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Survey: What music do you listen to while playing Grand Theft Auto?

When you’re driving around in Grand Theft Auto, what sort of music do you listen to? As most fans of GTA know, one of the most fabulous parts of the game is the extensive music collection available on the in-game radio. Indeed, it’s the pioneering bit of design that made the original GTA 3 seem like such an “adult” game, appealing to the streetsmart youth market. (The voice-acting cameos by 70s celebs like Debbie Harry and Lee Majors didn’t hurt either.) There were times when I was so engrossed in what was playing on the radio that I spaced out and accidentally drove past the site of an intended drive-by shooting. Heh: Now that’s immersion.

So Kiri Miller, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Alberta, has decided to find out precisely what people’s listening habits are like inside the game. She’s put “Jacking the Dial: A Grand Theft Auto Radio Survey” online, and you can participate by filling it out here. Sample questions include:

Do you usually listen to the radio when driving in real life? What genres?

How is listening to the radio in GTA different from listening to real-life radio, in terms of your attention to/reaction to the content and how frequently you change stations?

Do you think music has any effect on how you relate to your character or other characters in the game?

Does GTA’s music accurately represent the game’s time/place setting? Did you listen to any of this music when it was new?

I’ll be intrigued to see her results!

(Thanks to Kiri for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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