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5 reasons why radio stations are one of the important aspects of the GTA games

Image via Rockstar Games
Image via Rockstar Games
Rahul Bhushan

The way the GTA franchise has adopted the use of radio stations is absolutely genius since it works on several different levels. While one would immediately appreciate the presence of an eclectic soundtrack on face value, the radio stations in GTA games go far beyond the surface level.

They act as an essential component that helps players have a tactile connection with each of the games. Each game has always had a distinct approach to music curation and the development of each radio station.

Here, we take a look at why radio stations are incredibly important to the GTA franchise.

Note: This article is subjective and solely reflects the opinion of the writer.


Why radio stations are one of the important aspects of the GTA games

#1 - Worldbuilding

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Radio stations in GTA games aren't just a great way to add original songs to the game and provide it with a great soundtrack. But it allows for Rockstar to introduce and bring in players to an authentic game world that is multidimensional and exists outside of the player's perception.

Radio commercials will detail products in the game world and reflect the political situation of the country at the time. GTA also has a knack for satirizing modern-day media with extreme political leanings and often pokes fun at both sides of the aisle in equal measure.

On top of that, radio hosts will often speak about the news and cover stories about recent crimes. All of this helps players immerse themselves in the game world and feel a tactile connection with it.

#2 - Time capsule

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Because Rockstar doesn't typically go back and add new songs to previous GTA games (except for GTA Online), they make for excellent time capsules. Radio stations essentially play the biggest hits and popular songs of the period they are released in, which, in turn, captures the essence of the time.

While playing older GTA games, players are often reminded of the kind of music that used to be all the rage all the way back during the game's release. This serves as a great way to preserve music. For instance, Vice City is still looked at as one of the best 80s compilation soundtracks present today.

#3 - Nostalgic value

Quite often, while going about their day, fans might hear a song that they remember from their time in a certain GTA game. Instantly, it evokes a certain sense of nostalgia and often encourages players to pick up the game again just to experience the soundtrack.

People often associate memories and events of the game with the soundtrack on the radio stations of the game. For instance, players surely remember driving down Ocean View either listening to Danzig or Michael Jackson or any of the great acts present in the game's radio stations.

The nostalgic value of music cannot be overstated, and Rockstar knows exactly how to hit it right on the mark.

#4 - Music discovery

Rockstar's selection of music is absolutely eclectic. From dancey, spacey synth-pop to the most obscure world music, the GTA soundtrack casts a wide net. Due to this, players can often discover new genres of music or be introduced to classics of genres they already love.

While Rockstar doesn't shy away from the commercial pop scene, as it has plenty of mainstream radio stations, it also has a good variety of deeper cuts. GTA's radio stations are always a good bet for players to discover new kinds of music since Rockstar Games' curation skills are second to none.

#5 - Grounds the game in reality

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Ever since GTA III first introduced radio stations, every open-world game has been trying to do the same to varying degrees of success. It simply isn't enough to have an eclectic soundtrack. Rockstar's radio stations are backed by quality writing for the hosts as well as defined tastes for each station.

Essentially, radio stations help ground each game in reality, as radio is often an essential part of daily travel. The presence of radio stations adds to the feeling that the game world exists outside of the player's perception and independent of the player's existence.


Edited by Shaheen Banu

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