Today, the best Grand Theft Auto game -- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas -- turns 15 years old. On this day in 2004, the seventh title in the series, and the first mainline entry since 2002's Vice City, GTA: San Andreas released on PS2. And then a year later it came to PC and Xbox One. The game follows the story of Carl Johnson, who five years prior escaped the pressures of life in 90s' Los Santos, San Andreas, a city plagued by gang violence, drugs, and most of all, corruption. After being away for a bit, Carl is forced to return home after his mother was murdered, which tears apart his family, the heart of the local neighborhood. However, on his way to set things straight, a pair of corrupt cops frame him for a homicide, which forces CJ to take control of the streets with the Grove Street Families behind him.
As you may know, the plot is based on the real-life events of Los Angeles at the time, which was run by the Bloods, Crips, and various Hispanic street gangs. Further, crack was ravaging neighborhoods, and the LAPD was rocked by multiple corruption scandals.
The game is widely considered one of the best games of the sixth generation, and is held as one of the best Grand Theft Auto games alongside Vice City, GTA V, and GTA III, despite a few controversial gameplay features that put off some players and despite the "Hot Coffee Mod" landing it in hot water with the mainstream media. In addition to being critically-acclaimed, it was the best-selling game of 2004, and has sold an impressive 27.5 million copies as of 2011.
Personally, while I have a special place in my heart for Vice City, as well as GTA: IV, San Andreas is easily my favorite game in the series. Not only do I find its subject matter the most interesting, but at the time I remember being enamored with its scope and size. And of course, it has Big Smoke, which none of the other games have.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is available for basically any platform you'd play games on in 2019.