Way, way back in January I reported that I bought the game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City along with a Sony Playstation 2. I mentioned that I was somewhat addicted to it and that it turned me into a game-addicted teenager all over again. Well you’ll be glad to hear that I did eventually complete the game and must say it was and is the best game I’ve ever played. I got completely sucked into its’ world. I’d be thinking about the missions during the day and playing them out during the night. The thrill of stealing cars, taking over drug barons houses, evading cops, doing robberies, racing biker gangs, assassinating people, flying helicopters, driving speed boats and running a porno film studio were dreams I’d had for years. To actually live them out (through the magic of a games console) was fantastic.
So here I am nine months later and it’s still with me. No, not the violence and need for speed. It’s the music. You see Vice City is set in the 1980’s which – in case I’ve not mentioned it before – is my absolute favourite era for music. I may have been a young lad through the decade but I loved the music then and I love it now (hey, I went to Antigua mainly because it featured in the video to Rio by Duran Duran, that’s how much I love the 80’s). The music in Vice City is literally an encyclopedia of all the best (and some of the more dodgy) music that make the 80’s such a special era for me.
When you steal a car in Vice City you can control the radio. It has several stations and while you’re being chased by the cops you can select from a wide range of musical styles. And I swear, when I walk into a shop and hear “More Than This” by Roxy Music playing over the tannoy (as happened last week), I find myself driving a stolen car up the east island weaving in and out of traffic as the sun goes down. I snap out of it and realise that I’ve just been staring into space with a crooked grin on my face. The game really has had a profound effect on me. For the record, my brother gets this too so it’s not just me!
When I’m old and lying on my death bed I’ll look back on my life and all the things I’ve done, people I’ve met and achievements I’ve had (I’m assuming that my memory still works at this point). And I know that deep down there will be a memory of playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. I’ll smirk and the nurses will just assume that the morphine is kicking in but it won’t be that. I’ll be re-living the time I killed Diaz in his own mansion – I shot a load of his henchmen with my machine gun before taking him out with a volley from my rocket launcher. Oh how satisfying that was, especially after I’d been killed myself the first three times I’d attempted the mission (including one where I blew myself up by firing the rocket launcher at the railing right in front of me). Oh memories. At the end of the day that’s all we have.