What did Grand Theft Auto III mean to you?

Our editors take a personal look back at the decade-old car-crime pioneer

Because of its openness, of course, GTA III meant a lot of different things to a lot of different people. So once again, we’ve polled our editors, this time to ask: what did it mean to you?

Justin Towell, GamesRadar

It's strange to hear that GTAIII is 10 years old, probably because it was the start of such a new chapter in gaming. I can't think of any other game that's had such an impact on the industry. But personally, whenever someone says its name, I immediately have a flashback vision of the garbage truck mounting the pavements by the docks at night, flattening streetlights for fun. For all its cultural significance, it's all about the unscripted chaos for me. Long live GTA.

Charlie Barratt, GamesRadar

Then a friend showed me GTA III and everything changed. It’d taken another console generation, but 3D was finally justified. How else could Rockstar build an entire (and entirely believable) city for you to explore and exploit from nearly all imaginable angles? The freedom and immersion were more than overwhelming – they were intoxicating, and though I hadn’t touched a controller in years, I suddenly couldn’t put one down. Five years later, I’d not only become addicted to games again, I’d moved to San Francisco to pursue a job in the games industry. So, in a not-so-indirect way, GTA III changed my life. Thanks, Rockstar.

Dave Rudden, Official Xbox Magazine

Once I saw this game in motion – so unlike anything I’d ever seen in my 20 years of living and gaming – I knew everything was about to change. GTA III made gaming cool, as our clientele changed from almost exclusively hardcore gamers and Pokemon-trading kids to include former game-haters, as well as adults (some of whom were getting back into gaming after decades, others who were being duped by their kids into purchasing M-rated wares). Pre-orders became big after GTA III shortages inspired panic that folks would miss out on the “next big thing*.” For better or worse, it changed the industry in a major way.

As for me personally, Grand Theft Auto III was (and still is) the realization video gaming’s potential to present a unique experience unlike any other art form. What looks like a normal city on the surface is really the world’s ultimate playground, as you can go (almost) anywhere and take (almost) anything that isn’t stuck on the ground. The multitude of memorable characters and the exceptional soundtrack brought the immersion even deeper. It was so easy to get lost in GTA III’s world – the dozens of hours I spent completing the campaign and dozens more I spent racking up incredible crime sprees while speeding around in sports cars can attest to that. Ten years later, GTA III is still one of my favorite games of all time.

* I apologize for telling any customers of the Levittown, New York Funcoland that State of Emergency would be the “next big thing.”

Henry Gilbert, GamesRadar

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