Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is officially two decades old, which is just about the most horrifying thing a person rapidly approaching theirs 30s can possibly realise.
GTA: Vice City was one of the most formative video game experiences of my young life – but not just because of the hours I spent huddled in front of the TV in my best friend’s room as we sprinted around the city punching people in the back of the head and howling with laughter (violence against innocent people is only funny in video games, kids).
No, Vice City has continued to loom large throughout my life for the same reason as games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 and Guitar Hero III: it introduced me to some fantastic music.
TheVice City soundtrack goes hard. Harder than it needs to arguably, but I respect the hell out of Rockstar for the effort. It is, in my humble opinion, one of the greatest collections of songs in any video game I’ve played. Even if you don’t love every single song in Vice City, you can’t say that Rockstar didn’t manage to expertly curate a whole-ass vibe.
More modern releases GTA V and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 – Remastered can easily offer up a selection of hundreds. And if you somehow don’t like what’s being given to you, you can mute that shit and get Spotify on (or Apple Music, in the interests of balance).
Back in 2002 we didn’t have that luxury. We had a tight, beautifully put together playlist of tracks and artists that managed to perfectly encapsulate 1980s America. I don’t think it’s going too far to suggest that Vice City opened up an entire generation to a decade of music in a way I don’t think any other game or TV show ever could have. Okay, that generation definitely shouldn’t have been playing the game, but what’s done is done.