GTA in the GTA
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GTA in the GTA

To those uninitiated to the ways of Next-Gen gaming, the huge lineups outside of the Yonge-Dundas square Future Shop and the Eaton Centre Best Buy could have seemed quite frightening. Are all these young, would-be hooligans planning a gigantic car heist of Gone in 60 Seconds proportions? Why are they eagerly talking about running people over, the Russian mafia, and a new targeting system that they simply can’t wait to try out?
Of course, we know it’s a video game. Not just any video game, but one of those nifty ones that is supposed to define a generation and be a prime example of the decline of our culture. Grand Theft Auto IV is sure to bring with it its share of controversy, but developers Rockstar Games are expecting it to break pretty much every video game sales record in existence. So of course Future Shop and Best Buy had to hold respective parties. Well, not so much a party, but blasting music while hundreds of people stand outside in the cold waiting to be let in at midnight so they can buy the game.

Torontoist was there for the entire hip-hop fueled extravaganza, and, no offense gamers, but video game launch parties are a little lame. Nobody even dressed up, other than three “Liberty City Police” dominatrix chicks that were (presumably) paid by Best Buy to add a sense of theatrics to their event, taking random line-waiters into an Xbox tent for questioning and frisking. This was all much to the excitement of the local media, all of whom swarmed the Xbox-sponsored Best Buy event. The Sony-sponsored Future Shop event gave lollipops though. Gourmet lollipops!
The two events, being in such close proximity, essentially became a battle between Xboxers and Playstationites. The media obviously preferred the theatrics (and spotlights!) afforded by the Xbox event, prompting some eager Microsoft enthusiasts to walk over to Future Shop and scream “The Xbox one is better!”
And what about the game? Yeah, we’ll admit it…GTA IV sounds pretty sweet, if you’re into that kind of thing. You play Niko, an Eastern European man with connections to the Russian Mafia. (Anything involving the Russian Mafia is automatically cool in our books, except maybe the actual Russian Mafia.) Rockstar has added so many little things to this game that are expected to blow everyone’s mind: for instance, if you hear a song in the game that you like, you can use your cell phone (in the game) to ask Amazon what song it is, then you’ll get an email in the real world telling you to buy it! Ah, the fusing of real and virtual worlds—when will it start getting really, really scary?
Other major breakthroughs are the high-definition graphics and multiplayer options. Gamers get super excited for multiplayer. So sure, buy it! Y’know…if you want to.
Photos by wvs from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.