Chaotic Tranquility

Finding moments worth remembering in GTA V.

Grand Theft Auto is an undeniably significant franchise. It garners countless awards, has earned unimaginable amounts of money, and is considered by many to be one of the most influential video game franchises of all time. Yet, despite my acknowledgment for the series’ achievements, I’ve spent a relatively sparse amount of hours with its entries, and entirely ignored the latest. Truth be told, they never clicked for me, and saw no reason to waste my increasingly limited free time on Grand Theft Auto V.

However, after years standing aside the series, I decided to give it a try once it got added to Xbox Game Pass. Despite my existing doubts, I ended up spending more hours than I care to admit in Los Santos. But I wasn’t interested in the narrative or the mayhem I unleashed. It were the small and seemingly insignificant moments.

Walking down the nearly abandoned beach under dim moonlight. Watching the sun set behind the skyscrapers that failed to conceal it. These moments happened organically at first, but as the hours began to climb, I started intentionally seeking them out. I would spend hours between story missions just wandering around, looking for the next scenic view or quiet moment worth experiencing.

It wasn’t necessarily the moments themselves that were inherently special, but how starkly they contrasted against the rest of the experience that made them memorable. GTA V is incessantly pessimistic while simultaneously wanting to be a comedic action film. But these moments were neither. Instead, they evoked tranquility. They were fleeting pictures of beauty in an exaggeratedly ugly and chaotic world.

By John Anderson

John Anderson spends far too much time thinking about
video games and not nearly enough time playing them. Talk to him on Twitter @JohnAnders70465

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