GTA IV: the dark side of the American dream

Olivier Mauco wrote a book on the Grand Theft Auto video game, which he considers to be part of pop culture: “the dark side of the American dream”

As the title suggests, Mauco believes that GTA (particularly its fourth, more developed version) subverts great American myths (the self-made man, the mass media, urban planning…) and uses references to pop culture, chief among which movies, in order to reach the largest possible audience.

An unprecedented hit (the 272 million-euro production costs were more than covered in only three days, when sales spiked up to one billion euros), GTA also stands out because of its “transformative capacity”, i.e. the possibility for each player to progressively increase their power within the boundaries set by the game; GTA players start at the bottom and must struggle for upward mobility.