Photo by: Gadgmatic

Being a student at university can be grueling especially when you have so many tests to revise for, presentations to practice and reports to write. You no longer have any free time to do the things you enjoy such as running over pedestrians in a car that you just stole from a couple at gunpoint. What?! Quit your judging. I’m talking about playing Grand Theft Auto (GTA)!

Recently, a friend and I replayed GTA: Vice City and relived our childhood memories. We spent our time attempting stunt jumps and failing as our vehicle didn’t quite make it over the ramp and ended in water. At that point, the precious numbers representing the player’s health would drop to zero and the word ‘WASTED’ would appear. Everytime this word popped up, whether it was from a fatal shootout with the police or being hit by a passing car, we would throw our heads back and laugh manically. And on top of all this, we got to listen to great music from the 80’s. What’s not to love?

Games like GTA that allow the player to roam freely in a fictional city doing what they want, including indulging in criminal activity, has historically been a subject of controversy. Recently, 16 schools in Cheshire sent out a letter to all parents warning that “if your child is allowed to have inappropriate access to any game or associated product that is designated 18-plus we are advised to contact the police and children’s social care as it is neglectful.” Thankfully, this letter wasn’t around when I was in school, as my mum might have never have queued up to pay for GTA in HMV, whilst my brother and I stayed put in the CD aisle so as to not rouse any suspicion.

Although there is no dispute that games like GTA are incredibly violent but threatening to report parents to the police is too far. I grew up playing these violent games and in no way has it had a bad effect on my moral conscious. Do I feel bad when I run over pedestrians? No. Do I feel bad when I massacre everyone in the Malibu club? No. Why? Because I can tell the difference between real life and a game. I would never do those things in real life or find them funny, but GTA is just a game! And a really fun one at that. So go ahead and play those violent games with no guilt. Just remember to turn your inner psychopath and the console off at the same time.