On April 11, 2013, Professor Quijano’s undergraduate students presented on their selected interactive media title for literary analysis. One short presentation was given on the video game Grand Theft Auto 4 (GTA IV). The presenter led a discussion over the theme of the “American Dream.” He described how the game’s main character Niko was an immigrant seeking a better life in America, but ended up in a life of crime and corruption. Another theme that presents itself is the relation of the digital text’s open world and storyline to real life, in which this idea will be the subject of focus.
In the opening sequence, Niko is aboard a shipping vessel that about is to dock in Liberty City. On the voyage there, he is told about the grand lifestyle and the better living that he could find in America. After arrival, Niko gets acquainted with the new land through the help of his cousin Roman. He soon realizes that what he was led to believe was not as genuine as he thought. As a result, Niko must now make do with his current situation.
The open world environment of GTA IV can be considered a paradigm of the actual world we inhabit. Similar to real life, the Liberty City infrastructure allows a multitude of instances to occur. These actions include basic movements such as running around, getting food, or engaging in the “acquisition” of motor vehicles (just like the actual world). Moreover, these maneuvers can be repeated at the user’s inclination. Although these efforts can be exerted without end, it is the successful performance of missions that allow storyline progression. In relation to real life, accomplishments offer a sense of satisfaction. However, as most people become aware, the contentment is only temporary. Therefore, the achievements of successive, meaningful “missions” will provide the ongoing notion of gratification. Consequently, these specific life engagements will develop a fascinating storyline yet to be inscribed in time.
A preview of Grand Theft Auto 4 can be found at: