GTA III Blew This Lord Of The Rings Actor's Mind Back In 2002

Image: Rockstar Games / Kotaku / Vivien Killilea (Getty Images)
Image: Rockstar Games / Kotaku / Vivien Killilea (Getty Images)

Actor Dominic Monaghan wasn’t a big gamer growing up, but that all changed when he first played Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto III on PS2. The open-world crime simulator basically blew his mind and revealed just how far games had come from Pac-Man.

In a new interview with Gamespot, the Lost and Lord of The Rings star talked about his history with video games. According to Monaghan, while he played some games from time to time as a kid, it wasn’t something he cared much about, instead preferred to play outside or act on stage. But then he moved to Los Angeles in 2002,3 and a faithful conversation with fellow Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood changed everything.

“I said to my friend Elijah Wood, it sounds like I’m terribly name-dropping right now, I said I’m going to go buy a DVD player, you want to come with me,” said Monaghan. “And Elijah’s like, you should buy PlayStation 2. So I was like all right fine, but I’m just only going to watch The Sopranos on it and I’m only going to watch this and that and Oz and all these kinds of things. He’s like fine.”

But then a friend of his brought over a copy of Grand Theft Auto 3, Rockstar’s incredibly popular and controversial open-world action game set in Liberty City. And according to Monaghan, he could not “believe that games” had got this advanced.

“I love little things about GTA 3, like you can steal any car as opposed to there are certain cars that show you that they’re stealable,” explained the Lord of the Rings actor. “I got really good or I felt like I got really good at driving. You get to that point where everything starts to go really fast. I kind of enjoyed that. But I think [GTA 3 on PS2] was the big turnaround for me where I was like, oh I didn’t realize that games have now got to this point.”

“The leap was just extraordinary and you know the soundtrack is incredible. All the options were incredible,” said Monaghan. The actor further explained that since then he now includes games as part of his entertainment options alongside movies and TV shows.

As for the most recent entry in the franchise, 2013's GTA V, Monaghan has played the game and enjoyed it, even if he felt like Michael—one of the three main playable characters in that installment—was a bit “obnoxious.” He also sometimes enjoyed playing as Trevor, but admitted that he sometimes felt “dirty” after stepping into the lunatic’s shoes, saying he felt like he “needed a shower” afterward.

As for his all-time favorite gaming experience, it’s not GTA 3 but instead The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. According to Monaghan, he put around 350 hours into the massive open-world RPG on PS3. In fact, he played it so much that his console “exploded at one point” because it overheated.


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