GTA3: Still Getting Started

I still haven’t got the right joystick to work correctly with GTA3, and I’m on the verge of giving up. There’s a part of the registry under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\MediaProperties\PrivateProperties\Joystick\ that clearly corresponds to my gamepad. Indeed, I can disable rumble effects by deleting certain keys under it, so it’s not like I’ve been completely unable to affect the way the joystick operates. According to various websites, including Microsoft’s joystick driver specs, I should be able to remap the axes by altering the “Attributes” value of the various sub-keys under “Axes”. Nothing I have done affects the axes at all in any way other than miscalibrating them. Like I say, I’ve almost given up, but I’d really like to get this working right, not just for GTA3, but for all the other games in the stack that don’t have in-game axis reconfiguration.

Anyway, in the process of testing my alterations in GTA3, I’ve noodled around in cars a bit. I’m beginning to see why this game was so popular. This is a very different game from the first two. The switch from top-down fixed camera angle to a more street-level view has a greater effect on the experience than I thought it would, mainly that it gives a better sense of motion, that you’re careening along the street and onto the crowded sidewalk and so forth. It also has a different feel from its imitators, such as Jak 2, which tend to be set in more fantastical environments. Liberty City is based on New York City. I live in New York City. The sites in this game — the decaying tenements, the tiny fenced-in parks, the storefronts jammed into grey concrete — are familiar to me, and modelled well enough to really evoke the real thing. I can’t explain why it’s enjoyable to play with an imitation of someting that I could see just by walking around outside, but it is.

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