Thursday, May 1, 2008

Grand Theft Auto: Io

As you can see, I still haven't gotten around to working on the post for the Io footprint paper. I had planned to get to it Monday, but unexpected work got in the way (new and interesting Titan images). The reason I had to get to it Monday was because starting Tuesday, I would have very little free time between working, eating, sleeping, and playing Grand Theft Auto IV, which hit stores the other day.

Grand Theft Auto IV is a video game for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 consoles. The game follows a Eastern European immigrant, Nico Bellic, in a fictionalized version of New York City as he tries to escape his past and build a new future with the help of his cousin, Roman. The game, like its predecessors, has garnered attention for its graphic depiction of violence, however, it has garnered praise from nearly every reviewer for its epic plot (leading some to call it the "Godfather" of video games) and great gameplay.

I bought the game during my local Gamestop's Midnight Madness Sale. Basically, the game was released on Tuesday, and to capitalize on the craving people have for playing this game, they open to store at midnight so people can be among the first to own a copy. The closest Gamestop to my apartment is only three blocks away in the best shopping center in Tucson (along with a Gamestop, it has a Best Buy, a Wal-Mart, a good shoe store, and a camping store).

So I walked down to the store at a little before 10pm on Monday night, expecting to find maybe five people waiting in line to buy the game. Instead, I found 20 people already there. Waiting in line for two hours wasn't too bad. The employees knew how to treat their queue, giving out free chips, candy, soda, and water, setting up a TV outside to play some episodes of The Simpsons, and holding a raffle for random GTA IV-related merchandise, like posters, lanyards, and, wait for it, an empty box. I didn't win anything in the raffle, but I was pretty satisfied sitting in line with my chips, water, and iPod. By the time midnight rolled around, there had to have been at least 100 people in line, if not more, since I couldn't see the end because it stretched around the corner of the complex. I should note, to my surprise, that I did spot one woman in line for this game who WASN'T there with her boyfriend/husband/girlfriend. Not sure what that says about the audience for the game or the kinds of people who are stupid enough to wait in line to buy a video game at midnight on a weeknight.

Finally, at 12:07am on Tuesday, I had my hands on the game I coveted for a few days now (okay, I preordered it several months ago...). I've played quite a lot of it over the last couple of days (almost 11 hours worth, so now you see why I have had no time to skim through a paper on aurorae). It is a very good game. Is it worth the perfect scores given to it by nearly every reviewer, I'm not sure about that. But it is definitely the best game I own and nearly the best I have ever played, but that's not to say that there aren't a few things that bother me about the game, or bugs in the game that I've noticed.

I will try to post on any news item I see on Io or post about some new astrophotography, but I would not expect any major posts (beyond this one) from me this week.

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