My 33rd birthday is on the horizon and I stopped in at Best Buy to see what electronics I could add to my repertoire. As I was perusing the PlayStation 4 aisle, I saw that they had NBA 2K18 on display. Right next to it was Grand Theft Auto V. I didn’t even know Rockstar Games released another Grand Theft Auto game past Grand Theft Auto IV. Hell, I haven’t played the series since I was “running up in spots with CJ from San Andreas”. Seeing Grand Theft Auto V reminded me of arguably the best game I ever played on PlayStation 2. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: Grand Theft Auto III.
How I first came across this moment? I first caught wind of Grand Theft Auto III when I read about it in the November 2001 issue of Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine. Aside from the demos of Crash Bandicoot: Warped and Syphon Filter 2, there was a pretty extensive write-up on Rockstar Games’ latest release. It seemed really interesting but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend the $48.59 on it so I rented it from Blockbuster. Once I was home, I got right to playing it.
What it meant to me then? From the moment I got in the Sentinel and drove 8-Ball over to Luigi’s club, I fell in love with the game. The missions were challenging but not in a way where they were completely unachievable. Of all the primary missions in the game, I liked the ones assigned to me by Donald Love…in particular, the one in which I had to assassinate Kenji while masquerading as a member of the Columbian Cartel. The best missions in the game were the ones I did for Marty Chonks. Dude was a vicious serial killer…he even murdered his wife, who was both cheating and spending extravagantly. I really liked the radio stations that were featured in the game, especially Game FM. That’s how I was introduced to Royce Da 5’9” and 8-Off Agallah. The vehicles weren’t bad either. I had a lot of love for the Mafia Sentinel, the Infernus, and that bulletproof Patriot I copped from the crooked cop. Like I wrote, I loved the game. Whenever I couldn’t get to sleep immediately after a Friday or Saturday night shift at Domino’s, I was playing GTA III.
What it means to me now? I haven’t played GTA III since October 2008, when I phased out my PlayStation 2 and moved up to the PlayStation 3. It’s not quite NCAA Football 2004 in terms of the best PlayStation game ever or even the best vehicular crime game like Twisted Metal but it’s definitely one of the Top 10 games I’ve ever played on any console. I’m sure one of these days, I’ll find myself parked in front of a PS2 playing it and doing damage with the Mafia Sentinel while listening to Royce Da 5’9” & Pretty Ugly’s “Spit Game”.