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Television

Game on

‘Grand Theft Auto V’: thinking anew about violence

Rockstar Games’ “Grand Theft Auto V” came out for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 last week, and it has garnered the usual praise from a variety of outlets. I’ve been traveling and haven’t had a chance to play it yet, but it looks extremely impressive — a massive game that allows players to, if they so desire, neglect the comprehensive story line and simply drive (a car, boat, plane, or mountain bike) around a meticulously rendered world, causing trouble and having fun.

Then, of course, there’s the violence. Plenty of games are violent, but by dint of their open-world, flexible nature, games in the “GTA” series have violence of a more random, haphazard sort. In “GTA V,” as in its predecessors, you can go anywhere you want (the setting this time around is a Los-Angeles-ish city and the nearby countryside) and start gunning down innocent civilians. Then, when the police respond, you can kill them.

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