Although at first glance Grand Theft Auto’s Liberty City seems like a hostile and dangerous place. If you look carefully it quickly becomes apparent that not only is it one of the finest virtual places to live on offer, but it’s also far better than anything we’ve got in the real world.One of the very first missions you’re tasked with in game is visiting your cousin Roman. When I replayed the game a few weeks ago I decided to try and not commit any crimes, so for this mission I decided to walk to Roman’s taxi ranch. While doing so, Niko, out of nowhere might I add, was hit by a taxi, driven by what I assume was one of Roman’s more homocidal competitors.
As is the custom of GTA, Niko’s broken and bloody corpse was taken to a hospital to be patched up, which is when it hit me. Niko was charged 15 dollars for his hospital visit, he had only a hundred dollars in his pocket. At this point in the game he was a fresh off the boat illegal immigrant, he spoke shitty English, had no paper work, no mobile phone and no guns or connections to organised crime. Yet, he was given an apparently fucking amazing level of healthcare for 15 dollars, I say amazing because damn, that taxi hit him hard.
That’s when I realised, the hospital didn’t charge him 15 dollars, they charged him only what he could afford. Later in the game when Niko had hundreds of thousands of dollars in his pocket, those hospital bills shot up to several thousand dollars. Effectively the hospitald in Liberty City operate on a perfect system, if you’re rich, you pay more because fuck you you’re rich, if you have nothing, you’re not charged a penny but still given exactly the same level of care. There are people in American arguing about providing free healthcare right fucking now and Liberty City has no qualms about providing everyone, up to and including illegal immigrent with the best care possible, because they got hit by a car in their city and someone needs to step up.
There will be people reading this thinking, “yeah, Liberty City is fictional, it’s not like they have taxes or anything to worry about.” But they do, in game there are actually news updates about the problems the city is actually suffering from, healthcare isn’t on that list, they just do that shit and don’t complain. The city is suffering from terrorism scares and has crime, just like any other city, the only difference is if you get shot in Liberty City, you’ll be patched right up and sent on your way and you’ll only be charged if you can afford it.
Of course the crime in Liberty City seems like a turn off, but do you know what the average response time for a crime is in Liberty City? 10 fucking seconds. If in game you call 911, for anything, fire, ambulance or police, the appropriate vehicle will be at your location in seconds. But the point it, there’s almost no fucking street crime in Liberty City. Organised crime has a stranglehold on virtually all of Liberty City, but here’s the thing, organised crime is better than regular crime. Organized crime only cares about profit, as a result you get less street crime, because no criminal wants to mug someone who could turn out to be a mafia bosses nephew. What would you honestly rather have exactly one Eastern European guy who might steal your car while going to go shoot other criminals, or fifty muggers who want to shoot you, and only you, in the face?
Sure Liberty City has its problems, every city does, but you have to admit that it’s kind of scary that it’s more progressive and safer than the real world New York.