Gaming, Writing

That’s The Way It Goes

I switched from Fallout to GTAO this week, in anticipation of Red Dead Redemption II. I’m a “glitchy” gamer—I have sensory processing disorder issues, and my coordination can get wonky, causing me to have problems with buttons and things. Since I knew I’d be playing RDR2, I wanted to switch to game with a similar control scheme to get myself used to it to minimize the glitches once I started playing.

The problem is that I’m not really chasing anything in GTAO, and while many appreciate it for its random violence and mayhem, I like to have something to do. I thought I could maybe do my daily objectives, but they were usually pretty easy to knock out, and I needed something more. Something to work towards, amidst the chaos and bloodshed.

I started working on Stunt Jumps. There are 50 jumps scattered around the map, and you have to make the jump, land correctly, and not die in the process to get it to count as completed. The story introduces them to you with Trevor and his truck, but then it’s up to you to find them. I could have worked on them in single-player mode, but where’s the fun in that?

I had to look the part, too, so I was riding around on a Redwood branded racing motorcycle, wearing the red and white Jock Cranley stunt suit with the red helmet. I found a list on the internet that wasn’t too helpful, though it did have pictures of where the jumps should be. I believe you can do them in any order, but each jump does have a specific number assigned to it, and that’s what this list followed, so there was a lot of running back and forth.

And since I was playing in Free Roam, I attracted some attention, especially when I would have trouble nailing a jump and would be doing it over and over. There was one where I had to go off a freeway overpass onto the concrete sewer drain below where someone decided to chase me. I’m not sure why I was missing the landing, but I figured out how to quickly get back up to the highway, and so was basically running a circle, and this guy was chasing me, and since he was shooting at me, he got the cops on him, so that was a little crazy.

There was one jump where I kept wrecking the bike when I missed because it would fall into the ocean, and I’d have to call the insurance company to get it restored. And because I was an idiot, I’d drive all the way in town to the insurance station to pick up the bike and drive back. Then I wised up and started my motorcycle club. Then I could call the insurance company and then call my bike to me.

A lot of the jumps that I missed were due to speed, and so I had to take longer and longer leads to get enough speed before I hit the ramp. And then a lot of them were dependent on sticking the landing just right, which meant a lot of mid-air controlling to get the wheels to land where I wanted. And I’m really glad that my character is level 200, because there were a lot of times where I should have died, but didn’t. I’d survive with just a bare sliver of health left, and then I’d be pretty well recovered by the time I tried the jump again.

The whole project went pretty well, and actually didn’t take as long as I thought. I hadn’t thought about how well I know San Andreas at this point, how I can look at a screenshot of part of the map and not only recognize where it is, but also have a pretty good idea of how to get there from where I’m at. And it was a lot of run to be running around doing weird jumps wearing a bright red jumpsuit.

And the other players weren’t that much of a problem. Sure, I had some griefers. I think it’s a requirement that when you acquire the Oppressor Mk II that you just become a dick and blow people up for no reason. But that’s part of playing GTAO, you know?

The best part was a guy in a Vigilante, GTAO’s version of the Batmobile. He blew me up with his missiles, which, you know, isn’t overkill for someone on a bike who’s not shooting at you. This was at the airport. I had just landed the second half-pipe jump and was checking the map for where I needed to go next. I respawned in the lower parking lot, and could see him circling around, trying to figure out where I was. This is when I started to clue in that he might be a little new, as he was driving around above me on the upper ramp, seemingly confused that he couldn’t see me. By the time I got to my bike, he had apparently gotten out of his car, as I got lightly raked by assault-rifle fire. I jumped on my bike and headed to the next jump, and soon heard the roar of the Vigilante’s rocket engine as he came after me.

As I rounded a corner, I heard an explosion behind me, and then an alert popped up in the lower left hand corner saying he had died. Apparently, he blew himself up with those fabulous missiles. He respawned on a nearby street, sans Vigilante, and promptly left the session.

But those Oppressors, man. Once I finished the Stunt Jumps, I worked on my nightclub, and there was a streak of five or six missions that ended suddenly with me being blown up by a jerk on an Oppressor. I mean, I know it’s GTAO, and that’s just the way it goes, but I started to really hate seeing that icon on the mini-map.

Last night, while I was waiting for RDR2 to release, I was running a sale for the nightclub when I saw an Oppressor circle around and start following me. I sighed, but kept going, just waiting for the explosion. The guy buzzed me, flying right on top of me for a while, and then finally jetted off. I finished the delivery, and then texted him, “Thanks for not blowing me up, I owe you.”

He replied, “No problem.” And then a little bit later, “You wanna help me?”

So I joined his MC, and we ran a cocaine sale, four Western Baggers that had to be driven from the piers out to the junkyard off the highway in the desert. And of course, some other jerk on an Oppressor had to mess with us. We lost one of the Baggers, but managed to deliver the other three when the jerk got distracted by a firefight raging downtown.

But that’s the fun of GTAO. Yeah, sure, you get griefed, but you can also get roped into helping a random stranger deliver his illegal drugs. It was a fitting way to close out this chapter of my GTAO career before I started Red Dead Redemption.

RDR2 is wonderful by the way, but I’m not sure how well my practicing all week in GTA paid off. The control scheme is similar but different enough. I only played an hour and half last night, but still managed to almost shoot my partner in the head during a mission. Glitchy gamer indeed.

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