After playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Saint’s Row, as well as a discussion about gangs earlier today, I realized fictional video game gangs follow a certain formula. With the following information, you too can have your own posse. These rules only apply to “protagonist” gangs, antagonist gangs follow a different set of rules that can vary wildly. Gangs allied with the protagonist gang or character need not adhere to these rules, but generally do as a rule of thumb. To create a fictional gang, one needs three things; location, nickname and a common identity.
The most important part of your fictional gang…is the name. There are two parts to the name; the location and the nickname. The location is the gang’s home turf. The location also reflects the gang’s sphere of influence. Obviously, street names are quite popular for gangs (ex. Grove Street Families, 3rd Street Saints). Alternatively, prospective gang leaders could use the name of a small subdivision or that of a college dorm. Large, well-organized gangs can sometimes take on the name of a large city (ex. San Fierro Triad).
Next, the nickname. The nickname usually describes or gives insight into the gang. The 3rd Street Saints get their name from the ruined, abandoned Church that serves as the gang’s headquarters. The Grove Street Families are a family-run gang. Nicknames only have one requirement: they must not suck. If anything repels people from joining a gang, it’s a horrible nickname.
Lastly, a common identity. This is something that identifies people as part of a gang. This typically involves colors of clothing (Saints wear purple, Grove Street wears green), but anything can be used. Stereotypes of any sort are quite common. While anything can be used to identify gang members, here’s a general rule of thumb: the more obvious, the better. Tattoos could work, but unless the tattoo is easily seen, identifying gang members can become a real chore. This is why clothing and stereotypes are popular choices for identity. This has the side-effect of making your fictional gang members easier targets, but eh, they’re NPCs anyway.
As for all the gangs in Grand Theft Auto/Saint’s Row, I personally think Trailer Park Mafia has a nice ring to it. I haven’t played any GTA other than III, Vice City, and San Andreas. Nope, none other than those three games and Saint’s Row. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Oh, and Wikipedia helped too.
“Shame really, I was going to make it into a lamp.“