REACT, the YouTube channel that films people doing things in order to get their reaction, decided to have elders play Grand Theft Auto V for a half hour, with no information on how to play the game beyond basic controls. The GTA series gets lots of negative press for basically everything that earns it an M rating (so really if parents actually asked around about video game ratings, we’d avoid a lot of these sorts of stories*.) But the retiree set doesn’t really play a lot of console games in the first place, so some of the loudest critics have no real basis for complaint.
That’s what makes this video really interesting. Going in, most of the grandparents here had definitely heard about Grand Theft Auto and were uncomfortable about the idea of “teaching the kids how to steal a car.” At first, they do things you’d expect from responsible senior citizens, like briefly pausing at stop signs and driving up on to sidewalks at red lights. It doesn’t take very long for them to realize that Rockstar isn’t literally showing your children how to hotwire a Chevy, and being able to drive any way you want is pretty fun.
There’s also a lot of admiration for the quality of the graphics in the game. The controller vibrates, the faux-Santa Monica Pier actually looks like the real Santa Monica Pier, you can pick up gun stashes, play side games of tennis, and have police shootouts. All of which they laugh about. A lot.
If you’re not going to watch the whole thing, at least skip ahead to Catherine’s comments at the 6:50 mark, where she waxes poetic about crime in “the old days.”
*In the interest of full disclosure, if you’re reading this, and you’re a parent, and you’re not familiar with how a game gets an “M” rating, here it is: “Grand Theft Auto V: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Mature Humor, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs and Alcohol.” The ESRB should be bookmarked on your smart phone for the next time you and your children are in Game Stop and you’re unsure about what exactly the content is of the game they’re asking you to buy.