It was all anybody may discuss. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was all we had been allowed to discuss. We swapped tales and cheat codes in the playground. But at the moment I’m going to discuss the most-hated mission in San Andreas – ‘Learning to Fly’.
The recreation was enjoyable and peculiar and bursting with wit and cartoon menace. The visuals had been like nothing any of us had seen earlier than—unimaginably large and vibrant—and the soundtrack turned immediately iconic. Plus it had bicycles! Those had been the coolest and made a depraved thummmm noise if you pedalled on Grove Street’s cracked, solar-crushed asphalt.
Then, there was “Learning to Fly” and that silly flight college, and James Woods’ slick-as-shit authorities agent Mike Toreno, making issues worse.
You’d see the youngsters in college who lastly ‘learned how to fly’, with their telltale sunken eyes and sloped shoulders. They’d been stopped lifeless in their tracks by this absolute ballache of a car college set manner out at the rundown Verdant Meadows airstrip. You may spot them from how rapidly they’d change the topic—”Has anybody received up to the mission with…” “Oh my god, are you continue to speaking about San Andreas? It’s crap, man. Bullshit. Get over it.”—and the way a lot slower they’d stroll residence.
Missions earlier than this had been troublesome (shout out to “Wrong Side of the Tracks,” you piece of shit) however this was totally different. A completely separate type of ache that’d depart you demoralized and wanting to spend time doing one thing that wouldn’t make you’re feeling this horrible. The flight college simply outright defeated folks.
I bear in mind once I first reached it. I went straight for it and bombed out fairly early in the run—I failed the opening assessments a dozen occasions at the least, most likely far more. I’d gun for that corona (the tiny purple hoops via which we had to fly) and the aircraft’s nostril would begin to dip and I’d be hurtling towards the floor after which I’d be a plume of purple, yellow, and orange hearth earlier than fading to black with six letters unfold throughout the display screen telling me my character—and my time—had been wasted.
Eventually, I handed the (admittedly fairly easy) first few duties, however the studying curve for the relaxation was unreal. It was like educating a baby how to trip a motorbike then snatching away the two-wheeler and throwing them the keys to your automotive. Even if you happen to had been a fast learner with two 4-leafed clovers taped to your controller, you’re taking a look at hours and hours and hours studying to do just about unimaginable methods and stunts that haven’t any precise function in the recreation. I used to be 13 and stared at the tiny display screen of the TV-VCR combo.
But I used to be decided to not hand over. Until this level, once I was sitting in college ignoring my work, head in the criminal of my elbow, I’d dream about blazing it down a street in the Ballas’s territory in a busted Stratum station wagon, blasting “You Dropped a Bomb on Me” by The Gap Band as I sprayed spherical after spherical into inch-excessive pixelated gang-members clad in purple. Now I used to be haunted by rigorously manoeuvring an ungainly rendering of a World War II airplane via the sky at a pace slower than Big Smoke’s metabolism. I closed my eyes and noticed pulsing purple rings on the backs of my eyelids. I used to be obsessed.
The weight of significance sat closely on my shoulders. For the first time in my quick life, I had to focus and dedicate my life to one thing. I had to full this sequence of meaningless assessments of agility and dexterity so I may get on with this recreation and the remainder of my life. I made a decision to sit there till it was carried out, arms contorting like Lego claws, day passing into the evening after which into day once more, and I did it. I did the hell out of it.
My college work and conduct in the years main up to this had been extremely erratic—normally starting from “Really good” to “Not bad” to “You’re probably going to be expelled”—however after that factor clicked into place and leveled out, similar to the wings of C.J.’s aircraft. I’m not saying that finishing the flight college on San Andreas modified my life, however I’m not ruling it out.