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“The Game of Life” – Related Text – “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” – Rockstar Games.

Title: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Rockstar Games - Video Game (2004).

Teacher’s Guide Grand Theft Auto
Teacher’s Guide
Grand Theft Auto
- Video Game (2004). Teacher’s Guide Grand Theft Auto Five years ago Carl Johnson escaped from

Five years ago Carl Johnson escaped from the pressures of life in Los Santos,

San Andreas

with gang trouble, drugs and corruption. Where filmstars and millionaires do their best to avoid the dealers and gangbangers.

a city tearing itself apart

Now, it's the early 90's. Carl's got to go home. His mother has been murdered, his family has fallen apart and his childhood friends are all heading towards disaster.

On his return to the neighbourhood, a couple of corrupt cops frame him for homicide. CJ is forced on a journey that takes him across the entire state of San Andreas, to save his family and to take control of the streets.

to save his family and to take control of the streets. Rockstar Games:

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas:


Definition of Ethnicity:

Definition of Violence:

the state of belonging to a social group that has a common national / cultural tradition.

behaviour involving physical force.

Definition of Game Play: the features of a video game, such as narrative, graphic, sound effects, colours etc.

Definition of Multi-Modal text: combination of two or more semiotic systems, e.g. text and pictures.

Define semiotics:

signs and symbols and the study of their interpretations.

Area of Study: Standard and Advanced Outcomes:

3. A student develops language relevant to the study of English.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

“The Game of Life” – Related Text – “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” – Rockstar Games.

Watch the trailer, view the game slides and familiarise yourself with the narrative for “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” and answer the following questions in your workbooks. Material available:

1. The opening line states, “Oh Sh**, here we go again!” What does this tell us about this game? What inference can be drawn to life being a game?

It tells us that this game has been played before on another stage. We are about to participate in a familiar game, that weve played before, perhaps, this time with new players, scenes or action sequences.

Life has a repetitive nature where we must master each levelbefore we can move onto the next.

That one must prepare for lifes events we must mentally prepare for major moments in our lives.

2. What do we learn about life in San Andrea from this trailer?

San Andreas is a tough community.

Life on the streets is hard crime, graffiti, drive-by shootings etc.

Parallels to Los Angeles and Hollywood.

Economic divide between the hard streets, the private jets and the casinos.

3. What clues are we given to how Carl lives his life?

He is arrested at the beginning.

We see him putting graffiti on a wall.

He is seen running from the scene of a crime.

He is clearly a key criminal figure in San Andreas.

4. Why did Carl start working as a car thief?

To put his gang back together

5. What single incident could have led to a different outcome for CJ’s life?

The death of his mother.

6. San Andreas is a fictional city based on Los Angeles / Hollywood. Why would Rockstar Games have chosen

this location to base their fictional city?

It is a familiar location that has a long history of gangs and crime.

It is where Hollywood stars live and where people go to become famous.

It is notorious for Police brutality and racial tension.

7. In what ways is CJ a customisable protagonist?

You can change his clothes, his diet / weight, hairstyle.

8. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has been heavily criticized for its portrayal of women. How are women represented in San Andreas? What conclusion can you draw upon life’s chances for these women?

Women are all objectified as sex objects. They are scantily dressed, usually in bikinis.

They are presented as trophies to be won by gang members.

These women have little chance of being successful in this male dominated crime-world they are subservient to men and are included in the game only as prizes to be won.

9. How does the overuse of violence play into the sense that life is a game?

The graphic violence, and the ease with which characters attack one another, plays into the idea that other peoples lives are challenges to overcome.

By shooting or beating someone up you win.

It suggests there are winners and losers in all situations.

It overplays the notion that winners are bold, brave and physically aggressive. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

“The Game of Life” – Related Text – “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” – Rockstar Games.

10. Can you ‘break the rules’ in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas?

There are no strict rules you can do as you please.

There are consequences for not participatingin the challenges. The game does not progress if you dont achieve all of the minor milestones but, you can keep free-playing.

11. How does Grand Theft Auto’s open-ended play-space reflect life?

You have choices you can choose to participate or not.

Participation in the challenges leads to greater reward / success.

Both are funto do its fun to goof off and not participate, but it can also be fun to achieve.

12. How are the gangs recognisable in San Andreas? What games (other than video games) use similar distinguishing markings?

Tattoos, marking, piercings, uniforms.

Sports teams uniforms, hats, colours.

13. Academics posit that due to the open-ended play-space and loose narrative, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas allows for multiple meanings to be made. How is your life an open-ended play-space?

Freedom of choice to participate, not participate.

There are challenges to be met along the way which you can complete as you please.

What dont really know how our lives will turn out there are no definitive answers.

14. In what ways does your life follow a ‘narrative’?

Lifetime narrative: Birth, childcare, preschool, kindergarten, primary school, high school, university, marriage etc.

Daily narrative: wake up, face the days challenges, return home, sleep.

15. Make a list of all the ethnicities that are poorly represented in this video game?


African Americans



16. What effect is created by using a 3 rd person perspective?

It shows that the player is in control.

It merges the player with the character on the screen they become one.

Allows for greater control players can see the whole body allowing them to jump, swim, run etc as required.

17. Explain how the player is positioned and what impact this has on CJ’s rise to wealth and power.

He is positioned in the centre of the screen, clearly as the protagonist.

The player is always controlling CJ from behind to suggest that we are pushing him along the player is the supportive hand in his back.

18. Outline how the use of famous voice actors, such as Samuel L. Jackson and Ice-T, influence the players of the game.

Lends credibility to the unseemly characters.

Makes it seem more like an action movie.

Appears more like real life.

19. What are the developers hoping to achieve by making CJ a fully customisable protagonist?

Interactive playing environment.

Immersive gaming experience where the player becomes the character.

Give players choice and freedom.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

“The Game of Life” – Related Text – “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” – Rockstar Games.

20. “Not everyone plays the game of life by the same rules” Discuss in relation to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Your response must include particular reference to Carl Johnson as a character and the Grand Theft Auto as a video game.

Area of Study: Standard and Advanced Outcomes:

4. A student identifies and describes language forms and features and structures of particular texts that shape meaning

and influence responses.

5. A student describes the ways different technologies and media of production affect the language and structure of

particular texts.

6. A student engages with a wide range of texts to develop a considered and informed personal response.

7. A student selects appropriate language forms and features, and structures of texts to explore and express ideas and


Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

“The Game of Life” – Related Text – “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” – Rockstar Games.

Complete a character flow chart that shows the relationships between all characters. Be sure to include the relationships between different family members and their gangs.




Carl Johnson



Sean Johnson


Carl’s Brother

Kendl Johnson


Carl’s Sister

Brian Johnson


Carl’s Brother (Deceased)


Big Smoke

Member of Grove Street Family



Member of Gove Street Family

Cesar Vialpando


Leader of Varrios Los Aztecos



Cesar’s Cousin


The Truth

A Hippy



Leader of Triads

Frank Tenpenny


Senior Police Officer

Eddie Pulaski


Police Officer

Jimmy Hernandez


Police Officer

Officer Pendlebury


Police Officer (Deceased)

Salvator Leone


Mob Boss


Madd Dog

Disgraced Rapper

Mike Toreno


Leader of Loco Syndicate


Jizzy B

Senior member of Loco Syndicate


T-Bone Mendez

Senior member of Loco Syndicate


Ballas (Rival Gang)


Vagos (Rival Gang)

Area of Study: Standard and Advanced Outcomes:

6. A student engages with a wide range of texts to develop a considered and informed personal response.

Area of Study: Fundamentals of English

8. A student uses a range of appropriate processes and technologies to investigate, organise and clarify ideas.

10. A student understands and uses various and appropriate strategies and styles of learning.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

“The Game of Life” – Related Text – “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” – Rockstar Games.

Grand Theft Auto: You

Your Life as a Video Game

You are the main character in Rockstar Games next edition of Grand Theft Auto. You must produce a story outline for your life as a video game (imagined or real). It should include details of key characters, their relationships and the player experience. It must follow a narrative structure, and outline details of game play.

In addition to your 800 word game narrative, you must provide some additional material to highlight your video game. This may include, but is not limited to:

game screen shots

game poster

character profiles / pictures

game narration


sample animations

Will you be the next star?

Area of Study: Fundamental English Outcomes:

5. A student communicates ideas effectively using appropriate language forms, features and structures.

6. A student responds to and composes texts for a range of purposes and audiences, in various forms, modes and


8. A student uses a range of appropriate processes and technologies to investigate, organise and clarify ideas.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

“The Game of Life” – Related Text – “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” – Rockstar Games.


In 1992, Carl "CJ" Johnson returns to Los Santos after spending five years living in Liberty City when his brother Sean "Sweet" Johnson calls to inform him of their mother's murder. Shortly after leaving the airport, CJ is intercepted by a group of corrupt LSPD C.R.A.S.H. officers led by Frank Tenpenny, and consisting of three officers, Eddie Pulaski, Jimmy Hernandez, and Tenpenny himself, with whom CJ has a history. Tenpenny implicates CJ in the murder of a police officer, Officer Pendlebury, that Tenpenny himself committed, as he was on the verge of exposing him to Internal Affairs, and threatens to frame him for it if he does not co-operate with them.

CJ returns to his former home on Grove Street and reunites with his brother Sweet, his sister Kendl, and members of his old gang, Big Smoke and Ryder. Finding that the Grove Street Families (GSF) have lost much of their territory while he was gone, CJ decides to stay in town. Working with the others to re-establish the GSF, CJ gradually restores the gang to power, by helping to reunite the various Grove Street sets who had previously splintered, allying himself with Kendl's boyfriend, Cesar Vialpando, leader of the Varrios Los Aztecas, and together they drive off the rival Ballas and Vagos gangs, reducing the amount of drugs on the streets. In doing so, CJ regains the respect of Sweet, who was disappointed that he had left Grove Street after the death of their brother, Brian. While en route to join Sweet for a showdown against the Ballas, CJ is called by Cesar, who tells him to meet with him outside a garage where they witness Smoke and Ryder meeting with Tenpenny and a group of Ballas, learning that they had been working with Tenpenny all along, and were responsible for his mother's murder, explaining their suspicious behaviour. Suspecting a set-up, CJ rushes to Sweet's aid, who was wounded in the ambush, and fights off the Ballas, but the police arrive shortly afterward. Sweet is thrown in jail while Tenpenny takes CJ into the countryside and dumps him there. With the GSF in shambles, Smoke and Ryder, now openly allied with the Ballas, take over Los Santos and flood the streets with drugs.

Exiled in the countryside, CJ is forced to carry out favours for C.R.A.S.H, particularly by killing people with incriminating evidence against Tenpenny, under threat of his imprisoned brother being transferred to the cell block where Ballas affiliates are housed. He also works with Cesar's cousin Catalina to make money by carrying out several heists in the area. He also befriends a hippie called The Truth and a blind Triad leader named Woozie. After winning the deed to a garage in San Fierro in a race against Catalina andher new boyfriend, CJ goes there with The Truth, Cesar and Kendl to get it up and running so they can make a living. While in San Fierro, CJ crosses paths with the Loco Syndicate, Smoke and Ryder's drug connection. CJ infiltrates the organization and identifies its leader, the mysterious Mike Toreno. Along with Cesar and the Triad, CJ kills Ryder and the other Loco Syndicate leaders, Jizzy B and T-Bone Mendez, and shoots down Toreno's helicopter.

Despite Toreno's apparent death, CJ is soon contacted by him in the desert. Toreno reveals that he is actually a government agent and enlists CJ's help in several shady operations in exchange for Sweet's freedom. Meanwhile, CJ travels to Las Venturas, where Woozie invites him to become a partner in the Four Dragons Casino, where the organisation is facing problems from the mob families that control the city. Seeking to wrest control of Venturas from them, CJ helps Woozie plot a robbery of the mob's casino and gains the mob's trust through various jobs for mob boss, Salvatore Leone. Eventually the heist is carried out successfully, earning the Triad a place of power in Las Venturas, although causing the mob to distrust CJ. CJ also encounters disgraced rapper Madd Dogg, from whom he stole a rhyme book to help new rapper OG Loc become a name in the

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

“The Game of Life” – Related Text – “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” – Rockstar Games.

business. After rescuing Madd Dogg from a suicide attempt, he asks CJ to be his manager once he returns from rehab.

Tenpenny, fearing his arrest is inevitable, tasks his partner Pulaski with killing CJ and disposing of the body of Hernandez, whom Tenpenny found out was informing on them to Internal Affairs. While CJ is digging a grave for both Hernandez and himself, Hernandez, still alive but wounded after being hit in the back of the head with a shovel by Tenpenny several times, manages to attack Pulaski, leading to him being consequently killed. Pulaski then flees, but CJ pursues and kills him.

Madd Dogg returns from rehab, prompting CJ to return to Los Santos to get his music career started again. Toreno contacts CJ for one last favor, destroying some spy ships in the area, and finally has Sweet released from prison. Now rich and successful, CJ attempts to cut Sweet in on his businesses, but Sweet becomes angry that he ran away and let their home be taken over by drug dealers to make his fortune. While CJ helps Sweet once again drive off the rival gangs, Tenpenny is arrested and tried for several felonies that he has been charged with, but the charges are surprisingly dropped due to lack of evidence, prompting a city-wide riot. CJ helps Caesar regain control over the barrio and also regain territory for his gang, so as to have enough power to obtain knowledge of Smoke's whereabouts.

Sweet soon learns that Smoke is holed up in a fortified crack den in the city, and seeking to stop the flow of drugs on the street, he and CJ go there to confront him. CJ enters the building alone, fighting his way to the top floor and confronting Smoke. CJ attempts to reason with Smoke when the latter admits that he's made a success and cannot be touched, but Smoke refuses and instead engages CJ in a gunfight battle. CJ eventually wins and Smoke confesses that he got caught up with the power and money in order to see his opportunity, with his dying breath "When I'm gone, everyone gonna remember my name, Big Smoke!", Smoke dies of his wounds and CJ replies "What a waste". Just then, Tenpenny appears, holds CJ at gunpoint and steals Smoke's drug money, intending to use it to leave the city before the rioters kill him. Tenpenny then prepares to kill CJ, but CJ yells Sweet's name, tricking Tenpenny into thinking Sweet is behind him. Having fallen for CJ's trick and missing his chance to shoot CJ, who has taken cover from Tenpenny's gunshots, Tenpenny quickly rushes out of the building and CJ and Sweet pursue him as he flees in a fire truck. While CJ and Sweet are in pursuit, Tenpenny eventually loses control of the truck, driving off the bridge over the Grove Street cul-de-sac and crashing at the entrance to it. CJ and his friends watch as Tenpenny crawls from the wreckage and dies of his injuries.

In the aftermath, CJ's family and friends arrive at the Johnson house for a meeting. Cesar proposes to Kendl and Madd Dogg announces his first gold record. As his friends and allies celebrate their success, CJ turns to leave. When Kendl asks where he's going, he replies, "Fittin' to hit the block, see what's happening."

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas