Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Hated by: Video Editor Joe McNeilly
GTA: San Andreas hit gamers like a rush of crack to the brainstem. It was universally loved for being the biggest, most open-endedest game world ever created. Its narcotic potency somehow managed to veil millions of delirious fans from the fact that the game looked like crap, had awful controls, and was so full of pointless side-missions that it was choking on its own grandeur. One thing is clear: there is no end to Wonder Bread suburbanites who want to experience urban America at a safely mediated distance.
People loved San Andreas because it introduced scads of new gameplay ideas, like forcing you to take your character to the gym to buff up. Herein lies a major irritant: why waste time improving the "strength" of some clunky virtual being, when you could be at the gym learning to kick two-by-fours in half? Games should transport the player to another place, not serve as a nagging reminder of the neglected real world. It creates a cycle of self-loathing and recrimination in people who are interested in life beyond the couch. Better go work off those jumbo dogs, Dogg. Now that's realism.
Above: San Andreas can be summed up in one word: "excess"
So let's all take a moment to thank GTA: San Andreas for putting the Mature in immature, giving every maladjusted teen shooter a ready-made excuse for their actions and for reinforcing (or reinventing) negative stereotypes in the mainstream press. We'll fight to the end to defend your right to fantasize about running over hookers in purloined vehicles; we just wonder why anyone thinks that's fun.
"Open-world games were awesome, until GTA: San Andreas peed in the sandbox." - Joe