GTA Vice City is often stereotyped to be the pinnacle representation of the 80s.
There are many references to the 80s within GTA Vice City that help back up that claim. GTA Vice City canonly takes place in 1986, and it shows that Rockstar did their research on the 1980s.
Most of what’s seen in the game mimics some aspect of a popular 80s thing, yet it’s often twisted in a way that makes the game seem more original.
GTA Vice City’s references range from all over the place. Even if a person wasn’t alive for the 1980s, they could still see some of the influences that time period had on the game like with the examples listed below.
Five references to the 80s in GTA Vice City
#5 – 80s music
The most obvious example of GTA Vice City taking place in the 1980s is its selection in music. GTA Vice City has several hit songs like Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” that perfectly exemplifies the time period.
The vast majority of the songs found in GTA Vice City come from 1980 to 1986, but there are a few outliers; Kool & the Gang’s “Summer Madness” being released in 1974 is one example.
Alternatively, some songs were released after GTA Vice City takes place, such as Love Fist’s custom-made songs.
#4 – Escobar International Airport
Escobar International Airport is an obvious reference to Pablo Escobar, who was one of the world’s most notorious drug traffickers back in the day. His activities weren’t limited to just the 80s, but his actions were incredibly noteworthy in that time period.
As GTA Vice City’s main theme involves drug trafficking, it makes sense to name the main airport of the game based on one of the world’s most famous drug traffickers.
#3 – Miami Vice & the VCPD Cheetah
The VCPD Cheetah is a law enforcement vehicle that chases players with a three-star Wanted Level in GTA Vice City. Interestingly enough, six possible agents can be found in GTA Vice City, but only two spawn per VCPD Cheetah.
The Vice Squad that spawns in the vehicle is loosely based off of Miami Vice’s cast. Likewise, the VCPD Cheetah resembles the Ferrari Testarossa seen in the later seasons of the show.
#2 – Several Scarface references
One of the most notable examples of how a movie can influence a video game can be found in GTA Vice City. The plethora of allusions to the iconic 1983 movie, Scarface, are among the most notable.
Easter eggs like Apartment 3C is one thing, but there are also a lot of parallels between Tommy Vercetti and Tony Montana’s stories. Several characters and locations also resemble their respective counterparts in Scarface.
#1 – President Reagan
Ronald Reagan was the president of the United States between 1981 and 1989 and is referenced several times in GTA Vice City. The easter egg with him doing a thumbs up whilst holding a gun next to a bullet-riddled Gorbachev is the most noteworthy example.
Jonathan Freeloader also states in VCPR:
“With the way things are going under Reagan, at any moment, the unwashed huns from the Midwest could descend upon Vice City and enslave the poets and postal workers, and force us to watch network programming.”
Note: This article reflects the writer’s personal views.