Mullah Omar or myself are the last people to be writing about video games, but I don’t think Omar can write so it’s up to me. To the best of my memory, the last video game I played was at my son’s 8th birthday party at a Chuckie Cheese’s – it had something to do with The Simpsons.
Apparently Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, a story, character and music rich game, is sitting atop the industry now:
- Players are drawn to GTA: Vice City because of the limitless interactive environment and a solid story line — not to mention a voluminous soundtrack that includes artists from Blondie to Kurtis Blow. Among the actors who provide voices to characters are Tom Sizemore, Ray Liotta and Dennis Hopper.
”They have created this gigantic toy box, and what you do with it is up to you,” says Jeff Gerstmann of video game Web site GameSpot.
What GTA: Vice City’s success signals:
* Interest in mature games is growing. Vice City carries an M rating, meaning the subject matter is mature, recommended for ages 17 and older. The average age of those owning the latest systems — PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube — is about 23, much higher than in the early days of Mario and Sonic.
The success of Vice City and last year’s predecessor, Grand Theft Auto III, hasn’t been lost on the industry. ”That explains why you are seeing other titles (such as Acclaim’s BMX XXX, with topless female riders) that are definitely over the top,” says Sean McGowan, analyst with research firm Gerard Klauer Mattison. ”The message is that there is a mature audience out there.”
….* Video games could be hot for the holidays. Consumers are buying the Sony PS2 just to play Vice City and GTA III. They also are buying memory cards and strategy guides. That interest carries over to other games and game systems, says Pete Roithmayr of the Electronics Boutique chain. ”That is a great indicator for the holiday season.”
* Sony’s PS2 remains a superstar. Many video games are simultaneously released for multiple systems, but Sony has an exclusive deal with GTA: Vice City publisher Rockstar Games. That could help Sony maintain its sales lead (about 14 million systems sold) against aggressive competition from Microsoft’s Xbox and Nintendo’s GameCube (about 5 million each) going into the holiday season. [from USA Today]
It is my hope that another Blogcritic, attuned to such things, would favor us with a review of one or more of these games. This is an official hint.