Rockstar Games and American History


Every time Rockstar releases a new game, the media is filled with how the game developers have succeeded in redefining the open world style. There are always articles that show the impact of Hollywood movies on the development of Rockstar games, and one or two complainers who say why Rockstar has changed the possible and impossible limitations of games. Of course, these plaintiffs are usually the ones who say that video games are harmful and cause a sense of violence and sociability in the audience.

The interesting thing is that these writings often do not pay attention to the habits of developing and publishing Rockstar compositions, that is, the continuous publication of games whose stories take place in the past. Leaving aside the usual talk about game mechanics, details and technical and artistic features of Rockstar games, Rockstar is probably one of the historical game studios alongside Firaxis (Civilization), Paradox (Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis) and even Ubisoft ( As the creator of Assassin’s Creed). It has become commonplace to see articles and videos of these creators being criticized for their historical flaws; But that has never happened to Rockstar, whose games tell the story of modern American history. These games include Red Dead Redemption 2 (narrated in 1899), Red Dead Redemption (1911), LA Noire‌ (1947), GTA: Vice City (1986) and GTA: San Andreas (1992).

Any critic who wants to examine a historical fiction story will be faced with a similar warning: “This story is made by the author’s mind and is not based on reality.” The lead author of Red Dead Redemption 2 has used a similar sentence for himself.


Of course, we know that historical stories often have a special effect on how people remember historical characters and events. For example, Shakespeare’s plays played a major role in the fame of Cleopatra and Richard III, or the cinematic role of rescuing Ryan’s soldier in honor of D-Day (Attack on Normandy). Truth is always more important than fiction, but most of the time we remember the story better than history itself.

If we accept the importance of historical inspiration in Shakespeare’s works, can we not do the same for a rock star who earned $ 725 million from a historical work in just three days? In this case, how do Rockstar games tell American history? Clearly, the studio’s work addresses the importance of crime in modern American history. By focusing on this, Rockstar can immerse players in exciting gameplay, and in addition, the creators can show two controversial aspects of modern America: the brutality of the capitalist system and the violence of firearms. The use of firearms is natural in all of Rockstar’s historical games; But to see the aspect of the capitalist system, one must be a little careful. Whether in RDR2 or in LA Noire or GTA, the game’s money-loving characters like Leviticus Cornwall, Leland Monroe or Avery Carrington are each one of the game’s most memorable characters. In almost all of these cases, the main character of the game is on the opposite side of these characters and their goals.

This opposition is important in order to show the game itself. The main characters of the game are usually those who are considered in the external and external area from the point of view of the system. Now this system may be a corrupt government (like the RDR and LA Noire collections) or powerful and corrupt groups and individuals (GTA). This aspect of looking at historical events contrasts with other narratives. In most of these stories, the singer or the actor is in the role of people who have the main role in the events or are very close to him. For example, in Civilization, the player plays the role of the great rulers of the world, or in Assassin’s Creed, they greet and sacrifice Da Vinci.

Although this view is different from other historical stories, it is very understandable and adaptable to the history of modern America from the reader’s point of view. It is more than a fictional story for an independent candidate to promote propaganda with the promise of purging organized corruption. LA Noire and Gta: San Andreas, with its long story, also involved police corruption, which is more palpable than ever. Rockstar also addresses America’s long-standing concern for intellectuals and intellectuals, which is itself an established anti-regime current. RDR has entered the field with the racist and cocaine addict professor Harold MacDougal. Vice City also addresses the issue, using a radio station (VCPR) that humorously addresses the intellectual concerns commonly discussed in NPR.

As much as Rockstar’s historiography deals with capitalism, intellectualism, and violence, nothing special is done about racism and sexual prejudice. In this case again, we can use the example of RDR, in which women are either in the role of sufferers who have to go to their aid or are abusive. The natives are portrayed as drunk and violent, the Mexicans are traitors and the blacks are not present at all. To some extent, it is said that these problems occurred because of Rockstar’s source of inspiration, the Western titles, and Rockstar did not do so by its own decision. Of course, this was not valid at the time of release and it is still the same. Of course, it seems that Rockstar in the second version has tried to correct this a bit, but what the previous version did can not be corrected, and in this case Rockstar has a similar function to other historical titles.

Given the pros and cons of Rockstar games, it does not seem at all interesting to expect others to use these games, as well as some popular books and movies, for their Chinese introduction. Of course, it is possible to use the game’s story to address some of the most important events in American history, such as industrialization, post-war prosperity, the fight against drugs, and racist issues in the twentieth century. Again in this case RDR2 deals with the period of reconstruction and approval of women’s suffrage.

Part of the media theme is comparing games to Rockstar’s sources of inspiration. If the media is talking about the impact of an old movie like The Wild Bunch on Rockstar, then we should also talk about the impact that Rockstar games will have on history and historical stories in the future. Given the popularity of these games, whether they like it or not, there will be this impact.

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Adib Zahedi is the CEO and Founder of He has nearly a decade of experience in IT, including two years spent working on a Youtube Chennal. He is also an author and writes articles for Has articles include tutorials and covers everything from Windows PCs to smartphone's software.

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