The only problem with ordering an anticipated game through…

… is the fact that you rarely get to play it on launch day. The copy of Grand Theft Auto IV Collector’s Edition Anne bought me for our anniversary shipped on Monday. Which means it’ll probably arrive either about the time I leave for work today or sometime tomorrow at the earliest. You’d think Amazon would recognize how big a title this is and set up something along the lines of what they do for Harry Potter books to ensure that the title arrives on the day of release, but it’s only a video game so they don’t go through the extra trouble.

Anne had told me about the present ahead of time in part because she thought I might want her to cancel the order so I could pick up the game at one of the midnight launches, but I told her it wasn’t that big of a deal. Surprisingly I’m actually handling things pretty well without the usual can’t-wait-to-play-the-game cravings of times past. Perhaps it’s a sign that I’m older and more mature, but I suppose the fact that I’m immersed in a new job where I’m trying to get up to speed as quickly as possible also plays a role. Though there are the occasional moments, like this one, where I get a little bit antsy.

It also helps that Anne and I have been watching the first season of Burn Notice after hearing about how good it was from Nate, the coworker from my previous job. If you like spy shows that have a little humor in them then this may be right up your alley. It doesn’t hurt the appeal that Bruce Campbell has a recurring role in the series. The story centers on Michael Westen who works as a spy of some sort—we’re never really told what agency, if any, he’s a part of—who has had a burn notice put out on him. It’s the spy equivalent of being fired it seems and usually they just kill you, but in this case they dump him back in Miami and make it clear that should he try to leave the city the FBI would be all over him like white on rice. All his accounts and resources have been frozen so he has to take on odd jobs helping people to get the scratch together to find out who put the burn notice out and why.

Essentially it’s your typical reluctant-hero-helps-some-deserving-person every week show with an overarching background plot that deals with the problem that has disrupted his life. Like the Incredible Hulk but with spies instead of big green semi-deaf former body builders. Instead of just endless making the background story arch an endless procession of dead ends except for the occasional special episode, however, this show actually advances the background story arch with every episode. Things change over time and our hero gets a little closer to finding out the truth as the season progresses. This makes it very watchable and a refreshing change from the typical show of this sort. It has plenty of humor and action and is definitely worth catching in reruns if you’re not the sort to just bittorrent the shows like I did. When it comes out on DVD I’ll probably pick it up it’s that good. It looks like the second season starts on July 10th and I’m looking forward to it. Check it out if you haven’t already.

18 thoughts on “The only problem with ordering an anticipated game through…

  1. One of my friends went out and got the game in that new release day rush – I gotta say I just don’t get it.  I’ve played GTA since the first one (remember the overhead view? lol) and I just can’t imagine what they have left to add into the game.  Better graphics?  New missions? 

    I’d love to know whats so great about the newest version, but I can’t seem to get a hold of anyone who bought it.  wink

  2. Having only played a few hours I’m quite sure I haven’t uncovered everything that is new and exciting to me.  However, here is a short list of things that I’ve found in GTA 4 that are awesome.

    No longer can you drive completely recklessly in a car smash it brick wall at 100 MPH and assume “hey I can just jump out in time before the car explodes”.  Not anymore, if the car doesn’t explode instantly, you will be thrown through the windshield of the car and your body will slam into the wall and you will most likely die instantly.

    Or let’s say jack a sports car and end up running into a corner not hard enough to be ejected but still pretty damn hard.  Used to be you just reverse and then drive off. Nope, not you go to reverse just to hear the engine attempt to turn over with little success. You just ruined the engine of your nice get away vehicle and have to track down a new one.

    Those are just two of the great new things I’ve uncovered.  There’s plenty of other ones, I’m sure.  I definitely can’t wait for the intricate mini-games like pool, bowling and darts.

    I’m sure Les will get some kind of review up once he gets his copy and I’m quite sure it will be far more in depth and give you a much better idea of what is so great about GTA 4.

  3. I’m not too worried about the lockup issue. Word has it it’s mostly affecting early 60GB models and I bought mine at the end of the production run. Rockstar has said uninstalling and reinstalling the game seems to fix it, but even if it doesn’t it’s not like they won’t have a patch out PDQ.

    Hell, at the rate things are going it might even be out before I get the game.

  4. OK, I have a question that someone at work asked me, and I thought…“Gee, I don’t know…”.  The first GTA of this type was GTA III, then came Vice City, then San Andreas, now GTA IV? How is that possible? Are they just pretending GTA III was the first actual game in the series and ignoring the older, top down games? I guess I should probably assume that, but does anybody know for sure?

  5. I got the game yesterday for my xbox 360 and played for a couple of hours. Its the usual GTA type missions. In the beginning alot of chauffeur type missions. After about 8 missions I finally get a pistol on a shootout mission. What a relief to be able to actually shot people instead of punch them. I don’t really like the melee combat. You can throw different punches and headbutts but he doesn’t kick. So when your opponent is on the ground he stills punches no kicking. I like to be able to kick them when their down.

    Cutscenes are well done and the story seems interesting. Graphically there’s alot of dithering on distance objects and the shadows shimmer alot. This is coming from a pc gamer so I guess I’m spoiled by Crysis graphics. I think GTA IV would look alot better on pc. HDR lighting is well done and makes use of alot of blurring in the background probably for performance reasons. Day nigh cycle are cool and well done. Different times of day with different look

    physics in the game are great. I love the ragdoll physics. Crashing into things is alot more realistic. Niko walking and running animations are great. Walking up and down stairs animations are realistic.

    GTA IV is more of an evolution of the series. I thiink the reviewers on alot of sites are giving 10/10 because of the hype just like Halo 3 did. If I had to rate it right now I would give it a 9/10 score. Of course Im only a few hours into it and its a fun game. Im sure it will get better as I play more of it.

    To Bog brother: I think rockstar feels that vice city and san andres are versions 3.1, 3.2 since they use the same game engine.

    No lockup issues for me so far with xbox 360 version. Guys have fun playing this great game.

  6. If you include all of the *enter city name here* stories games that came out on the psp, then you would have I’m thinking around 4-5 game in between GTA III and IV.

    Anyways, I picked up my copy on release day and after having the employee (with my license in hand) try to tell me that I wasn’t 17… I was finally able to play this much hyped title (ign made such a huge deal out of giving it a 10).

    I must say it is pretty amazing.

    So far only complaints I’ve heard is the driving is very frustrating at first as it is realistic in a sense that you can’t make a turn when going full speed…

    Hope you enjoy it.

  7. xav0971, you can most definitely kick, not sure what button it is on the 360, but it’s square on the PS3 version.

    Only reason thus far I can come up with is that it is the “first” installment in what could be called the fourth generation of GTA, thus the 4 but I’m honestly pulling that guess out of no where.

  8. The game just arrived on my doorstep. It’s doing the mandatory install right now. I should get a good two hours in before work. I’ll post initial impressions later.

  9. Awesome, definitely want to hear your thoughts.  Sucks Amazon doesn’t see fit to ensure all new release items actually arrive on the day of they’re released.

  10. for dawkins & randi and the rest of the so-called “critical thinkers”…

    The *MODEL* of mental health:

    “Look at the ANGLE OF THE KEY….see that, see that….”

    what a fucking idiot this Randi is…..a REAL CRITICAL THINKER…..


      to see how we stopped James Randi’s fraudulent MILLION DOLLAR PARANORMAL challenge…..

      watch carefully the consequences of Randi’s *idea*…..

      For over 40 years James Randi Zwigert (is this even a REAL NAME?) has had total control over who and how the testing was conducted, yet despite all this he has terminated the challenge.

      The ONLY REASON why the challenge was stopped is because he lost and refused to pay.

      Apparently, Randi likes to break the rules when it serves him:

      “14. This prize will continue to be offered until it is awarded. Upon the death of James Randi, the administration of the prize will pass into other hands, and it is intended that it continue in force. “

      Great force…’s over……


      PS: Almost Forgot: Love the IRONY of the *BULLSHIT* sign over Randi’s ugly little head….

  11. And this was such a nice topic before the BS started to filter in.  There was nothing here about James Randi and paranormalists; it was about the new release of Grand Theft Auto 4.

    Your first link doesn’t make sense.  Ok, so he is quite animated.  Could you please demonstrate how exactly James Randi is a pseudo-skeptic.  Him being a magician, I think he is quite qualified to analyze his field, however, maybe he went overboard in this situation.  I can’t tell if that is what you imply because you have an annoying ad hominem in there about mental health.  Please refrain from such arguments. 

    I don’t feel there is anything much to discuss here cause you make a lot of claims without any backing up.  A lot of emotion and all but I just don’t get what you are trying to prove.  Jumping from Mr. Randi to Nostradamus seems to defeat any purpose of argument.  Could you please elaborate, if that is possible.

    Also your rants and tailings of Nostradamus are too long winded without easily followable organization.  tl, dr and all that.  Are you suggesting that Nostradamus predicted the release of GTA4?  That would be a very interesting point.

    Oh and the finger was a nice touch.  Why don’t you use it to shove it up your E-prick.  The most nonsensical post I’ve seen in a long time. Go suck on a Boji stone before you come back here.

  12. to see how we stopped James Randi’s fraudulent MILLION DOLLAR PARANORMAL challenge…..

    watch carefully the consequences of Randi’s *idea*…..

    For over 40 years James Randi Zwigert (is this even a REAL NAME?) has had total control over who and how the testing was conducted, yet despite all this he has terminated the challenge.

    The ONLY REASON why the challenge was stopped is because he lost and refused to pay.

    I have a very good idea who put up the funds for the million dollar challenge and this backer doesn’t miss a million. There’s nothing fraudulent about the prize money being there, nor is there anything fraudulent about the testing. It’s interesting to note that the big-name fraudsters know better than to enter the challenge and that the wannabes who do can’t make it past a professional magician.

    I don’t know why he withdrew the challenge, but he made his point. If he’d lost, you’d think the winner would make a big deal out of it, eh.

  13. I see David has finally showed up here on SEB. He’s been spamming me and a few other people for awhile now with this same message over and over again. I laughed at him in email and his response was quite telling. His first reply was the ever witty:

    whatever, you little idiot….

    now run away before I hurt you……

    And his second one was:

    you will BURN IN HELL , fucker….

    So we can see just how stable a mentality we’re dealing with here.

    For the record, if he continues to spam entries with inappropriate comments (read: ones that have no bearing on the thread in question) I’ll probably end up banning his ass.

  14. Yeah David also spammed my blog:

    Here’s his IP, if you want to add a rule.

    davidmabus (IP: ,

    He previously commented with a link that he claimed showed how he stopped Randi’s million dollar challenge. My comment back was:

    David – I find it interesting that the other readers on that thread scolded you for being a troll, and you didn’t even appear to notice it. Do you read other people’s comments, or just post whatever brain static happens to be randomly firing at the time?

    Now he’s back after not listening.  Imagine that.

  15. yay! I finally got a mention in your blog! I’d like to thank the academy, my family, and God himself for this honor.

    Glad you like the show. I was hoping I’d finally find something you could actually tolerate to watch.

    I finally made it over to your blog since you’ve left working with us =(  the VEC just isn’t the same without your particularly unique brand of cynical jadedness running rampant. Hope your new co-workers appreciate it as much as most of us did.

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