Straight Outta Ganton

Kiri Miller

in Playing Along

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199753451
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932979 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Music/Media Series

                      Straight Outta Ganton

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This chapter works through several analytical frameworks for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, addressing the game as a tourist destination, a fieldwork site, a virtual museum, a vehicle for vicarious embodied performance, and a pop culture artifact whose double-voiced aesthetic has given rise to diverse interpretive communities. The GTA games encourage players to adopt touristic, ethnographic, and colonialist orientations to gameworld exploration. As they play, their strategic experimentation and fortuitous blunders highlight the gap between their own physical abilities, learned behaviors, and life history and those of their avatars. Digital gameplay is a form of expressive culture developed through collaborative performance and intertextual interpretation. GTA: San Andreas offers a rich case study because its lead character is African American (a rarity in video games) and its storylines and aesthetic are derived from hip-hop culture, a well-established arena for staging conflicts between individual expressivity and oppressive restrictions.

Keywords: virtual; tourism; fieldwork; performance; ethnography; intertextuality; hip-hop; embodiment; Grand Theft Auto; interpretive community

Chapter.  14015 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music ; Ethnomusicology

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