Crime

Grand Theft Smasheroo

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The latest installment of the controversial video game Grand Theft Auto will bust up sales records like Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) driving home from Capitol Hill, say industry analysts:

The launch of "Grand Theft Auto 4" is expected to be the biggest entertainment event of the year, with first-week sales forecast to be up to $400 million, beating those of last year's "Halo 3" from Microsoft Corp.

More here.

As sales mount for the game, now set in New York-like "Liberty City" and (hopefully featuring a whore-banging, money-laundering, hypocritical pol a la Eliot* Spitzer), expect the protests to mount against the game, which has somehow helped add to generally lower crime rates in the United States.

[*]: Spelling corrected due to input from reader Adam Scavone.

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  1. Nice ad tie-in at the top!

    For some time now the slang term for GTA-San Andraes (the one with my voice) was GTA4. Wondering if they are playing off of that with this title?

    I hope they protest in DC, on a day when I am not busy working of course, would love to make an appearance 🙂

  2. Oh no! The perpetual scourge of humanity strikes again. Forget war, famine, and authoritarian-style tyranny, violent video games are what we need to be most concerned about…including you writers at Reason.

  3. I’m picking up my copy today, shit looks so sick.
    Can’t wait to hear the soundtrack and all the crazy dialogue they write for the GTA series.

    Guy, why would SA be GTA IV? It’s the fifth one in the series and the second one after III.

  4. If I want to play it I have to buy a new computer or an XBox 360.

    Maybe I’ll just have to do that.

  5. Episiarch,

    We have a 360. Enjoyable. I just beat Bioware’s Mass Effect, which was pretty good. Of course, these days, you can get a new system for not much more than a 360.

  6. ProL, my programmer ego requires that when I buy a new system, it is smokin’. Which requires about $2000 minimum. Soon, I will buy. Just not now. I want to see if Vista SP1 fixes its myriad issues.

  7. Hyperbole free, as always…

    It’s more like hysterical, in the literal, original sense on the word.

  8. Well then, by all means buy the new PC platform! Be sure that you get a worthy monitor, though.

  9. Guy, why would SA be GTA IV? It’s the fifth one in the series and the second one after III.

    I have no idea. Counting does not seem to be something that matters with the gamers, unless it is the score.

    BTW, I have never played any of the modern computer games.

  10. Well then, by all means buy the new PC platform! Be sure that you get a worthy monitor, though.

    Now should that be an sRGB space or an extended gamut monitor? Are video player clients on XP/Vista even color aware?

  11. I already have a 22″ widescreen LCD monitor.

  12. Woohoo! A drunken Kennedy joke always starts the day off right… 🙂

  13. Epi,

    You can also pick up a 360 copy of Crackdown dirt cheap. Think:

    (GTA + superpowers) – (driving or talking to people)

  14. I do not have a 360, NutraSweet, just an XBox. And a GameCube. But PCs are vastly superior for gaming.

  15. A man who spends $2,000 on a computer today must not skimp on his monitor. A thirty-inch screen at a minimum. Seventy-two inches would be optimal, with a stereo gaming chair set two feet away from the screen.

  16. I could always hook it up to my HDTV if I want.

  17. Epi,

    Well, you do have that government rebate check coming soon… time for an upgrade, I think.

    (I’m spending mine on a new charcoal grill and PS3.)

  18. With haptic interfaces! Full immersion!

  19. I’m spending mine on a new charcoal grill and PS3

    Nice. I stimulated the economy just this past weekend with a Wii and 22″ Monitor for my new computer.
    Weak, I know, but I’m working up to bigger things.

  20. Episiarch,

    FYI, it’s only being released on the PS3 and 360 today. There’s no PC release date yet, but history with Rockstar has been PC version releases 6-9 months after the consoles.

  21. By the way, when playing Mass Effect, I learned to my surprise that it includes a sex scene. Nothing more than you might have seen on, say, NYPD Blue, but kind of out of nowhere given the way the game otherwise plays. The boys rarely finish these sorts of games, so I may risk letting them play it, anyway. Of course, if they learn about this from their friends, they may make an extra effort.

    I think I’m GTAed out. San Andreas was impressive in its scope, but it’ll take something pretty profound to get me to buy another game in the series.

  22. why would SA be GTA IV? It’s the fifth one in the series and the second one after III.

    Because GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas were all part of GTA 3

  23. Reinmoose,

    I’m insanely happy with my grill so far, if you are in the market for one.

  24. The flame war over there is heating up, if anyone wants to check back in:

    Kind of funny, you know, this bullshit post coming from samhita when she constantly talks about racism against black males who tried to kill someone by kicking in their heads with steel toed boots, but then shooting people in a video game is suddenly misogynistic?

    They let a dissenting opinion through: Flame ON!

  25. 32 Burger Capacity!

  26. Tilda – reading comprehension FTL

  27. FYI, it’s only being released on the PS3 and 360 today. There’s no PC release date yet, but history with Rockstar has been PC version releases 6-9 months after the consoles.

    Perfect, it gives them time to get Vista SP1 out (it’s not out already, right?) and for me to take my astonishingly anal time to figure out what I want for a computer.

  28. Reinmoose,

    I’m putting that claim to the test this weekend. I’ve already cooked NY strip, pork chops, and chicken breasts. I’m going to smoke a chicken tomorrow afternoon (it’s brining as we speak.)

    I’d grill today if the high wasn’t 53 and rainy. April 29. Where’s your global warming now, fucktards?

  29. FYI, it’s only being released on the PS3 and 360 today. There’s no PC release date yet, but history with Rockstar has been PC version releases 6-9 months after the consoles.

    Yeah, but the PC ports have consistently blown, unless someone finally has a decent console-style controller for PCs.

  30. Yeah, but the PC ports have consistently blown, unless someone finally has a decent console-style controller for PCs.

    What you talkin’ about, Willis? Console controllers suck massive ass. Using a mouse you can target much faster than with a console stick that a) re-centers if you release the pressure and b) can’t be whipped across your desk as fast as you wrist will go.

    Mouse-keyboard combo is much better.

  31. I can’t speak to the controller issue, but I played Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic on PC and on Xbox, and the PC version was better. Fewer bugs and there was an extra planet to do stuff on.

  32. I have one question for your link SugarFree. Whats wrong with blatant misogyny? Errrr . . . I’ll let you ask for me. I’m a coward that way.

  33. What you talkin’ about, Willis? Console controllers suck massive ass. Using a mouse you can target much faster than with a console stick that a) re-centers if you release the pressure and b) can’t be whipped across your desk as fast as you wrist will go.

    Mouse-keyboard combo is much better.

    I think he’s talking specifically about the GTA series, in which case, yes, the PC ports have sucked ass. In general, though, I’d agree that the PC is better for gaming.

  34. I wouldn’t even consider the 360, since the demise of HD-DVD. In fact, I was a big Xbox fan but had to go over to the Sony side on this one because the Blu-ray is just so damn cheap. I’ve been really happy with the PS3.

    Also, Episiarch, you can build a smoking system sans monitor for easily under $1500 – especially if you re-use hard drives, etc.

  35. Naga Sadow,

    I don’t troll that board, just read it. If you want to fall quickly under their ban hammer, go right ahead.

  36. 32 Burger Capacity!

    Think of all the cholesterol! There’s no reason for anyone to own a grill with more than a ten burger capacity.

  37. PC gaming is better just because of all the mods that eventually come out for the games. Multi Theft Auto was doing multiplayer for Vice City and San Andreas way before GTA4.

  38. You can have my grill when you pry the tongs from my cold, dead welder’s gloves.

  39. Also, Episiarch, you can build a smoking system sans monitor for easily under $1500 – especially if you re-use hard drives, etc.

    I got sick of building my own system but I might do it again. However, my drives are IDE and I would want SATA, so no reuse there. Really, the only thing I would do is not buy a monitor because I have the 22″ LCD and my HDTV.

    My current system is 8 years old. It was smokin’ for its time, which is why it has lasted so long (plus I added some memory and added a second hard drive for the paging file that I ripped out of my old DirecTV Tivo).

    However, if I build I have to re-immerse myself in the whole world of motherboard bus speeds, memory speeds, case form factors, etc. not to mention compatibility which the major manufacturers take care of for you.

    I am considering it, though.

  40. Matt: I just put together a system that can run Crysis for $500, gotta love how cheap components are these days 🙂

  41. Bingo, where are you getting your parts?

  42. “I’m insanely happy with my grill so far, if you are in the market for one.”
    So are you a charcoal snob, SF? I vastly prefer the convenience of God’s gas, propane.

  43. I suppose I’d better credit Hank Hill for that “God’s gas” bit. I don’t want to end up Twitchelled.

  44. Epi:

    VGA Card, CPU, RAM, Motherboard. Recycling old case, powersupply, DVD drive and the same 40gb IDE hard drive I’ve used for 5 years.

  45. “As sales mount for the game, now set in New York-like ‘Liberty City’…”

    The series has always been set in Liberty City, save for the Vice City and San Andreas games.

  46. Think of all the cholesterol! There’s no reason for anyone to own a grill with more than a ten burger capacity.

    There oughtta be a law…

  47. CN,

    Yes, I am a charcoal snob. Gas is convenient, but not what I’m looking for in outdoor cooking applications. I’m one of those assholes who has three different charcoals and four or five smoking agents on hand at all times. I’m not a weekend griller, either. I grill 90% of the days it is warm enough to. I will say in my defense that I refuse to own an apron.

    Speaking of grilling, ever had / made chimichurri? Awesome marinade / dip. Especially for marinading skirt steak or a London broil.

    Chimichurri

    1 cup olive oil, extra virgin
    ? cup vinegar, red wine

    2 tbsp thyme, fresh, chopped
    2 tbsp oregano, fresh, chopped
    2 tbsp parsley, flat-leaf, fresh, chopped
    1 tbsp rosemary, fresh, chopped
    1 tbsp smoked paprika
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp black pepper, ground

    3 chipotle chiles in sauce, finely chopped
    3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

    Prep herbs, chiles and garlic. Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until oil has reached 200 degrees. Stir in all ingredients, reserving the vinegar, and remove from heat. Allow oil to cool and infuse for one hour. Combine with red wine vinegar and use as a marinade or table sauce. Best kept in a tightly sealed bottle on the countertop. Shake well before using.

  48. Party at SF’s place…

  49. However, my drives are IDE and I would want SATA, so no reuse there.

    I never even heard of SATA until I opened up a new HP to pop in a couple old hard drives I had lying around and the connectors were all wrong. Boy did I feel dumb. Or old. One or the other.

    As for GTA – I had III, and I loved driving around and smashing into people and stuff, but I never really got around to the quests…

  50. The series has always been set in Liberty City

    The key part is New York-like. The previous Liberty City wasn’t anything at all like New York.

  51. Epi,

    If you want to build a computer with exactly what you want, but don’t want the hassle of actually putting it together, I would recommend going to Fry’s.

    They are staffed by geeks who really know their stuff. You can buy exactly what you want and they will put it together for you.

    BTW, I don’t recomment Vista. Stick to XP Pro.

  52. Now I’m faced with a terrible dilemma: buy a PS3 just for this game, or wait for the PC version.

  53. SF – good call on the chimichurri. Sunday we roasted a lamb (Royal Oak natural wood coal being the charcoal of choice), and we had chimichurri (as well as tzatziki) for it.

    Back on topic – GTA the original was set in Liberty City, fake Miami and fake San Fran. I don’t remember where GTA II was set (although I remember two of the gangs being Rednecks and Yakuza, so where the fuck could that have been). Liberty City of GTA (original) actually had neighborhoods named and geographically located in accordance with real NYC (Estoria and Brocklyn to the east, South Brux to the north, and Manhattan neighborhoods as well). For GTA III I could see the place you start as LIC/Astoria and Brooklyn and the middle island as Manhattan. The suburbs part wasn’t anything specific. I guess I’ll see if there are any real NYC landmarks or neighborhood resemblances in IV.

  54. If you want to build a computer with exactly what you want, but don’t want the hassle of actually putting it together, I would recommend going to Fry’s.

    Link plz?

    BTW, I don’t recomment Vista. Stick to XP Pro.

    O Rly?

    I realize this, that’s why I am waiting for SP1 (XP sucked until SP1 too). But I have an MSDN license so I will just install XP SP2 until Vista SP1 comes out (as long as it is an improvement).

    Bingo, NewEgg fucking rocks! Everything is dirt cheap!

    I may just embark on building a new machine immediately.

  55. Epi,

    According to a coworker of mine, Vista SP1 is out and vastly improves Vista. The MS website also shows SP1 being available.

  56. Here is your link, Epi: http://www.frys.com/

    If you are going to go Vista, don’t get an Nvidia series 8 card.

    I built a new system with 64 bit Vista and an Nvidia 8800 GTS. Even after Vista has been out for over a year, Nvidia still has problems with their 64 bit Vista drivers.

    If a high FPS is important to you, stick with XP Pro. IIRC, with identical machines, games running under Vista will be 10% – 15% slower.

  57. TallDave,

    PS3 does have Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction going for it. And (supposedly) soon, God Of War III.

  58. Vista SP1 has been out for awhile. I didn’t see any “vast improvement” to Vista’s overall suck.

  59. How about Nvidia Series 9?

    I was thinking of going 64-bit; any other problems you’ve encountered? And have you tried the FPS under Vista SP1?

    I can always install Vista SP1 and try it and if is inferior, downgrade to XP.

    I’ll check out Fry’s but I kind of like the idea of building it myself again as a hobby thing.

    Oh, and what about cooling the CPU?

  60. Anybody been looking at the latest in CarPuters/CarPCs lately? Might be a little premature for me to be brushing up on them, but would be nice to see how they have progressed in the 5 years I have not paid attention.

  61. Oh, and what about cooling the CPU?

    Liquid nitrogen.

  62. My poor sweet innocent gf saw GTASA for the first time last weekend. I ran over a hooker and she was like “Oh my God, is she all right?”

    I think she was permanently traumatized when I got out the Gatling.

  63. Caveat to my statement about Vista SP1 being a vast improvement. I still run XP Pro on a laptop and have only recently begun to even think about building a desktop again (as a media center mainly). I am not a gamer, I was realying some info from a coworker who is a gamer and just built a frackin’ $4000 system which runs Vista SP1.

  64. I went with 64-bit Vista and quad core on the theory that it would perform like the 64-bit XP I run at work. Instead it performs no better than the 2 1/2 year old iMac, with vastly inferior specs, that it was intended to replace. Vista is garbage and you’re better off sticking with XP until they can figure out how to get it right. And this is from someone who was enthusiastic about it at first.

  65. The local TV news idiots were out interviewing guys standing in line for the midnight opening sale for GTA IV. One guy said his therapist recommended he get the game for his anger management problems.

  66. Epi,

    I got the 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT a couple months ago and love it. Azeroth is truly awe-inpiring at 1920×1200 resolution, and framerate is usu around 60.

    Avoid Vista if you can (Dell would not sell me the new video card without it). It’s still very buggy, offers no new functionality, and beyond that is just very poorly designed. It has the incredibly annoying problem that all right-click menus periodically become disabled (usually you have to close all IE windows to fix this). Also, they inexplicably removed the menu bars from Office apps, forcing you to search through all their retarded little icons till you find the one that prints or whatever. Incredibly fucking annoying when you’ve been trained for a decade to alt-f-p.

  67. Epi: Stick with XP Pro, no driver problems. Vista, even with SP1, is awful.

    Both the 8800 and 9 series are spectacular cards, you can even pick up an 8800GT for about the price as a 9600GT. The performance is close to the same between both cards, but the 9600GT uses less power.

    For cooling I picked up one of these. Although any Socket 939/AM2 cooler will probably work just as well. And stay away from Fry’s staff! They are only slightly less clueless than the morons that work at Best Buy.

  68. Well, from what Rhywun and Lurker Kurt say it sounds like I’m best off building a 64-bit system running under XP 64-bit, which is no problem for me. Plus that wouldn’t give me any problems with the Nvidia 8 series driver. I can always switch back and forth and get my own results anyway.

    Plus, I could build a Vista machine in Virtual PC and give it a test…does Virtual PC 2007 support 64-bit?

    Now I just need to pick the parts.

  69. I love that Jack Thompson’s campaign against video games at the expense of common sense, legality, civility and his own career has resulted in such a huge payday for the people he so mercilessly and senselessly attacks.

    Maybe it is a mildly just world after all.

  70. How about Nvidia Series 9?

    I have no knowlege about Series 9.

    I was thinking of going 64-bit; any other problems you’ve encountered? And have you tried the FPS under Vista SP1?

    When SP1 came out, my machine hanged on reboot and it had to go back to a restore point. Instead of trying to install SP1 all at once, I tried 1 update at a time. There are still 3 critical updates that won’t install. As to FPS speed, I haven’t measured it on my machine. I’ve been playing a lot of Team Fortress 2 and I have noticed no increase or decrease in FPS. It runs plenty fast and I see no pauses or stutters.

    I’ll check out Fry’s but I kind of like the idea of building it myself again as a hobby thing.

    If you feel confident, then by all means, build it yourself. I had a couple of nerve racking moments, but I got it up and running in about 8 hours. One more bit of advice: pay attention to where the SATA ports are on the motherboard in relation to where the video card will be. I put my video card in first and it was right above the SATA ports. It was a very tight fit, but I managed to get the cables plugged in.

    Oh, and what about cooling the CPU?

    I didn’t bother with any water cooling. Just the fans that came with the case.

  71. I have the 8800GT and it is excellent performance wise and is very reasonably priced. (Like $170 at Newegg now.)

    I also plugged it into my 4 year old P4 machine with a 350 watt power supply and it has worked fine the whole time. Go figure. And I can play Call of Duty 4 at max settings. More than I ever expected to get out of this old machine.

  72. One guy said his therapist recommended he get the game for his anger management problems.

    Good line.

    My poor sweet innocent gf saw GTASA for the first time last weekend.

    After my wife got over her first mugging, she was a psychotic machine. She’d be on her way to do something else, and just pull over and beat up random people to see if they had any money.

  73. I think I’m gonna get an SLI motherboard but only one Nvidia 8800/9600 for now, maybe another later.

    Any thoughts on 8800 vs 9600?

  74. One more thing for anyone still paying attention.

    I want to pipe the sound out to my Marantz 7.1 Surround Sound receiver because the computer will be near my entertainment center. I can do digital optical or digital coaxial (I refuse to do anything else). Any sound card recommendations? The sound built into the motherboard won’t have the digital out, I assume.

  75. I just got my copy, and am writing a story about Missoula fanboys of the game.
    Fuck me, I can’t concentrate, and I’m at work.
    I want nothing more than to play this game. Now. And for the next month.
    I don’t want sex with my wife.
    I don’t want to play with the kids.
    No movies.
    No snuggle time.
    No food.
    Just GTA IV.
    I’m a sick and twisted fuck, and I know it.

  76. TallDave,

    I got the 512MB NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT

    I’ve got dual 512MB nVidial GeForce 8800 GTX’s working in SLR mode, and Jesus H. Underwear, I can ramp up all the sliders to max on Call of Duty 4, and still get 80 fps.

  77. Epi, my motherboard’s sound is analog only.

  78. Guy, why would SA be GTA IV? It’s the fifth one in the series and the second one after III.

    Actually, it’s the third after III.

    III
    Vice City
    San Andreas
    IV

    Or if you count the “Stories” games it’s the 5th after III.

    III
    Vice City
    San Andreas
    Liberty City Stories
    Vice City Stories
    IV

    Looks like they are using the roman numerals for big reboots of the series. Judging from the reviews it looks like IV is a huge leap forward from the III family of games.

  79. Epi: Some of the onboard soundcards actually have optical-out on them, I’d double check the specs. The Asus Xonar card is supposed to be good and Turtle Beach makes good cards as well. I’ve heard mixed things about M-Audio’s driver support. I have a bias against Creative, so take that as you will.

    Onboard is pretty fuckin good these days though.

  80. I have found a few motherboards with digital out. FUCKING AWESOME. No sound card purchase = SLI second video.

    This is fun. I forgot how fun it was, because the last time I was building was when I was selling computers and it sucks when you’re putting together cheap shit for other people.

  81. Wow, thanks for the feministing link.

    Always good for a laugh.

    I don’t get why people put themselves through such contortions to try to explain the pretty simple and primary fact that violence is funny.

    It’s just fucking funny, damn it.

    It doesn’t require the capitalist patriarchy to make it funny.

    And finding it funny to run over a video game prostitute doesn’t mean you’re going to run out and beat up women. I used to laugh when the Road Runner stuck it to the coyote, and it’s not like I go out looking for coyotes to tie to anvils and throw into canyons.

    My kid was nine months old and could not speak and had absolutely no exposure to the capitalist patriarchy, and would laugh his ass off if I pretended to fall down. It’s just funny. It requires no further explanation and it is not a moral crisis.

  82. Hey Episiarch, most of the good Asus motherboards have toslink and coax digital out these days. There are some very nice USB stereo DACs too (e.g. Benchmark DAC1-USB).

  83. Good call Soda – the combination of being awake for 30 minutes and anticipation of playing when I get home fucked up my ability to recall the games in order.

  84. In the last game one of the funnest activities was picking up hookers…paying them for sex then afterward running them over with a stolen car and picking up the money they drop after they die…most of the time it was more money then then the cost of the sex.

    God I love this country.

  85. It doesn’t require the capitalist patriarchy to make it funny.

    And finding it funny to run over a video game prostitute doesn’t mean you’re going to run out and beat up women. I used to laugh when the Road Runner stuck it to the coyote, and it’s not like I go out looking for coyotes to tie to anvils and throw into canyons.

    Screw you Fluffy…one day the Road Runner will get his come uppins and Coyote will will get his lunch…

    …and on that day you will be the first up against the wall!!

  86. it’s not like I go out looking for coyotes to tie to anvils and throw into canyons.

    I don’t know. That might be kinda fun.

  87. OK, they have the Astoria Beer Garden and Melody Lanes in Brooklyn. R* has done some homework.

  88. The game map is closely based on New York City and part of New Jersey, with the names changed, although some of them reference the actual location names such as “Meadows” and Steinway”. There are islands representing Manhattan, Bronx, New Jersey area, and an island with Brooklyn and Queens significantly compressed. The airport is roughly between where Laguardia and JFK would be. The “Coney Island” area is closer to the Manhattan area than it actually is and there is no Rockaway area or Bush Terminal which I was hoping for. There are lesser known landmarks such as the Flatiron Building (Manhattan), Domino Sugar factory (Yonkers), Hoboken Terminal (New Jersey), and Stillwell Avenue Terminal (Coney subway station).

    The game is a sort of satire of civilization as Grand Theft Auto has always been. The mayor is a conservative christian homophobic character obsessed with terrorism. From the start of the game, access to most of the map is restricted due to bridges and tunnels being closed due to an undisclosed terrorism threat, which as the game progresses will be removed to allow access to the other islands. (previous games had access restricted due to hurricanes, strikes, or construction). If you get on the subway you hear announcements like “if you see something say something.”

  89. access … is restricted due to bridges and tunnels being closed due to an undisclosed terrorism threat … If you get on the subway you hear announcements like “if you see something say something.”

    Wow, that’s more realistic than ever…

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