There he stood, with a paintbrush in one gnarled hand and a bowl of moose-blood in the other. Eugene the caveman had just finished painting a red stripe on his wheel to make it go faster. He also slapped on a "[square]-Type" badge just to be sure. See, there wasn't much you could do to a stone wheel to make it go faster without stumbling into moments of inertia, and nobody had discovered math yet. He was due at Mammoth Hill soon, to meet with his fellow modders and race their wheels down the slope.
Since the dawn of time, man has been fascinated with speed and cars. There was the clan of regular cavemen, who went out hunting and stalking about the jungles being mannish, and then there was this other clan, whose members mugged the guy who invented the wheel and got him to build them some more. These cavemen gathered in the night to roll their modified wheels down the hills and to impress cave women with how fast their ride was. There was also a third clan, one whose members hung out in the forest and made love to strange holes in trees and did things like trap mosquitoes in tree sap, and went on to invent SecuROM technology for anti-piracy. But they are shunned today as they were back then.
So anyway, after centuries of being chased by sabretooth tigers and police drivers, we eventually got games. Games like GTA and Need for Speed. Sure, GTA isn't a racing game, but it does let you do much more with your car than NFS.
Most games have restrictions. In Half Life, it's the particle physicist's inability to conquer a three foot high wall. Or, god forbid, a locked door. Even though he has a Gravity Gun which can throw cars at 100 ft tall aliens, a door is just unthinkable. Crysis, you're expected to kill everything in your path anyway, and the only other things you can pick up are big stones, turtles, little stones, and Koreans. Yes, America, you people are fatter than us tiny Asians. We get it. And in most RPG's, it's "Kill small enemies till you level up enough to kill the big enemy". After a few million small enemies, you pick up a ring or something and get to decide which one compliments your silk shirt best.
But GTA is cool. It is a primitive world simulator, and does a commendable job. You are dropped into a sprawling world, and set free. There's some story involving black people, but nobody cared about black people till one of them got in the white house, so I don't remember. Something about a deejay guy and stealing TV's. The usual black guy thing. I'm sure angry teens all over were amazed by it's charming portrayal of fist fights as more a battle between you and your mouse than anything else. And scrawny 12 year olds would have been overjoyed to be able to go to the gym, press a button repeatedly and come out with a wider set of polygons the size of your fist. I have seen first hand what this game does to the "gangstuh's" among us. They pick a car, get three err.. holies? and go riding round the countryside, apparently appreciating the limited palette scenery.
GTA will tell you what a person really _wants_ to do. What we cannot do in real life, but always wanted to try. A certain blogger's brother, I've heard, keeps beating up people and running over innocent pedestrians with a pink Cadillac. Contact me for his whereabouts if you are afraid for your safety.
But just watch a person play this, and you will know them better. Be it blowing up everything in sight, going on a rampage with a chainsaw, or wreaking havoc on the city with a VTOL jet, parachuting down, making a car bounce up and down and then buying new shoes, you will get a rare insight into their mind.
Eugene would've been amazed.
The only thing I don't get is why the game's women seem to enjoy coffee so much.
...And why Niko runs like a sissy in 4.