I think it was the first time I played a game where I had some degree of control of the music being played (though the playing of a radio on a motorcross bike was always of dubious accuracy). I suspect PC gamers were used to this ability for a long time before Vice City arrived on the scene. But it was a novelty for me. And what a sound track it was. So many classic tracks to suit all tastes. When any of them come on my mp3 player or on the radio I can’t help singing along and remembering some of my favourite moments from Vice City.
I never really got into GTA III so it was the first time I played a game of this nature – vast open play area where you could (and I frequently did) spend hours doing nothing in particular, certainly not getting any further in the missions. This for me was a revelation after years and years of playing games where progression was pretty clearly defined from the beginning to the end of a level.
Add in interesting characters (some that you really want to see get a grisly end by the time you get towards the finish), a vast collection of drivable vehicles, some devastating weaponry, some cracking jokes in all sorts of places (I think my favourite though was one of the random depictions of people when the games was loading and the hill billy dude from the gun shop is holding an AK-47 and the warning sign says something like “Trespassers will be shot – survivors will be shot again). Changeable costumes, lots and lots of hidden goodies, huge maps and side missions that could up days of your time and in my humble opinion we have one of the very finest games ever created.