Grand Theft Auto Pacifist, now on YouTube

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No art form has a more fraught relationship with its critics than the video game.

Formerly the preserve of a few specialist rags, as the form has grown into a commercial and artistic behemoth, critics have started to show interest. And they’ve not always been welcomed with open arms. Anita Sarkeesian was hit by a tidal wave of misogynistic abuse after launching Tropes Vs Women in Video Games, a series of videos examining sexist stereotypes in everything from LA Noire to Super Mario Galaxy.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, some of the most provocative video game criticism is created anonymously. YouTube user Goldvision elegantly deconstructs the nihilistic world of modern sandbox games in Grand Theft Auto Pacifist, a series in which he attempts to live a morally upstanding life in the world of Grand Theft Auto 5. Surrounded by violence and corruption, he endeavours to remain principled, all the while narrating the action in a dry monotone (“Having no vehicle at my disposal, I jump at the opportunity for a healthy jog”).

In the latest episode, he witnesses a violent confrontation between two strangers, one of whom asks the other, “You think I care whether I live or die?” To your average player, it’s a meaningless soundbite – one of a thousand snatches of aggressive dialogue littered throughout the game – but to Goldvision it’s something more: “After thinking it through in my head, it seems incredibly meaningful – just the kind of thing I’ll think about for hours”.

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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Charlie Lyne, for The Guardian on Saturday 27th September 2014 06.00 Europe/London

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