They Grow Up So Fast: Grand Theft Auto III Turns the Big 1-0

Do you remember the first time you laid waste to Liberty City with a tank and a five-star wanted level? Pepperidge Farms Rockstar Games does.

While the mega-developer is (thankfully) abstaining from a simple cash-grab move by issuing an HD re-release of Grand Theft Auto III, they definitely haven’t forgotten on one of their most influental games. A re-release of the game’s original trailer and a couple of TV spots are on Rockstar’s official site.

Widely regarded as the title that brought sandbox style into the mainstream, GTA III, while offering a solid single-player campaign, allowed gamers the then-rare opportunity to absolutely wreak havoc on the world around them.

Check out the video after the jump and tell us: How do you remember Grand Theft Auto III

Grand Theft Auto III debuted on the PlayStation 2 on Oct. 22, 2001 and was an immediate hit. The game landed on many best-of lists that year for its open world and presentation. It also attracted its fair share of controversy, which has become somewhat of a tradition for the series.

Two console spinoffs, the Scarface-inspired Vice City and mid-’90s themed San Andreas were met with equal acclaim. And, of course, the Vice City and Liberty City Stories games for handhelds — and their console ports — have kept the GTA III love fresh over the years.

Until GTA III’s debut on the PlayStation 2, previous games in the series featured a top-down perspective reminiscent of the overworld stages from the  first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles title on the NES.

The protagonist of Grand Theft Auto III had always been somewhat of a mystery. That is, until your character in San Andreas is privy to a conversation about a silent badass from Liberty City named Claude. Oh, and Rockstar’s collectible figurines celebrating the game’s 10th anniversary confirming that assertion.

I’ll never forget my first experiences with the game. A friend in high school just got a PlayStation 2 — his first video game console ever — and his little brother was a near-constant controller hog. The funny thing was the kid would abide by the rules of the road between missions and random acts of mischief.

“I don’t want to arouse suspicion from the cops!” he’d say whenever we told him it was absolutely ridiculous to stop at every red light.

Although I never got too attached to Grand Theft Auto, I’ve gotta hand it to Rockstar: Spider-Man 2, easily my favorite title featuring the wall-crawler, may have been something completely different if it weren’t for Claude and his adventures. Jack Thompson might also want to thank the developer for their contributions to his career.

You can head over to Rockstar’s official site for some more GTA III anniversary goodies.

Eder Campuzano

Eder is a journalism major at the University of Oregon and copy chief of Flux, the School of Journalism and Communication's flagship magazine. When he's not playing video games or writing about them, Eder enjoys going to concerts, walking the UO campus with his trusty iPod, James McCloud, and climbing steep hills in running shoes. His favorite games include Super Mario Bros. 3, Donkey Kong Country 2, Bioshock and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

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