Saturday, June 29, 2019

A Love Letter To GTAO

By: Patrick "TheLaw" Morris

In the series final of The Office, Andy Bernard says "I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you’ve actually left them." and I think that quote rings true with almost everyone. We all know what it's like to long for the good old days and to think back about how much better life was. I've been through many phases of my life that I have later looked back on as "the good old days." There was the time I spent in High School with my friends Eric, Dylan, Ben, Billy, and Wes. Then I made friends in college Zach, Ethan, Nathan, and Caitlyn. And later on in college I was lucky enough to call Heather, Lazio, Spencer, Carlos, Ryan, and Sam, some of the fiercest and most loyal people I've ever met, my friends. Regardless of which era of good old days I think back on they're all treasured memories; but the one thing all phases in life have in common is that just like everything else hey all come to an end.

Welcome welcome welcome everyone welcome back to LegalSpeak a ColdNorth Production. I'm TheLawMorris and this is the video essay series where I get to talk about the game I've been playing and what I think of the medium as a whole. You can find everything we do all in one spot over at This week is going to be a little different, this week I'll be discussing what Grand Theft Auto Online means to me. So lets get to it.

One of the hardest parts of being an adult and one that nobody warns you about is growing apart from your friends. As everyone's life begins to take shape there is less and less time to spend together until eventually you're really only seeing each other occasionally and living off memories. Growing apart is just a part of life but it doesn’t make it hurt any less. Our lives take us down separate roads and what once was cannot always be.

For me Grand Theft Auto Online started as playing a game with a friend. In the beginning it was just Ben and me. For a while it was every waking moment that wasn’t consumed by work or school was devoted to playing GTAO. Together we ruled the streets of Los Santos, often times we would pick fights with other player characters and sometimes we would win, more often we would lose but it didn’t matter because we were doing it together. Ben is the best friend I've ever had, has been with me through thick and thin and while we were in college we lived an hours drive away from each other. Our lives were starting to take us down those separate paths but as soon as we started playing Grand Theft Auto together suddenly distance was no longer an obstacle, we were hanging out every day again.

Those early days of Grand Theft Auto Online are some of my fondest memories of any video game and it's also probably the most addicted to a video game I have ever been. After several weeks of of this full blown addiction we managed to convince Ethan to buy a PS3 and GTA to play with us. Then through Ethan came Nathan and the four of us together started a group text thread specifically for planning to play GTA. This sounds like such a menial throw away thing and at the time it was, at the time all it was was a game that I was enjoying a lot and a text thread for my friends and I to plan to play together. Over time more people joined us, Gabe, Zach, Tim. Some came and went but still to this day that group chat lives on, the Krang Brain lives on. What started as a way of planning GTA has become my primary means of staying in touch with my closest group of friends.

Together we've spent thousands of hours roaming the streets of Los Santos, the back roads of Blaine County, and the race up Mount Chiliad. We spent so much time in GTAO together that it became more than just a game that I was playing with my friends it became the way I spent time with them. For me Grand Theft Auto Online superseded being just a game, it became so much more than that. GTAO became a place that I went with my friends to hang out.

Over the years our lives have taken all of us in different directions just like they have with all of my other friend groups and I'm not upset by that because like I said it's a natural part of life. It's been more than a year since we last visited Los Santos but we all still participate in the group chat regularly. Grand Theft Auto connected us in an incredibly real way but unlike my previous friend groups it kept us connected. We don’t play together as much as we used to, in fact some of us hardly play anything at all anymore. But we all still carry each other around and can message each other at a moments notice.

It sounds stupid but Grand Theft Auto has done so much for me. When we first started playing I literally didn’t do anything besides school, work, and GTA and because I wasn’t doing anything I inadvertently saved up a significant amount of money that I used to buy the computer I made my very first YouTube video on.  I got to know a guy that lived in an entirely different state and now I talk to him almost daily and consider him one of my best friends. I was able to move across the country knowing I would still have this game anchoring me in my relationship with my friends. I was able to find common ground with a new friend in my new area who wound up working his way into the group chat now too. I started a podcast because I wanted to take these conversations my friends and I were having in GTA and put them out there for the world to hear.

To me GTA Online is the reason I play video games. Some games are absolute masterpieces in their medium and I love those. God of War, Majora's Mask, and Metal Gear Solid 3 are all a masterclass in story telling but no matter how much I love those stories they're never as good as the one's I've written with my friends. As I wrote this video and thought about all the good old days I have to look back on not only with the Krang Brain but with everyone, my high school friends, my college friends, and now my gaming friends it became very apparent that I have had a great life and I have so much to look forward to from here, not because of the games or the places or anything else but because of the people. To me Grand Theft Auto Online is the good old days but it’s a good old days that has kept on giving and I will always be thankful for that.

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