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Vice City, San Andreas and the GTA games that reside in our hearts

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It's the 2000s; you're playing this game - the sun is setting over the city, the radio blares a classic '80s hit as you floor the accelerator of a stolen sports car, feeling the thrill of the chase - at that moment, you're not just a kid in front of a screen; you're a digital daredevil, a master of your destiny, and the architect of countless adventures. 

You were just playing a game without knowing you were forming an unforgettable childhood.

Before the internet came to Bangladesh, the availability of games was extremely limited, and finding them was an even more challenging quest. Your best chances were the nearest CD stores, and among the shelves of video games, there was one title that every child nagged their parents for– Grand Theft Auto.

Grand Theft Auto, or GTA in short, is arguably the most popular game series ever made; even if not, definitely one that has shaped an entire generation's childhood. 

Since its inception in 1997, the action-adventure open-world game series by Rockstar Games has been very familiar to success– having multiple hits like GTA III-IV-V, Vice City, and San Andreas; it has cemented its place in the history of games and minds of many.

What made GTA stand out was not any stunning graphics but its endless nature. Exploration and the amount of things you could do in the game knew no limit. Imagination and curiosity were let loose. That is what appealed to the adolescent mind. 

Things you could otherwise not imagine, let alone do in real life, would be your common occurrence in the game - driving your car on the water to even flying it, being chased by cops to raiding army territory, becoming a paramedic to terrorising an entire mall just because - you could do it all in GTA.

Yet, it was not just the mindless mayhem that was captivating. Each GTA game comes with a number of interesting main and side characters like the silent yet resolute Claude, the suave Tommy Vercetti, the relatable CJ or the trusty Lance Vance; their anecdotes combined with the player's actions personalised the game to different outcomes each time, making the missions hard to complete while still being just as fun on your tenth attempt. 

Each player had their adrenaline-soaked moment of completing their first mission, the most rewarding hours of grinding after school. Followed by bragging to friends and sharing the tales of daring heists, improbable escapes, and spectacular crashes as if they were epic sagas. It was a triumph worth celebrating, an achievement that resonated far beyond the confines of a screen.

Looking back, the auditory experience had been a huge part of the GTA immersion. The melodies of those bygone radio stations still resonate, a timeless symphony of nostalgia. 

The soundtracks weren't just background noise; they were anthems that etched their refrains onto our souls. The '80s rhythms of Vice City, the West Coast hip-hop of San Andreas—they broke free from the game, forever serenading our memories.

But now the days are gone. 

Today, as we navigate the complexities of adulthood, we look back in the rearview mirror of nostalgia– those pixelated streets still gleam, and the echoes of car horns and sirens still resonate. 

As time marched on, these worlds faded from our screens but not from our hearts; the memories are still etched in the digital DNA of a generation. 

So, here's to the days when the world was in pixels, chaos was our peace, and all we had to do was follow the damn train.

Samin is a most wanted criminal mastermind in GTA Vice City. Know more about the horrors of unspeakable things he has done in GTA at [email protected]

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