Grand Theft Auto steals show with midnight run

29 Apr 2008

Hundreds of Irish gamers will be queuing outside several GameStop outlets at midnight tonight with visions of car-jacking and drive-bys dancing in their heads, as the long awaited Grand Theft Auto follow-up goes on sale.

Five GameStop outlets, Henry Street, Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre and Clarehall Shopping Centre in Dublin, as well as the Foyleside Centre in Derry and the GameStop in Arthur Square, Belfast, will open specially at midnight tonight to give GTA fans a chance to get their hands on the first copies of the video game.

All other 45 GameStop outlets will be open at 8am tomorrow morning to give early shoppers a chance to pick up a copy for their Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 on the way to work or college.

While few games like Grand Theft Auto elicit such dedication amongst fans, it also receives much criticism, most notably for its violent game play.

The series which includes GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas, received an 18-rating for its content, which includes the ability to knock people down with stolen cars, shoot police officers and beat up prostitutes, game play which can also be found in the new release.

This has not stopped the series selling over 70 million copies worldwide, and CEO of RockStar North, the Edinburgh-based company that produces the game, said in a rare interview with the Sunday Times, that all this fuss over the game really just boils down to fear of the new.

He likened angry outbursts over Grand Theft Auto‘s violence to the fear of speeding trains when railways were introduced or the shocked parents who insisted Elvis and his gyrating hips be banned from television screens for fear of corrupting their daughters.

While violent content in video games may be morally questionable, this writer is looking forward to popping a virtual cap is someone’s bottom in GTA IV but knows when a game is really just a game.

By Marie Boran