The inglorious nihilism of Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V (2013) is a confidence trick; Rockstar is a fraud. They tell people to distrust capitalism and suspect politics—the entire world, and all its peoples, are venal. In the same breath, they promise sanctuary. “Are you young? Are you angry? Are you an iconoclast, too? Then Rockstar and Grand Theft Auto are here for you,” they seem to say. But it’s a con. Rockstar embraces cynics and outsiders, but only so it may reach a hand into their pockets. Generally, Grand Theft Auto is nihilistic, in a manner betokening not worldliness but arrogance. The chief villain of…

San Andreas Deer Cam

What the 24-hour deer cam in GTA V tells us about the game

There is a wild deer wandering the paved streets of San Andreas, the fictional city of Grand Theft Auto V (2013), freely roaming the 100 square miles of gangland and beaches. By “wild” I don’t mean that this creature is merely not of civilized society—a wild beast—I mean that it doesn’t fit in with the autonomy of the game’s programmed virtuality. Like the player might be a “wild” integer in the game’s system, chasing their own goals, operating on thoughts and desires that aren’t produced by the game’s code, so too is this deer. It is, in fact, an artificial…


Here’s the GTA Movie trailer you never knew you wanted

Every new film that is at least tangentially about digital technology should open with a title card proclaiming: “At least it’s not yet another Steve Jobs movie.” So, here is the trailer for The Gamechangers, BBC Two’s film about the development of Grand Theft Auto and its accompanying moral panic. At least it’s not yet another Steve Jobs movie. Some other “at least” disclaimers, while we’re at it: at least it’s not Hitman Agent 47; at least it’s not PIXELS; at least it’s not another Steve Jobs movie. Look, it’s been a bad little while for movies about technology and the…