With the imminent arrival of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition (try to get by after too many Pisswassers), GTA fans are gearing up to return to the perspective of the 3D universe on Liberty. City. The fake New York Cityscape that first dazzled in 2001 is about to be tweaked and scaled ahead of its launch on current-gen hardware, and, for some gamers among us, it will mark. their first visit to the historic Grand Theft Auto 3 playground.
For GTA 3’s longtime Chain Game community, however, they never left.
“The Chain Game is what we call a community relay game,” says GTAKid, the longtime Commander-in-Chief of the Chain Game. “Basically, it’s a multiplayer version that isn’t real-time. Players take turns progressing through GTA 3 sharing a save file. We start each game with a save file that I post, anyone. Another one downloads which saves file, progresses through the game, then downloads it again for the next player. It continues like this until we reach the goal for the turn, which is usually 100% complete. in the end, our goal is 100% of the game in its entirety. “
At the time of writing, the Chain Game has completed 123 rounds, with 95.45% of GTA 3 in its entirety completed so far.
Same city, new friends
Born from longtime fan site GTAForums, the Chain Game has been up and running since 2010, with GTAKid taking the reins in 2013. Straddling Twitter, a dedicated Discord server, a Steam group page and its all-important Chain Game Lounge on GTAForums itself – the group’s de facto meeting center – the Chain Game is an open community that welcomes players from all over the world, inviting them to participate as much or as little as they want at any given time.
The rules are simple but comprehensive, to ensure fairness and maintain structure. Players can play for up to three hours at a time, for example, where they can complete a pay phone story or mission, and as many side missions as they like against the clock. During this time, they cannot be stopped, wasted, or fail at any time, lest their progress be wiped out and their turn invalidated. And, after completing their turn, they must wait until two or more consecutive turns are completed by other players before starting another turn.
Save setups like this exist in other PC communities, of course, but what makes the chain game especially interesting isn’t just the fact that GTA 3 itself is 20 years old with a player base. always active, but also the variety of missions it offers. The 100% crime simulation story is one thing, but working as a tireless taxi driver, putting out house fires, or delivering injured civilians to the emergency room for three straight hours seems quite laborious.
“It can be, yeah,” admits GTAKid, “but it’s part of the deal when you go after that coveted 100%. Look, you can skip some days and have the worst luck, I mean, really, an absolute. nightmare! And I did it myself – you see the time go by and you say to yourself: I have to do something here! Everything is happening in isolation too, so you post the round to the community, you have spent two hours doing the simplest thing because everything went so badly, and you’d expect a few raised eyebrows. ”
“But at the same time it can be a lot of fun, and there is definitely a bit of friendly rivalry between the players. A while ago I took a ride with another member of the community, we did 600 cab rides each and we were constantly trying to improve each one It was like a rap battle. The requirement for this tour was 100 cab rides, but in the end we submitted over 1,300 among ourselves, it was crazy!
Over 100 contributors have brought their GTA 3 expertise to the Chain Game since its inception, and this sense of community is one of the main reasons GTAKid returns to Liberty City time and time again. Another prolific Chain Game contributor who thinks the same is Wes Hampson, who also believes the grip has let down modern GTA games, and the expert balance between idiosyncrasy and anonymity found in Liberty City’s GTA 3 is what makes the game so appealing 20 years later.
“Simply put: GTA 3 is a tough game,” Hampson says. “It’s a game that doesn’t have ropes to guide you. You are given an abstract goal, you have to achieve that goal, and there are often many ways to do it. We sometimes broadcast the Chain Game live. , and it’s fun to see what other players are doing and the choices they are making in the moment. In turn, the open character of the game is what makes it perfect for something like the Chain Game, where you can go in and out, slowly working your way towards that 100% goal. ”
“There’s not a lot of dialogue, players have loose goals and then have to sort things out on their own, and the city is perfect for that. Vice City, for example, has a lot of sparkle, but GTA 3 has a city that maybe lacks identity. You can almost attribute your own thoughts and ideas to what might be going through the protagonist’s head. In GTA 5, like a lot of modern games, I feel like that the developers are trying to tell you how to feel in some It doesn’t happen in GTA 3, which is why I keep coming back for more action. “
Now in its 124th round, the best example of players being called back to action came when the Chain Game hit a century of set pieces. To mark the occasion, modified Easter Egg Hunts – where players were sent around Liberty City in search of special vehicles – ran alongside the regular base game fare, and inactive players returned for celebrate the 100 laps mark for the greatest pleasure of the greatest number. community.
“The 100th lap was amazing for us,” adds GTAKid. “It was a special round that we did, three years ago now in 2018. It was the most played round we have ever done, and we had players from all periods of the game – some of them hadn’t taken a turn in six years, but I wanted to join us in celebrating the century. We had several special features for this game, and it was great to have community members, past and present, helping us out. shaping some of the games, meeting new and familiar faces, and it was just nice to see people jump on it, take a turn, and then pass it on. “
Hampson continues, “That’s the thing: we kind of turned it into a multiplayer game, which is pretty cool. I remember growing up when I was playing GTA with my friends, we always took turns. and passed the pad. We would play until I died, and until another one of us died, and then another one of us died, you know , and we’d just have this cycle. “
“With the Chain Game, it’s kind of the same but in a different way. It’s one person playing both. But it’s multiplayer in the sense that you can watch if you’re streaming live, or you can take turns playing the game which is pretty cool. It’s a remote way to do it, you know, especially in these times of a pandemic – that sense of community and collaboration has been vital lately. . “
The arrival of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition marks a new dawn for Grand Theft Auto 3 and its older siblings from the main series, GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas. For many of us, these games are steeped in nostalgia. And, while this is also true of the Chain Game community, a collective that has steadily cut back on the 2001 crime simulation for over 10 years, the fact that they still play on a weekly and monthly basis means they watch GTA 3 with a degree of familiarity that other players don’t have.
If you feel like helping them down their home stretch, you should. But even when they hit the elusive 100% mark, there’s a good chance they’ll find another way to extend their stay in Liberty, the city they love so much. GTAKid, for its part, certainly thinks so.
“I really like it, I love the community and I love doing what I do. It really takes time, ”he says. “It’s been a tough few years, and trying to keep the community going and keep that positive spirit and keep going can certainly be tough, but we’re getting there. I have a few people helping me, and the community is so lovely. They don’t mind if I have an off-tour or don’t have any data lists right away. It’s this medium that gets you through that, and with that, we’re happy to continue for many years. “
“Even today, I spoke to someone from Romania. And I have a very good friend who helps me work on the Chain Game, he lives in the United States in Seattle. We have people who play from all over the world, and not necessarily people you would meet in real life. The Chain Game and GTA in general bring us together, and although there are and always have been a lot of negative headlines on the series, these don’t really focus on what these games do so well – and that brings us all together. “
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