Monday, 12 September 2011

Top 10 - Ways of procrastinating in Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto - a franchise more recognised and established than Justin Bieber's hate mail collection. But, if you think about it, it hasn't really become so well-known through its gripping narrative or deep character development (although that has helped). It's through the ability gifted to the gamer to f**k around endlessly that has got people coming back for more, time and time again. When the original title came along in 1997 for the Playstation, the free roaming aspect of gaming was largely uncharted territory. Now, with huge advances in technology and a spectrum of titles to its name, the initialism GTA has become a household name in regard to having fun in a no limits environment - coined as a 'Sandbox Game'.  The latest title (Grand Theft Auto IV) - which follows the story of Polish immigrant Niko Bellic - isn't universally accepted as the epitome of the franchise, but the focus will solely be on this particular instalment due to its enhanced accessibility on consoles in the present day. So without further ado, let's forget the missions, and delve into some procrastination...

NOTE: Grand Theft Auto IV is made for adult gamers and is rated as such. Therefore it isn't intended to (and I most certainly don't) condone actions played out in the game, due to mature individuals being aware of its virtual denotation.

10. Hand-braking around corners

In the real world, I wouldn't endorse this sort of behaviour. But, as you'll find out, not many of the inserts on this list would be met with open arms by the government. There's no doubt that you'll most likely find yourself speeding whilst operating a vehicle during large parts of the game. If not, Grand Theft Sunday Driver might be the sort of title that missed your eye while you were searching for 'fun' games to play during your days off. Liberty City (the game's environment) amazingly does feature corners in its road network. However, speeding and cornering isn't the perfect marriage - but speeding and hand-braking sure is! Brilliant fun... Especially when the tail of your car kicks out and sends a fire hydrant tumbling down the street.

9. Breaking into car show rooms

It's always nice to acquire a free set of wheels, especially if they can go from zero to sixty in less than five seconds! There's also something about the satisfaction of driving an expensive car through a massive glass pane that more than makes up for you feeling guilty about stealing. After all, you wouldn't get that sort of chance in the real world... Unless you like spending time in prison.

8. Driving down the Airport runway

As you can imagine, the cops on the game will be onto your ass immediately if you even think about attempting to do this. Providing you manage to flee from the law in the long run, it's pretty fun sending your vehicle hurtling under oncoming passenger jets. "What? I've got a mission to do? Sorry, I'm too busy getting chased by a SWAT team down the Airport runway." If you rang up your boss with that as an excuse for missing work one day, I reckon you'd have an undeniably good case for being absent.

7. Throwing grenades out of your vehicle during pursuits

I can't really find many reasons to support this action's position in the Top 10, apart from that it's infinitely fun. If you manage to time your grenade throwing antics perfectly, you'll be met with police car laden fireworks. Just make sure that you don't hold on for too long before throwing a grenade, or you'll find yourself being the centre piece of the light show. Procrastination on a virtual scale at a more explosive level.

6. Listening to the City's radio network

The attention to detail in terms of the amount of radio stations available to you while driving around in Liberty City is impressive. But it's not the musical aspect to the simulated stations that humours me; it's the copious amount of fake product endorsement, mock parodies and hilarious news stories that get me giggling. I could quite happily cruise around the City streets all day, listening to and laughing at some of the priceless radio snippets thrown at me in the game. And with radio station names like 'Electro Choc', you can't go wrong!

5. Taking down police helicopters

It's just an unrivalled satisfaction. Take down the pilot and watch the aircraft plummet, or whip out the rocket launcher and finish the job explosively. Either way, it's great fun!

4. Ignoring everyone's phone calls

Why would you want to play darts or go ten-pin bowling with your annoying cousin Roman, when you can be having so much more fun on your lonesome? With many more important objectives on your agenda, such as stealing stretch limousines from unsuspecting chauffeurs, it's very clear to see that Roman would understand. The steroid pumped loony Bruce, who often refers to himself as "Brucey baby!", will definitely have to leave a voice mail as well. Whatever he's got to say can certainly wait until after you've accidentally driven your limo off of a pier.

3. Becoming a designated helicopter tour guide

Located in Algoquin, to the far South of the island, you'll find Heli-Tours - one of the City's fictional tourist hot spots. It is possible to take part in a tour as passenger, but this is GTA - why not become your own tour guide? Just kick the pilot out of his chopper and bag a free helicopter. A proven case that Grand Theft Auto enhances career prospects.

2. Laughing at how clear a rip-off Liberty City is of New York

In New York City for example, you have the well known districts of Brooklyn and Queens. Liberty City introduces you to... Broker and Dukes - hilariously titled recreations of the originals. There is no denying that Grand Theft Auto IV's city environment is heavily based on New York, but some of the intentional mirror locations and their names are far from the connotations of an Empire State. The Statue of Happiness? Located on Happiness Island? Oh, come on! What makes it even funnier is that, instead of a torch, Liberty's imposter holds a paper drinks cup aloft. But the one that really shows a lack of creativity and originality on the part of the game's developers goes to Central Park's Liberty City alternative - Middle Park. If that wasn't made to sound intentionally crap and corny; then someone, somewhere along the line definitely needs to invest in a Thesaurus. Make sure you also check out Star Junction - Times Square on a budget.

1. Watching the television, and getting hooked

The Serrated Edge: a show selling knifes and weaponry in the distinctive style of QVC. I'm Rich: a skit on E! Entertainment's entirely dire celebrity gossip programmes. Republican Space Rangers: a cartoon which I cannot begin to grasp on any level. These are all examples of the entirely high brow shows that you would expect to be met with when tuning into Liberty City's television network. I once sat and watched around two wholly concocted hours of virtual television whilst playing Grand Theft Auto IV. It got me hooked, but there is no reason why it should have done. It's rubbish, but so strangely addictive. I wasn't just procrastinating on the game, I was procrastinating in real life! That's why it's my number one.

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