Getting up at 5.30am is never my favourite thing to do, particularly when I’m supposed to be on holiday. Getting in
at 5.30am – yes – but not up
. However, for this, I will make an exception. I, along with most of the gaming population of Britain, have been getting rather excited about the impending release of Grand Theft Auto IV
. This is a strange phenomenon as the previously released GTAs
have done nothing to excite me, despite the best attempts of friends and loved ones.
The truth is, I’m no good at them, and like most socially inept and competitive gamers this means I don’t like them. But, what with it being a while since San Andreas
, I have sort of forgotten why I’m not so good at it using my amazing short term memory loss, which I worked so hard to cultivate - though I should perhaps give honourable mention to the Frenzy gene pool. Yet despite this, or maybe because of this, when the opportunity to go to the GTA
multi avi in Lahndahn I bit the Evil Editor's hand off. Figuratively speaking. Not literally, I wouldn’t. Unless he’d been holding a Marlboro Red and some risotto. Maybe then.
Cue JLR (James – the new SPOnG journalist) and me driving south down the M1 - me painting my nails whilst he attempts to get businessmen to give us the universal rock sign of goat-horn hand and Gene-Simmons tongue.
As a devoted Northerner, SPOnG’s latest contributor becomes somewhat more reticent as we encroach on the surprisingly leafy, lovely and sunlit streets of Leytonstone, where I park the car and we head for the tube having the usual North-South debate, which there surely must be a script for in the Magna Carta.
The tube journey is delayed, but I spend the time describing the Guitar Hero
episode of South Park
and telling the drooped lids of a man who was up late listening to Russell Brand’s podcast and didn’t get his morning cup of coffee, semi-improvised stories about blind, albino, sweaty-flanked Tube-mares whose hoarse-throated screams can be heard late at night in the tunnels in a vague attempt to convince him that this is the reason the warble-voiced tube driver is unwilling to give us any information on the impediment to our progress.
Wild lies about mythical (yet haunting) horses dissolve feebly when our taxi jerks to a halt outside the building 45 minutes late and we shamefacedly look up into the remarkably patient and manly face of our Australian Rockstar rep. He immediately takes us up to a beautifully darkened room with four huge leather chairs and equally huge TVs already set up with headsets, controllers and profiles for us.
Just as I expected from such city-living, high-flying, Peter Pan characters there was Coke as far as the eye could see. A-Cola, of course. And cake and sandwiches from Pręt a Manger for lunch. So, pumped on caffeine and humiliation, we listen as the lovely Rockstar Rep gives us the lowdown on what we were expected to do for four blissful hours. Here’s the plan as we were given it:
1)Team Deathmatch - a sequence of ten minute games where we’d acquaint ourselves with the controls and be allowed the privilege rarely given to n00bs of not being fired at by the far more experienced Rockstar crew, two of whom would be on each team to guide us through.
2)Team Mafiya (sic) work – a phone call would be received, usual GTA
-style, and Petrovich (the boss) would give us a challenge to complete before the other team.
3)All versus All Mafiya work – same deal, but every man for himself.
Race – different vehicles and weapons available to aid you in getting to the finish first.
5)Cops ‘n Crooks - two eponymous teams aim to either take down the boss or make an exciting getaway.
6)Co-op Hangman’s Noose – The team have to get the Mafiya boss away from police to safety.