GTA III mods are a landmark in Android gaming

GTA III mods are a landmark in Android gaming

I’ve resisted the notion that the next great gaming platform was going to be our mobile devices. The all-touch interface, the constant interruption by notifications, and that pesky moment when you have to decide between the save point and actually answering the phone call just seemed to take away from the gameplay. Nevertheless, increasingly impressive games are coming out for Android and iOS every day. The two in most recent history that really stand out, in my opinion, are Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto III. Both of these games brought to life a facet of gameplay that didn’t exist on mobile devices in any recognizable way until these two games hit the market. What makes them stand out? Their ability to be modified for a different in-game experience.

I don’t think I will ever forget the first time I really experienced a fully modded game. During a particularly caffeinated run of Unreal Tournament, the flag room in the CTF match we were playing was MR. Burns’ office, from The Simpsons. Even more unnerving was that the guy who was guarding the flag had skinned his character to look like Mr. Burns, and made short work of me as I stood in shock at what I was seeing.

Game mods aren’t a new thing, and for PC gamers it’s something of a hallmark of games that have truly “made it”. When you have enough control of your game that you can affect your opponents mental state by skinning your character in bright pink armor and ride a giant Pikachu into combat, you know you’ve gone too deep. With the current generation of games, there’s somewhat less of the embarrassingly weird, but nearly all of the popular FPS games out there have mods of some sort. This exists in a significantly crippled state on consoles, but in many cases it exists nonetheless. In my mind, this will always be one of things that “makes” a gaming platform.

Minecraft: Pocket Edition and Grand Theft Auto III are the first games to come to a mobile platform that truly offer this level of modification. Minecraft, which is famous for the mods that can be used on the PC version of the game, is growing in popularity daily because of all of the crazy things you can do with it. The most common of Minecraft mods, texture packs, are already popping up on iOS and Android. Meanwhile, Grand Theft Auto III is a bullets to buildings port of the original, and manages to play very well on everything I have tried it on. Because the game is just a straight PC port, many of the original mods that were written for the game work, if you put the modified files in the right places.

gta 3 moddedRecently, several member of the XDA Developers forum have found ways to enhance graphics, apply some of your favorite mods, and even configure a PS3 Sixaxis controller to play the game with. Because the Android filesystem is a little different from a traditional PC, all you really need to do is find where the folders have been relocated to, and nearly everything that works on the PC will work on your Android device.

While this is a pretty early step compared to the wild world of game mods, the step has been taken. Much like the early days of the homebrew hacks for the Nintendo DS and the Wii, modders are going to mod if they are allowed to. Since Rockstar never had any real concerns about the PC mods, it’s not hard to imagine that this behavior will continue with GTA III. With that, it’s likely a short walk to game mods being available for download in the Android Market for your favorite games. For all we know, we could be months away from Mr. Burns surprising me for the second time in my life, on my mobile device.


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