When Grand Theft Auto hit the Playstation, I was about 14. At that time I had a Playstation, but I didn't have enough money, or the ability, to purchase many games for the console. At that age the rumors of such a game were hanging heavily in the air around school, and just in general.
I believe my first introduction to the game was at a friend's house, where I would often spend weekends at a time going on benders of soda fueled video game bingeing. I remember walking through the door and hearing "Hey, check THIS out!". When I looked at the screen I remember my first reactions were mixed as to how lame the 2D graphics were, as I was more familiar with the full-on 3D things the Playstation seemed to be geared more toward doing, at the time. But after sitting down and watching someone play the game for about 30 minutes I realized this game wasn't your average video game; this video game was going to push a lot of buttons and become a classic.
It wasn't until the Playstation was actually dying out, and I was 18, that I acquired my own copy of Grand Theft Auto and Grand Theft Auto 2. Playstation games were becoming so cheap that I decided it was finally time for me to buy whatever games I had always wanted but never purchased. Sure, they're the Greatest Hits versions, but they're the exact same thing! I never really cared much about the whole Greatest Hits versus original black label anyway, like I said, the games are the exact same.
Countless hours, days, and possibly weeks were spent driving around and testing out all the different cars in all the different cities, selling them for more money, obtaining more weapons, using cheat codes to obtain the tank and just generally causing as much mayhem as I possibly could. To this day I've never actually taken the time to play through all of the missions, but I have played through quite a few missions. The strange thing being that when I finally decided to play GTA 2, I purposely tried to play it as a game, instead of playing it as a free-for-all mayhem simulator.
It wasn't until even later that I bought a collector's edition of Grand Theft Auto, allowing me to finally play the London, 1969 expansion pack. I hate to say that by this time I had moved into the 3D games and had become less and less impressed with the original games, but it's true. I haven't played any of the original 2D GTA games in a handful of years, simply because I don't find them as appealing as I once did. The 3D worlds offer far more variety on how to create mayhem, rendering the original games to being merely shelf decorations.
Regardless of my lack of desire to play them today, they still hold a treasured place within my past. I still recall many nights whizzing pass as I sat in bed playing GTA. Hours of my life just draining away as I tossed molotovs in GTA 2. Hours, days and weeks I'll never get back, but I don't want back, simply because GTA made them so much fun to waste.