Game City
May 12th, 2008

Whatever you think of the merits or evils of videogames (Too violent? Mindless? A skills tool?), they can help the economy. New York City already has about 30 game development companies and another 55 firms involved in some aspect of games, according to a recent count by the Center for an Urban Future. And the think tank’s report, “Getting in the Game” urges the city to try to attract more. “Doing so would help the city diversify its economy and create good-paying jobs in one of the nations most promising sectors,” the report states

But what do video games mean for our city’s image. The report comes amid much buzz — and huge sales — for the latest installment of Grand Theft Auto. The setting, Liberty City, is essentially New York.

“Its divided into boroughs with distinct populations and architectural styles; it has most of the same suspension bridges and historic landmarks in the places youd expect to find them; and its streets are always teeming with traffic and unruly pedestrians,” David Itzkoffwrote in the Times. But that only goes so far, Itzkoff continues: “For a native New Yorker, the game is both comfortingly routine and eerily disorienting; you find yourself playing because it is a limitless escape and a consequence-free confinement. Liberty City is like nowhere Ive ever visited, even as it tries with all its heart and soul to remind me of a place with which Im already intimately acquainted.”

While the landmarks and names may invoke New York, Sudhir Venkatesh in Slate finds the game more reminiscent of gang life in Chicago. And for those who think it’s too violent, Venkatesh begs to disagree: “This may sound strange, but I found that Grand Theft Auto actually offered a less sensational portrait of gangland and ghetto streets than the one put out by most cops, politicians, policymakers, and even academics.”

By on May 12, 2008, 2:16 pm
In category: Crime & Safety,Economy,Tech | 2 Comments »

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2 Responses to “Game City”

  1. Matt Says:
    June 20th, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    GTA IV is definitely one of the most immersive games yet–the amount of time put into the storyline and graphics is phenomenal! I came across this video which captures some of the richer moments: http://www.monkeysee.com/play/9320-how-to-play-grand-theft-auto-iv

    Anyway, game on!

  2. Zachariah Verrett Says:
    April 15th, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    I think mindset and confidence are really key.

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