From a summer essay that got me into trouble to seeing my mother’s flabbergasted face when I asked her what a d***head was.
I was the first one in my family to get a PlayStation 2. All my cousins were jealous and it didn’t make sense to them why their parents couldn’t get them the latest console as well. It probably irked them more knowing that I was only six or seven years old and that everyone was spoiling the youngest.
I still didn’t have the appreciation for games like Devil May Cry or Metal Gear Solid. What did you expect? I was still a kid. My dad bought me wholesome titles like Casper and Scooby-Doo.
It wasn’t too long until my cousins took advantage of my gullibility and found a way to get their hands on my console. They would tell me about games they thought were ‘cool’ knowing I would ask my parents with my baby face charm. Once I got the game, they’ll tell me that I can play it with them through ‘watching’ when they came over. Let me tell you, they were in my house almost every day from AM to PM and I barely touched the controller.
I remember hearing the word ‘d***head’ countless of times and I asked my mother what it was.
The last game they got me to buy was Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and I vividly remember asking my mother to buy it for me. I even remember her reading the words ‘theft’ and ‘vice’ aloud. I’m also pretty sure that she saw the ‘mature’ rating in the bottom. Did it matter? Nope, she bought it and didn’t think anything of it.
Unfortunately for my cousins, they didn’t have the chance to play it often because my family moved away from where they lived. So I was stuck with Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and I was on my own. I opened the case, popped it in my PlayStation, and it blew my mind. It was essentially like opening Pandora’s Box.
I discovered a plethora of curse words and shed off a chunk of my naivete. I remember hearing the word ‘d***head’ countless of times and I asked my mother what it was. The mortified look on her face was priceless. She wouldn’t tell me what it meant, so I asked my cousin. He tried to explain the concept behind the profanity to the best of his ability. For some reason, seven year old me couldn’t wrap my head around it.
Why would someone say your head looked like a penis? It wasn’t even possible. I was taking it too literally. Perhaps, I didn’t know vulgar metaphors existed or let alone the whole idea of ‘figure of speech.’ This was when my only concept of insulting someone was limited to moron, fool, or idiot and I didn’t even do that very often.
On top of that, I remember telling my mother and step-father over dinner about a funny thing I did in the game. I told them that a lady went inside my car and I heard weird sounds while the vehicle would shake. So, I kept trying it again but I eventually noticed that it cost me money each time.
What’s my solution? I beat up the hooker to get my money back. I didn’t even read about other players doing the same thing online. It was just something I did. Weird. I apparently found it so funny that I was laughing like crazy over dinner.
That was when my mom started to become more suspicious about the game. She didn’t ban me yet, but she was starting to snoop around to find out which cousin influenced me to want it.
I think the last straw for her was when she walked in my room and I was going on a murderous rampage with a machine gun. She threatened to take the game away because she finally thought it was inappropriate. However, she didn’t and all I had to say was: “Mom, I’m not going to kill people in real life” and that was it. I understood that it was just a video game.
However, my best story would have to be that essay I wrote in the third grade. While everyone else decided to write about a trip abroad or piano lessons, I decided to add my own creative spin to an otherwise boring assignment.
I practically spent the whole summer playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, so I chose to write about about that in a way not many would expect. When it was my turn to recite aloud in front of the whole class, I took a big risk and decided to give my experiment a shot. I talked about spending a summer in Vice City where I engaged in money laundering, drug trafficking, prostitution, and mass murder…I talked about spending a summer in Vice City where I engaged in money laundering, drug trafficking, prostitution, and mass murder in simpler terms of course.
Some were dumbfounded and others erupted in laughter once they figured out I was talking about Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. A lot of kids knew about it because it was so controversial. My teacher wasn’t happy and I got into trouble. She called it ‘morbid’ and ‘inappropriate,’ but it was worth it. I always loved to take risks for new ideas no matter how crazy ever since I was a kid.
I’m not saying that it’s okay to buy your kid a ‘mature’ video game nor am I making a stance about violence in media. This is an honest account of what it was like for me discovering Grand Theft Auto at a young age. I turned out fine and I have my parents to thank for that. He didn’t try to hide the game once I played it. He realized it was better to openly talk to me about it instead.
I will always love Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. It may have corrupted my innocent mind too early, but it also inspired me to write creatively in an essay and it influenced my taste in music. Thanks to hearing Out of Touch, I’ve always been in love with rhythm and blues.
Here I am now with a copy of Grand Theft Auto V.
What are some of your memories?