Driving the streets of San Andreas in Grand Theft Auto Online is typically done at 140 mph, overtaking flying motorcycles and listening to sweet tunes on the radio. But on a GTA Online RPG server, life is much quieter. People (for the most part) obey the rules of the road and stop to smell the roses. They even organize parades. On the New Day RPG server, the GTA community even came together for an in-game Pride event.
“Myself as a player, I am a young LGBT man who is not as lucky as the others,” Peacheslatoure, the parade’s organizer, told ServerPlay on Discord. “I use role play as an outlet to express who I wish I could be to the audience.”
On the New Day server, Peacheslatoure stars as Jeb Miller, who grew up surfing a couch and jumping in trailers at Sandy Shores. “A lot of LGBT youth dream of moving to big cities and being accepted for who they are,” he said. “I wanted my character to represent the dreams of LGBT youth and I wanted to raise awareness, especially during the special month of June.”
Peacheslatoure, through her character as Jeb Miller, is part of the vibrant New Day community celebrating pride with dances, beach parties and the final parade. The server’s public works division even came to set up an official route through town, and the in-game Twitter app lit up with messages of support.
“Some people don’t get the chance to attend a parade or a real-life celebration, and I wanted to provide a way for them to celebrate from the comfort of their seats,” says Peacheslatoure.
As the organizer, Jeb stood on the front float and watched the massive parade take place through the streets. A DJ maintained sick royalty-free jams, and no one attacked or otherwise hindered the parade. It was a purely conflict-free event, fueled by actors coming together to collaborate to mimic a real-world experience. This is something that is only possible in organized cultures of RP servers, and a far cry from the standard experience in one of Rockstar Games’ online open worlds.
While many of the players on these servers take on the roles of cops and criminals, the spaces surrounding this core conflict are alive with subcultures and communities. People play artists, activists and even more mundane civilian roles.
The bonds they develop go beyond the dramatic plots and wild twists and turns of Grand Theft Auto 5 or GTA Online. “Through role play, I found a family that accepts me for who I am and supports me in my creative endeavors,” said Peacheslatoure.