Grand Theft Auto V's Los Santos is based on Los Angeles, so graffiti is a big source of the colour in its concrete jungle. And while it's easy to think of graffiti as simple window dressing, these things often come from a very real place.
AbsolutePab put together a video that fuses GTA V graffiti footage, music, and snippets of a documentary on graffiti — why people, especially young people, create it, and the bleaker alternatives it helps them escape from — to powerful effect.
I'll admit, I hadn't put much thought into GTA V's graffiti before now, but in this video it's hard not to look at each wall and craft a little story in your head. What kind of real-life person painted that piece? What kind of in-game character? What sort of life do they lead? Did they do it to claim something as "theirs"? Was it about making a statement to somebody or showing off? Did they have something in them they couldn't not let out? Or were they merely in it for the craft, the soul underlying the city's grime?
One thing's for sure, GTA V's graffiti is head-and-shoulders above the frankly embarrassing efforts of most other games.
GTA isn't perfect by any means, but in this respect it actually offers food for thought. And it's a line of thought that's definitely worth taking back into the real world. I love it when games can help us think more, consider our surroundings and each other, even if it's with something as simple as what's on the walls. Nothing's ever simple. Not really.