The Grand Theft Auto video game series began in 1997 with the first game (Grand Theft Auto) being released for the PlayStation and PC. All the games were created and published by Rockstar Games and Rockstar North (formerly DMA Design). The Grand Theft Auto game series has continued since the first in 1997, and has been one of the most successful and controversial games of all time.
Grand Theft Auto
Released in 1997 for the Sony PlayStation and PC. It featured the original birds-eye view and was set in the fictional cities of Liberty City, San Andreas, and Vice City, all of which appeared in later games, although very different.
Grand Theft Auto II
Released in 1999, again for the PlayStation and PC. Like the previous game, GTA2 features a birds-eye view, albeit with much improved graphics. The protagonist, Claude Speed, shares traits with Claude, the protagonist in GTA III, but it is believed the two are not the same person. Set in three districts (as the 3 levels) in the fictional Anywhere City. The game has been confirmed to be set in 2013 by Rockstar.
Grand Theft Auto III
Released in 2001, the game featured open-style sandbox play for the first time with a third person camera view rather than the original top-down style. Set in the fictional Liberty City, based loosely on New York City, the anonymous protagonist (known only as Claude) controlled by the player was a mute, which was refreshing. The storyline primarily involved revenge.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Released in 2002 and set in 1986 in the fictional Vice City, based loosely on Miami, Florida. The protagonist was a man named Tommy Vercetti, who WASN'T silent. The storyline focused on climbing the high and mighty cocaine ladder of Vice City, which can be seen as drawing influence from the film Scarface.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Released in 2004 and set in the summer of 1992, the main protagonist was African-American Carl Johnson and the storyline involved California style gang warfare. The game is set in the fictional state of San Andreas, making it the first game in the series to cover a whole state rather than a city, although the state was split into 3 islands as both GTA:III and GTA:Vice had been. The cities featured were Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Venturas, which were loosely based on the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas respectively. It draws influence from Menace II Society.
Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories
Two games Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories were released in 2005 and 2006 respectively. The games were both set a few years before the older games they were based on. Both games primary protagonists were characters who had featured in Grand Theft Auto III and Vice City.
Grand Theft Auto IV
Released in 2008, and set in a newly redesigned Liberty City strongly resembling New York City, the new Grand Theft Auto game is set in a different metaphorical universe from the others, so it features no crossovers with characters from the previous games.
Grand Theft Auto is no stranger to controversy, given the nature of the game which involves violence, murder, robbery, extortion, eating, changing what clothes you wear, and sex. However, maybe people should take responsibility for what their darling children are watching, rather than blaming the game itself.