Grand Theft Auto 'first-person' feature takes video game to new level of mayhem and lewdness

by Dwayne Hastings |

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Christian Examiner) -- Grand Theft Auto V, a popular video game, has broken through a ceiling that even concerns a well known gamer.

In the re-mastered version of Grand Theft Auto 5, originally released in 2013, players no longer have to imagine wreaking havoc by watching a character on the screen, but now can "participate" in the mayhem and lewdness from their own eye-view.

Instead of the camera being situated behind a game character, users have the option to play the game from their perspective, which provides a "profound effect," according to Danny O' Dwyer, a host/producer at GameSpot.com, a site focused on video game news, reviews and previews.

The first-person position is not unique to Grand Theft Auto; a host of other well-loved video games, such as Call of Duty, offer the option. The difference between those games and Grand Theft Auto V is that the other games' are not typically taking place in "neighborhood" kind of real world settings and you are the good guy fighting "bad" guys shooting at you, O' Dwyer stressed.

"While playing GTA in first person mode I felt something I rarely felt in thousands of hours of shooting and looting through Grand Theft Auto's many virtual worlds," O' Dwyer said. "I felt guilt."

The role of the player is markedly different between first and third person games, he explained.

"When you are playing a game in third person, you are very clear who is within this world: it's the character you're controlling. You tell them what to do and they do it," O' Dwyer said, noting this places a "very real barrier" between the gamer and the on-screen character.

"Yet when you are controlling their hands, the steering wheel, their trigger finger, the actions you perform seem a lot more deliberate," he continued.

Grand Theft Auto is known for its high-end graphics that portray real life vistas and street scenes that resemble a world very much like what most people live in.

"When you play this game in first person it completely changes your relationship to this world," O' Dwyer said.

He continued, "When it's in your eye line, there is no barrier between you and the wheel or the trigger or the hammer or the knife."

O' Dwyer said in playing video games he's willing to behave like a psychopath in third person. Playing Grand Theft Auto V in first person though is "incredibly uncomfortable."

He said playing the game in first person actually makes him feel like he's "walking around a real place."

"When a game world starts to feel like a real place," he said, "we start to feel remorse."

The Grand Theft Auto line of games has been known for its extreme coarseness and brutality, but now it is played out within a hyper-realistic environment in this new version.

The game also now allows players to engage in what best may be termed virtual sex acts with other characters, reports the Huffington Post.

K-Mart and Target stores in Australia pulled the video game from their shelves after complaints Grand Theft Auto 5 promotes violence against women. The stores are not directly related to stores in the U.S. with the same name.

News reports said the petition that prompted the stores' actions insisted sales of the game risked "grooming yet another generation of boys to tolerate violence against women." Reportedly players in the game can restore their character's "health" by engaging the services of a prostitute.

Despite his concerns about the game, GameSpot's O' Dwyer said he opposed attempts by some to pull the game off the market, saying such moves were a "painfully simplistic approach" to the issue. He argued the game gives users the choice to make their own decisions in the virtual world, suggesting the game "explores the true nature of personal responsibility."

A spokesman for Take Two Interactive, the game's developer, said Dec. 9 the banning of the game by retailers "flies in the face of everything that free society's based on."

As in recent years, Google search rankings suggest the game will be a hot gift item in 2014. As of May, it was reported the game had sold over 33 million copies since its release.

The Entertainment Software Rating Board has rated the game "M for Mature," so hopefully your under-17 child won't be able to pick up a copy for himself.