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A guide to Grand Theft Auto video games

Grand Theft Auto (GTA) has been one of the most successful, and controversial games franchises in history. The saga starts in 1997 and as of 2011, four versions of the game had been released, with a variety of expansion packs in between.

The originals

Grand Theft Auto In 1997, the original GTA was released by DMA Design for PC and PlayStation. It was a top down game set in three fictional cities across America, with the idea being to earn enough money to move on to the next city. Grand Theft Auto: London In 1999, two expansion packs were released called Grand Theft Auto: London, 1969 and London, 1961. Both of these followed the same format, but were set in the UK. All of these games were criticised for the poor graphics, but were praised for exceptional game play. They were also criticised for setting a bad example due to references to violence, sex and drugs. Grand Theft Auto 2 GTA 2 followed in late 1999 and was once again set in America, but supposedly in the future, although the actual year is never revealed. The game play was essentially the same as previous versions of the game, but with different characters and vehicles.

The next generation

Grand Theft Auto III GTA III is seen as a breakthrough moment in video-games where great graphics meet outstanding game play. Set in fictional Liberty City, the game abandoned the bird’s eye view of the previous games for a third person mode. It also lost the separate cities in favour of one large city with different areas to explore. It was released in 2001 and was followed by numerous expansion packs including Vice City (2002), Advance and San Andreas (2004), Liberty City Stories (2005) and Vice City Stories (2006). All of these games featured similar game play, but with different story lines, characters and vehicles. Many people have put the GTA franchise's success down to developer Rockstar’s ability to tweak the story, game play and actions enough to get people to buy these expansion packs. Grand Theft Auto IV Released in 2008, GTA IV is once again set in Liberty City, although it is recognisable from its incarnations in previous games. We still had the winning format of the previous versions, but everything else about the game had been substantially upgraded. It was followed with numerous expansion packs such as The Lost and Damned (2008), The Ballad of Gay Tony (2008) and Chinatown Wars (2009). Criticisms It has been criticised for excessive use of violence, sex and drugs, but has been able to maintain its popularity due to celebrity character voices from Samuel L Jackson, James Woods and Peter Fonda.

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