the policia pressure. All grenade- and M-16- and rocket launcher- and baseball bat- and handgun-laden, Lou knew where to turn: the alleyway. Let the bellicose Asian fend for himself. Live to die another day.
This is not all I do. I do not play GTA 24/7. Hell, I only play it, like, twice a week, man. But when I do?! Oh, shit. I get into it. I am Luis. Actually it's more like, I am Luidam.
I am Luidam. Hear m-m-m-me r-r-r-r-roar!
(Note To Self: Work on your mofo-ing Confidence.)
And that is all I have to say for today. Peace and Love, kiddos. (All two of you.)