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How Grand Theft Auto follows Traditional Gangster Movie Conventions

Hypothetically, if the popular and controversial “Grand Theft Auto” series of video games followed the same conventions it uses in its games to create a movie, it would arguably prove to be a huge commercial success and stand out as one of the most innovative “Game to film” titles of all time. This is no coincidence, as the popular series follows many traditional conventions of the gangster genre of film and implements them into the gameplay and the storyline of their titles.

The first traditional convention comes from the fact that in all of the Grand Theft Auto titles, the player controls a man that starts at the bottom of the organized crime industry and is forced to work his way up the ladder of underground success. Some of the most famous gangster movies of all time showcase this unwritten rule, including the classic “Scarface” in which Cuban immigrant Tony Montana is forced to work his way up the ladder, often going against “the boss’s” wishes in order to make a name for himself in his own right.

Grand Theft Auto also showcases another common convention seen in the gangster genre of film in the fact that the main character is always chasing the “American Dream”. They all crave fame, success and power and all the benefits that come with it, and they will stop at nothing until they get it. This is a common convention prominently seen in the gangster genre of film, as seen in such films as Scarface as Tony Montana arrives in America, The Godfather as Michael Corleone hesitantly attempts to make a name for himself instead of living in his father’s shadow and The Usual Suspects as “Verbal” portrays himself a as lowly gangster attempting to fit in as he attempts to walk away with a care-free life from a single heist.

Of course, the Grand Theft Auto series also portrays the “rise and fall” of the main character in the same way as the gangster genre of film does. It is common to see the main character work his way up to the top of the world and achieve the American Dream, only to have made some powerful enemies along the way which want nothing to see him fall from his throne and perish. The “rise and fall” aspect is prominently seen in the gangster genre of film and this has been implemented in Grand Theft auto just the same.

The depiction of beautiful women hindering the progress of the main character, as well as being caught up with the law and dealing with drugs, alcohol and guns are all traditional conventions of the gangster film genre that you expect to see. Why these conventions are controversial to see in a video game, they are necessary none the less and the sooner critics accept the fact that without these conventions implemented, Grand Theft Auto would not be as commercially successful and critically acclaimed as it is the better. Grand Theft auto is popular not only for its unique and immersive gameplay, but also for the traditional conventions that it follows, conventions which have become synonymous with the game franchise itself.

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