If you're a regular man about the internet, you’ve undoubtedly come across some jackhole purporting to have a copy of Grand Theft Auto IV weeks ahead of its April 29th release date. YouTube, Digg, and message boards everywhere are currently awash with several fraudulent claims. Could some of them be real?
Well, as of this writing, I can only confirm that every YouTube search variation I could think of for "Grand Theft Auto IV intro" DOES NOT yield the real thing. All fake, and more often than not, a fast pass to getting Rick Roll’d. Every game box is equally suspect. At this point we've all seen so many, and become so jaded, I probably wouldn’t trust anything that wasn’t personally hand delivered in cellophane by a Rockstar employee and a Notary Public.
Above: Pure Poppycock
So last Friday, somebody with the moniker Sam_Seed, posts this thread in our forums:
“GTA IV - Just played it! pics inside”
Now, I have no idea what compels a person to make up something like this, but it's still enough get a gamer giddy enough to take a peek, no? Sideshow carnivals are based on the same principal, but there's no rube's nickel to be had in this case. Bragging rights, maybe? Only until the game comes out, and you're revealed for the fraud you are. The net has burned us all before in one way or another, so needless to say, our bullshit meters were set on High. We demanded the mysterious Mr._Seed post an actual screenshot, which he did a few days later:
Okay, busted! Not a bad Photo-Chop... but we're the gaming press for Chrissakes! It’s our job to (over) analyze every image Rockstar provides us, so it was immediately obvious to anyone in our office, not to mention most of our readers, that the above is an early screenshot provided to us back in May of 2007 - blurred, stretched and pasted on a TV.
And if you’re going to pull off a fake GTA shot off, make sure it’s not on people who’ve actually played the game. That isn’t the radar either, looks to be Vice City era. Still more humorously, our own Senior Editor of Crime, Mikel Reparaz noted:
"If that radar were accurate, he'd be in the middle of a river."
Once the humor of the situation wore off, the anger set in. Here's the thing: I really want my copy of GTAIV. Like now. As a member of the gaming press, I should have a copy of the game before most people, right? But I don't, dammit! And the only person I loathe more than someone who actually has the game, is someone who fibs about it.
Seething from longing, and a false sense of entitlement, I felt the urge to punish douchebags who pull shenanigans like this. How? With superior bootleggery, that’s how:
“So what Sam Seed!
GAMESRADAR FIRST TO GET THEIR COPY OF GTAIV!!
We just got the UNIVERSE EXCLUSIVE copy of Grand Theft Auto IV for the xBox 36O!!1! Calling us "The bestest dern websight in teh wurld!" Roxstar just delivered the sought after software in an armored ice cream truck, driven by actual Eastern European immigrants fresh of the boat, loaded up with balloons, pellet guns, and Boston Market gift certificates. I know! *SPLORGE*!!
I'm totally playing it right now! Oh man! Wow! I just killed an Eskimo with a laser! Jesus Crackers! I just killed Bigfoot with an Eskimo! This game is too good. Now I'm driving an Aqua car to Vice City on a diplomatic mission of... Holy Crap Aliens!! Gotta go. See you on the 29th, lozers.”
Ahhh, it felt good. A perfectly health way taking out a year’s worth of rage stemming from fabricated GTAIV images, rumors and speculation bandied about the internet. My co workers found it both just and amusing, my parents called it "a hoot," and my bosses agreed to delay my firing to the tune of three business weeks. Hot Damn! All was right with the web.
Actually no... no, it most certainly it wasn't.