pARTy like a Rockstar

Let me just start out with, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is a hell of a game. I remember it being the very first open world game that I played when I was a young lad. By open world, I mean that you can explore the game or do whatever you want without having to partake in a mission or quest. While revisiting this game, I know the artwork and graphics are not as good as games that are out these days but it gave me a sense of nostalgia. It was amazing how much they were able to fit into this game that made it stand out. You can decapitate an innocent bystander with a katana, blow up cars with tanks, and even get freaky with prostitutes in your car.

The important question however is, is thegame art? When we talk about art, many definitions come to mind. Some say art is subjective, while others art is most definitely objective. In my opinion, art is subjective. Each individual can have their own opinion of art and while others may not agree, that does not mean they are wrong. Howard Becker states that “All artistic work, like all human activity, involves the join activity of a number, often a large number, of people” (1). Rockstar as a company, had a large number of people working on this game. There were people working on the game play, while others were working on the artwork. You had others developing the story and members of the team creating sounds and music for the game. Each of these elements came together to form a piece of art that also happened to be a game. This also coincides with “Each kind of person who participates in the making of art works, then, has a specific bundle of tasks to do” (Becker 11). Each person working on a certain section of the game could be considered an artist in their own right. There are multiple types of artist, each with their own medium. Art is not confined to what one person deems it to be and it certainly does not change its meaning to people if others don’t appreciate it.

The game itself, gave me a mix of emotions while playing it. There were times when I felt anger and others where I felt joy. Art is supposed to make you feel a certain way when you happen to stumble upon it and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City did just that. You could see the work put into the open world game. You appreciate all the colors that they threw into the game. Things such as the storyline or the way the characters move along with the game sound stimulate you. As you play the game, you start to enjoy it and art is something you can enjoy and appreciate.You can tell Rockstar put their hearts out into creating this piece of art  that would mean something to someone. It could mean fun or a distraction or maybe even a story to tell. As I mentioned before, the visuals may not be the greatest, but something about it just draws you in and makes you want to interact with the game. I often find myself thinking about what kind of scene would happen if I did a certain action. The fact that you could walk into buildings or jump into cars made the game feel realistic and somehow artistic. Vice City is definitely art.



-Howard Becker. (1982). “Art Worlds and Collective Activity” in Art Worlds. Berkeley: University of California Press: pp. 1-39. [PDF or]


5 thoughts on “pARTy like a Rockstar

  1. Thank you for doing a GTA game other than V! I got tired of seeing it as the only game people did. The beauty of games as art is the range of emotions that it puts you through. GTA games do that in droves. You can do so many things and experience so many things in these games. Vice City is essentially Scarface and the roller coaster of emotions is there. GTA often gets a bad rep for what it offers but man is it a great game.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel that the the older games that amazed us when they where new really show how the game can be art, it’s representative but still can be tied in with Becker just like any of the modern versions of the game. It’s a good example that art is not just replicating real life but also a artistic creation that takes into consideration many variables.


  3. I liked our analysis of GTA: Vice City. I wish you would have included a bit more details on the colors, game sounds, and story line that you mentioned. You do mention that the graphics are not that great. Based on the time that the game was released do you think these graphics fit the technological time or would you still classify them as not that great?


  4. I like that you use Howard Becker’s collective activity to justify it as art, I definitely agree.What I really enjoyed about this game, as I played were the graphics. The realistic sounds, pictures, and representations of the city were what helped me make my argument on why I think this game is art. But you talk more about the behind the scenes approach. Do you think that there is another way to consider Grand Theft Auto as art besides the graphics and the collective work put into it?


  5. Echoing what other people said I’m SO GLAD to see someone who didn’t do GTA V, because it makes your post really stand out amongst the others. I agree with one of the people above though about including some of the other things, which I would argue contribute to the game being seen as art, including the music (which Vice City is notorious for), colours, and story lines. I would also argue that even though the graphics aren’t great in comparison to now, especially with GTA V, but I remember it looking AMAZING when it first game out.


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