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GTA V Might Prove We’re Living In The Matrix

An increasingly popular philosophical concept argues that human society as we know it only exists in a virtual simulation and that the world around us isn’t real.

Some prominent figures such as Elon Musk have come out as believers of this concept, which was initially coined by Nick Bostrom. Basically, the idea is that if we are capable of creating realistic or near-realistic simulations ourselves, there is an overwhelming statistical chance that we are in a simulation too.


Bostrom believes that if humans get to the stage where we can create what he calls ‘ancestor-simulations’ then there is a very high probability that we are living in a simulation ourselves.

This idea has captivated the minds of countless people across the globe, including artist and gamer Ollie Ma. The photographer has decided to “test” the theory by compiling something of a photo-essay comparing the “bleak realities” of our own world with that of Los Santos as it is depicted in GTA V.

The vibrant and lively world of GTA V has been praised ever since the game was first demoed to journalists. The NPCs live their lives, move around the city and run errands – when they’re not being molested by the player of course.


I made photographs in both Grand Theft Auto  and in the real world to show what our current simulations look like in relation to reality. A side effect of this is that when compared with a simulation, reality itself begins to look like a simulation.

In fact, the game world of GTA V continues to be active even when the player isn’t. It is a rather jarring deconstruction of the idea that the player character should be the “center of the universe” around which the game revolves.


Ollie Ma complied a mixture of real life shots with screenshots from GTA achieved with Director Mode. In some cases, the two cannot be distinguished from one another, which allegedly “proves” that our real world is in fact a simulation.

Do you think we’re living in a simulation?

GTA 5 Used For Photo Essay Of Poverty

This is hardly the first time GTA 5 has been used as a venue of artistic expression. Many creators have seen greater potential in the hyper-detailed world that Rockstar Games has crafted for their biggest and most popular video game ever. It has been used as a way of conveying ideas about identity in the modern age. It has been used to explore the fear and death that accompanies terrorism.


This game, which is characterized by a wanton disregard for life and decency, relies on crude satirical humor and has players shooting and stealing their way to success, has become a product with nigh inexhaustible artistic potential. Artists around the world saw possibilities lying under the top layers of what GTA 5 professes to be.

The most recent project which uses the virtual world of GTA 5 as its canvas is a photo essay by Irish artist Alan Butler. Alan dabbles in all kinds of artistic endeavors, such as sculpting, painting and even satirical fashion design. His works tend to err on the modern and wacky side of things – and he’s got quite the portfolio to back it all up.


The photo essay, titled Down and Out in Los Santos, is a compilation of  images shot in-game of the depictions of the poor and homeless around Los Santos and Blaine County. Many PEDs and other NPCs (say, animals) clearly convey the message that they aren’t too well off. Rockstar has populated the streets of their virtual world with drifters and homeless people to achieve a higher measure of realism.

Works like these prove once again how alive the world of GTA 5 really is. It might even feel like a bit of a gut-punch to some players that yes, the world does move on without their input. In fact, this was the topic of a video wherein a player stood absolutely still in the middle of Los Santos, while another freed the camera from the distance limit and traveled around the map seeing what the world is like without player intervention.


Alan’s work is pretty evocative of reality. He manages to capture the world of GTA 5 when it is most active – and when it is most quiet. The photo essay has images ranging from action shots to still empty of any indication of motion. Some are colorful and alive, others cold and bleak.

Down and Out in Los Santos has gotten some media coverage, and Alan Butler spoke with The Creators Project, which also published a feature on the photo essay.

I usually have to wait for the ‘right moment’ and use depth-of-field to capture something with which the viewer can empathize, I want the image to capture moments as ‘real experiences.’ I guess I don’t see it differently from street photography methodologies in reality.

Seeing these images, viewers may forget that all of it is in a video game. Graphics notwithstanding, these shots have a kind of vibrancy and life to them which isn’t something you’d expect to see in a game, let alone in GTA 5.

In some shots, Alan deviates from the homelessness theme, however all images have a kind of gloomy overtone. Some photos are of the prison, often showing the aftermath of some kind of conflict. Others depict everyday happenings, where nothing is explicitly wrong, however one cannot shake the feeling that there is something amiss.


Alan’s photos are great at achieving that effect of alluding, without outright showing or telling the viewer anything about what they’re looking at. While pictures often say a thousand words, these convey countless emotions.

Using a simulation to explore this subject removes many ethical problems that can be attached to the act of photographing poverty, but I would like this project to begin to question the ownership of being itself within proprietary corporate virtual realities.

GTA 5 has been lauded by many for its immersive and detailed game-world. Rockstar has put a lot of effort into NPC AI programming, as well as covering all the facets of everyday life to make Los Santos feel like a real city, instead of just a virtual mass of buildings with a few static human models thrown in to make it look populated.

Alan Butler has set up a Twitch channel which is dedicated to this project. While so far there have only been “test broadcasts”, he presumably will be livestreaming himself in the act of hunting down these scenes which he then captures for the photo essay.


Alan’s comments also make it clear that he has a deeper goal with this project. Going around and taking pictures of homeless and poor people isn’t exactly socially acceptable in the real world. By doing so in a virtual environment, he wishes to challenge these boundaries society has set itself.

Have you ever just wandered around in GTA 5, observing its world without playing any missions or doing concrete activities?

GTA V Bullet Art Taken To The Next Level

Ever since video games reached a level of advancement which allowed them to display accurately placed persistent bullet holes, gamers have been shooting all sorts of pictures into innocent bits of wall. Of course GTA V, what with being one of the most visually advanced games out there to date, is no exception.


Granted, this being the internet and gamers being gamers, usually bullet art does not go beyond phallic imagery or mammaries. More advanced students have also reached the level of spelling out various words of profanity ,though this is rare as proper grammar is hard to focus on if others are potentially shooting at you.

One GTA V player took things to a whole new level. Spacecook90 had a dream. A dream of a world where shot-up walls and buildings will be family friendly and where bullet holes could be appreciated by sophisticated individuals.

As we mentioned GTA V is really advanced when it comes to visuals. This is mostly apparent in the attention to detail. Different weapons leave different kinds of holes. After all, a pistol won’t do the same thing to plaster as, say, a high caliber anti-material rifle. Showing true professionalism, our artist here switched weapons while “painting” his masterpiece, like any true artist would switch brushes in Photoshop.


But what was his masterpiece, in the end? Well, ladies and gentlemen, this guy went ahead and shot the Mona Lisa into a wall in GTA V. It’s no stick-woman neither. The end result is quite recognizable actually.

He expertly chose which weapon to use for which section, giving the final result actual texture and the varying darkness, concentration and size of the holes make the face distinguishable from the mass of holes.

Have you guys even made any bullet art in GTA V beyond various human body parts?

GTA V Used By Artist For Short Film On Terrorism

Usually when GTA V is in some way linked to violent behavior, aggression, crime and yes, even terrorism, it is usually some pasty foaming-mouthed conservative who wants the game banned because “think of the children”.

In this case, it is instead the channel used by an artist to convey their pondering of the motivation, cause and rationale of terrorism. Hugo Arcier is a French artist with many talents, and it is certain that this work of his was in part catalyzed by the horrible events in Paris last November.

The video above focuses on eleven acts of violence committed in GTA V, each performed twice. The point of this is to rely on the AI and random PED placement to provide varied scenarios, in order to demonstrate the artist’s message.

As the player, you cannot control what PED is where, when, and how it will react to your actions. If you kill someone nearby, chances are that the PEDs will go running, however you cannot predict where. Will they escape, or run into the line of fire?


What Arcier wishes to convey with this GTA V film is that terrorist attacks are random, wanton acts of violence. They may be premeditated, they may be planned, but who lives and who dies is unpredictable. There is no logic in these savage, uncivilized acts, no human thought. Life and death, when terrorists are involved, are things of chance.

Arcier is a rising star in the modern alternative art scene in France, and a GTA V fan. He had a previous GTA fan video, where he glitched below the ground texture, and looked at the world from below.

What do you think of this video? Do you appreciate what it seeks to convey, or do find this sort of thing pretentious?

GTA V Fan Artists Outdo Themselves

You guys have probably gotten used to how Rockstar occasionally publishes a collection of the best recent fan art on their dedicated news platform, the Newswire. These are the cream of the crop when it comes to fan art related to GTA V and other Rockstar properties, though the posts are typically dominated by works inspired by the massive open-world crime game. Both the fan art and modding circles show just how much talent and creativity can be found in the GTA V community. It’s this kind of effort and appreciation fans put into games that elevate them into the realm of art.

The two main attractions of this most recent batch is the series of art deco posters and also professional photos showing off the game’s sweet rides. These pieces we have here are seriously wallpaper material.

This first trio is the previously mentioned art deco poster series. Would you believe that these works are his first foray into the realm of fan art? You’d think that someone with such skill would already be well established and widely known.

deco1 deco2 deco3

Next up we have a few Snapmatic shots from the game. Now, if you first thought that these are professionally shot real-life photographs, we’ll forgive you. Mikhail Sharov is a genuine photographer when he isn’t playing GTA V – or, as of late, even when he is playing GTA V – who shoots vehicles for a living. You can clearly see how his work is guaranteed to pay the bills.

photo1 photo2 photo3

The following two works are, well, as creepy as they are impressive. Why bother with masks when you can turn your face into a pig with mere make-up?

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Feeling hungry? Well, if this were Los Santos, you’d just hop in to the nearest Burger Shot and get yourself a Bleeder value meal. Well, you can have it in real life as well now, just in candy form.


Are any of you guys aspiring GTA V fan artists?

GTA Online Lowriders As Told By Snapmatic

The GTA V community has quite a few budding photographers among it, so it seems. The game caters not only to filmmakers with the versatile Rockstar Editor, a way to capture footage in game and then add effects, but also has a feature called “snapmatic“.


Snapmatic allows you to take photos and edit them in game, and was developed specifically for GTA V. As is in real photography, there is a lot more to snapping a good picture than just pushing a button. You need to take light into account, direction, background, distance, colors, perspective, and a thousand other factors when you’re looking for the perfect shot.


The GTA V photography community is a large one with plenty of talent to go around. Rockstar has noticed this as well, and frequently hosts snapmatic contests for in-game cash prizes. These will come especially handy if any up and coming photographer is looking to get their hands on a new lowrider, the prices of which are astronomical. Also, Rockstar has just put on a snapmatic contest for the current weekend event, and while these images predate said contest, they sure as heck would have had a shot at winning. Although if this is what players produce just for fun, wait till you see what they submit when motivated by a GTA $1 million prize!


As you can see, these images are of a professional quality, with expert use of lighting, direction and contrast. Some photographers take their art extremely seriously, and are ready and willing to pay in blood for the perfect shot (not their own blood, of course).


So metal.

All these beauties are showing off the goods and features of the recently released Lowriders update for GTA Online, which is possibly the biggest update yet, sans the Heists update some time ago.


Have we got any GTA 5 Cheats readers that count themeselves as budding GTA V photographers too?

GTA V Is The Newest Platform For Digital Art

Throughout the months we’ve called GTA V many things. Versatile, expansive, and visually stunning are just a few of these. We would if we said that making photos in the beautiful world of GTA V hasn’t crossed our minds, however due to a general lack of skill, our plans never reached fruition.


Fret not however, as professional photographers have you covered. One such photographer, Morten Rockford Ravn, happened to be riding his bike around town, looking for stuff to take pictures of when he noticed that his camera dropped out of his pocket somewhere along the way. Unsuccessful in his quest to retrieve the camera, Morten returned home, defeated, for a photographer without his camera is much like a de-clawed cat (they still can do stuff, they just don’t know it).

In his frustration, Morten decided to fire up GTA V on the Playstation 4 to blow off steam, but things changed when he realized that the game has a virtual photography feature in the shape of the snapmatic function.


At that moment, GTA V turned into a photographer’s playground, with the vast and varied landscape and locations, the near photo realistic visuals, the beautiful lighting effects, and the wonders of post-productions made Los Santos and Blaine County a better place for a photographer than any real-world location.

This had the artist embark on a journey through GTA V which brought him face to face with two interesting and thought provoking issues. One, less about stuff in GTA and more about GTA itself deals with the over-encumbrance of technology and the dehumanization of VR. While the other relates to the apparent and plenty of social criticism ad commentary the game, which has been a staple of the franchise since the beginning. This inspired him to create a truly unique project, Fear and Loathing in GTA, which is a visual exploration of these themes.

What do you think of this GTA inspired art project?

Calling All Artisits: Check Out This GTA V Fan Art Mag

Occasionally, a given game or franchise has the kind of pull, the kind of following, which spurs its fans to express themselves through the appreciation of said fandom. They create works of art inspired by the object of their obsession. That is how fan art is born, and is fairly common.

However, sometimes, these creative people band together with others who feel, think and act likewise, and create something truly special and unique. Rockstar sometimes publishes collections of fan art on its website and in one such post, brought attention to a work-in-progress project which planned to release a comprehensive compendium of GTA V fan art in the form of an art magazine.


Titled “What Happens In The Dark”, the art zine was in its preliminary stages at the time, but undoubtedly the publicity Rockstar’s endorsement granted them helped much in the way of getting the community’s attention. The GTA V fan community is absolutely massive, with plenty of up and coming artists in its ranks. So following Rockstar’s post, people of great artistic talent came in droves to have their work displayed in the art zine.

Well, at long last the art zine is complete, and it outperformed any and all expectations. The art found within is varied and of an astronomical standard, plus there is a lot of it. What Happens In The Dark is 74 pages long, with some double-paged pieces of art, though usually one per page.

The works encompass a number of styles, themes and tones, which make the experience of perusing the magazine a colorful one. At risk of sounding pretentious, despite being based on a video game (which in my personal opinion should not be an excluding factor, but public opinion is against me), much of this could and should be considered high art.

You can take a look at the whole art zine here.

Previously Unseen GTA V Loading Screens Surface

The release of the brand new GTA Online 1.29 patch, which contains the epic Freemode Events DLC, has left the community with more questions than answers.


Granted, the release did discount and silence the wave of rumors regarding a “lowrider” DLC preceding the official announcement of GTA Online Freemode Events. But the new update has also posed some interesting questions regarding the future of the franchise. With the game being prepared for a new wave of DLC, and the community consistently discovering things within the game’s files they probably shouldn’t, the future of the GTA franchise is mired in even more mystery than before.


The most recent find was a set of loading screens which are as of yet un-used in the game. Some of them use concept art that players have already seen, however they have never before been used for the purpose of a loading screen. On the other hand, some of these images are entirely new, and while it is entirely possible, not to mention likely, that they’re just previously un-publicized artwork, the chance of them being a hint of the future remains an exciting possibility.


The various images are all in the realistic-cartoon style characteristic of the franchise, especially GTA V. They feature several backdrops as well as character overlays, including artwork from previous DLC, as well as some new shots. A hillside mansion with two hired guards, a trucker’s depot, a heist action shot and what seems like Los Santos after an apocalyptic event (Zombie DLC, anyone?) are the backgrounds, with some familiar faces returning to adorn them.


Whether these were supposed to be introduced in GTA Online Freemode Events, or are to be used in a later DLC and have just been put into active storage is unknown, but with Rockstar teasing a new announcement soon, I doubt we will have to wait long to find out.

What kinds of new GTA updates do you think we will be seeing?

Check Out These Epic GTA Film Posters

Fandoms have a way of attracting and inspiring some of the most creative people out there to produce art themed after the subject of said fandom. GTA V is no different.

There is countless artistically capable fans out there showing their appreciation for Rockstar’s blockbuster video game through paintings, drawings, tattoos, graphics and other visual arts. A growing trend among video game fan art is the creation of minimalist stylized movie posters based on the games of the artist’s choice.  Many beautiful works of art have been born thanks to this, and it was about time that the GTA franchise got its fan-made minimalist poster treatment, brought to you by Tom Van Dijk.

Let’s look at these in release order, shall we? GTA: Vice City is the oldest installment of the series to get its new poster. It’s more or less what you’d immediately think of when hearing “GTA: Vice City minimalist poster”: palm trees, the Vice City skyline in the background, Tommy Vercetti and a whole lot of pink. The poster fits the game’s atmosphere perfectly.


Next up we have the legendary GTA: San Andreas. SA got an easter-egg filled poster, with a famous cheat code written on the side of the train, and the label for the bumper buttons on gaming controllers appear on its front. The infamous quote of the infamous mission in the game is also plastered all over the top half.


GTA IV’s poster tries to tug the heart-strings with a beautiful sunrise silhouette of Liberty City, and Niko out on the docks alone, staring at the open trunk of a car surrounded with blood stains. In the clouds above the city, the line Roman keeps repeating in the phone is written with large letters.


Finally, we top this amazing collection off with the GTA V poster, displaying the deadly trio in full heist gear.


Which poster is your favorite?