Jacked: The Outlaw Story of Grand Theft Auto MP3 CD – 3 Apr 2012
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From the Inside Flap
How does a group of young underdogs with big dreams but little experience transform a culture and industry? In the case of the $75 billion video game business, it helps if the outfit is run by a brash iconoclast with the vision of an outlaw and the work ethic of a Puritanand grew up madly in love with gangster movies, video games, and rap music. It also helps if the company makes the most revolutionary, controversial, and successful video game franchise everGrand Theft Auto. In Jacked, acclaimed author and journalist David Kushner takes you on an unauthorized joyride through the high–risk, high–profit, and fast–moving world of the biggest players in the game industryand the haters out to get them. He reveals the untold story behind the people who created the product that defined one generation and infuriated another. Drawing on more than a decade of his own reporting, game playing, and interviewing, Kushner goes deep inside the making of Grand Theft Auto (GTA), long veiled in secrecy, rumor, and myth. He also examines the cultural and political backlash that sent sales soaring, even as it threatened the game′s continued existence. This is a pop culture story for the ages. It begins in the back alleys of Dundee, Scotland, where the geeky geniuses at DMA Design invented GTA. Fledgling marketer and rebellious gamer Sam Houser saw GTA′s enormous potential and pushed DMA to make it bolder, wilder, and funnier, and let players freely explore the game′s gritty cities, wreaking havoc whenever they pleased. With its groundbreaking innovations and cinematic flair, GTA quickly became the centerpiece of Houser′s new company, Rockstar Games, and the hottest title on the planet. But one of America′s most notorious culture warriors, Jack Thompson, had his own missionto ensure that GTA was banned from store shelves for corrupting youth and to bring Rockstar to their kneeseven as the gamers of the world rallied against him. With its incredible artistry, arch satire, and massive press coverage, GTA earned critical and commercial acclaim around the world, breaking the Guinness record for most successful entertainment product launch of all time. But deep within its urban wasteland lurked a nasty little secretthe now–famous sex mini–game, "Hot Coffee." It would mean big trouble for Rockstar Games and bring Houser and his rival, Thompson, to the brink. Whichever side you′re on, Jacked gives you a new understanding of this breakout industry, and the game that defined it. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
Praise for Masters of Doom "A fascinating portrait of visionary coders transforming a previously marginal hobby into a kind of twenty–first–century art form—and enraging an entire generation of parents along the way. Kushner tells the story with intelligence and a great sense of pacing. Masters of Doom is as riveting as the games themselves." — Steven Johnson , author of Everything Bad Is Good for You and Where Good Ideas Come From " Masters of Doom is an excellent archetypal tale of hard work and genius being corrupted by fame too young and fortune too fast. I rooted for these guys, was inspired by them, and then was disturbed by them—and was fascinated from beginning to end." — Po Bronson , coauthor of NurtureShock "Kushner′s mesmerizing tale of the Two Johns moves at a rapid clip . . . describing the twists and turns of fate that led them to team up in creating the most powerful video games of their generation . . . An exciting combination of biography and technology." — USA Today "Meticulously researched . . . as a ticktock of the creative process and as insight into a powerful medium too often dismissed as kids′ stuff, Masters of Doom blasts its way to a high score." — Entertainment Weekly "Kushner′s portrait of Carmack is lustrous and gripping . . . An impressive and adroit social history." — The New York Times Book Review "Terrifically told . . . The storytelling is so fluid, so addictive, that your twitching thumbs keep working the pages." — The Washington Post Book World --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
It is a rather fascinating story that has been well told by David Kushner. It's possible that he might be a bit biased on the side of the gaming industry with how he presented his arguments. I can't really hold that against him as his arguments do make sense.
One of the key themes of this book is how people blame the violence and lack of moral value in GTA for real life crimes.
Personally I see this as weak or opportunistic people placing blame on something undeserved. I strongly believe that people need to be held accountable for their own actions. With this in mind I couldn't help but find it all the more fascinating how this book chronicled Rockstar's struggles with such Social Justice Warriors.
Overall this was an enjoyable book and about as good an advert for GTA as any I have heard before. I am not much of a gamer myself, but after reading this book I find myself interested in playing the game that has spawned this level of attention.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Unfortunately this fails to give enough shape and tension to the book, perhaps because these two characters don't know, and don't generally even acknowledge one another. The book probably would have been more interesting if Kushner had detailed more of the bizarre actions that got Thompson disbarred and had focused more on Sam's megalomania. The book also might have been more interesting if it gave you more of a sense of how GTA was developed in the way Masters of Doom gave you a strong sense for what game development was like.
Jacked is also poorly copy edited - I saw an unusual number of typos - and Kushner's prose is sometimes clumsy. It's a perfectly readable book, but ultimately doesn't bring much to the table.
Sam Housar is a man who came to America with such wild dreams. The president and co-founder of Rockstar Games wanted to create video games that reminded him of the movies he enjoyed in his youth. Not only that, he wanted to make games immersive and sophisticated - an art form that older generations could no longer stereotype as 'children's toys.' But after the multimillion dollar success of the Playstation 2's "Grand Theft Auto" trilogy, Sam and his rebel crew at Rockstar found themselves caught in the crosshairs of an American culture war fueled by puritanical politicians and parents. Pressure only worsened as Rockstar's parent company, Take-Two Interactive, was struck by fraud investigations. Suddenly, making envelope-pushing video games was no longer a dream job... collided with cold reality, it was hell on earth.
The Hot Coffee scandal in particular really drove the boys to the brink. "Jacked" does a good job of showing the immense amounts of tension and soul-crushing strife in the aftermath that forced many to leave the company and others to view their stressful work environment as a place that wasn't quite so fun anymore.
Meanwhile, behind enemy lines and spearheading the attack on Rockstar (or at least trying to make a name for himself as a crusader for justice) was an embittered Miami lawyer. Having already had moderate success against Two-Live Crew and Howard Stern, Jack Thompson trained his litigating guns on a new scourge that was not only threatening the youth of America in his eyes, but putting his young son in danger on a daily basis: violent video games. And Rockstar made just the type of product that got Thompson's infamous press releases rolling.
"Jacked" fascinated me. I followed the entire controversy and free-for-all between Thompson, politicians and Rockstar Games during my college years, and this book recounts those warring days in perfect detail. I remember the blowup over "Kill All the Haitians," Hot Coffee, the numerous proposed bills, and Thompson's persistent trolling of GamePolitics.com. I was there for it all - and "Jacked" was a wonderful trip back in time as well as a fulfilling journey behind the scenes.
Speaking of Jack Thompson, the book's portrayal of him is surprisingly sympathetic. For gamers, he has come to represent a kind of mustache-twirling supervillain, a destroyer of fun wherever it may be. In stark contrast, the man presented here is a concerned father who only wants to make the world a safer, cleaner place for his son. Of course, if one were to dig up Thompson's lengthy, rambling, bile-filled press releases (which "Jacked" doesn't quite reproduce) they might see a different side of the disbarred lawyer... perhaps a man driven mad by a crusade that has consumed him.
Each chapter is headed by an illustration or quote that makes the story feel like it's straight out of a "Grand Theft Auto" playthrough. As Rockstar gets in larger amounts of trouble, the chapters are illustrated with increasing 'Wanted Level' stars. I loved this little element - it made the book even more of a fun ride.
Perhaps the book could have gone into more detail about some things. For example, Kushner left out any mention of Volition Inc. and how Sam Housar might have felt about the GTA clone "Saints Row" series - especially "Saints Row 2," which some gamers jumped onto as a response to GTA IV's focus on heavy realism and man-dates. The Sam in "Jacked" doesn't strike me as the type of person who would be too happy about that.
All in all, this was not only a great book, but a captivating page turner. I was sad to see it end so quickly. Like "Masters of Doom," "Jacked" has all the right elements for a fantastic movie: drama, humor and heartbreak. If you're like me and you've spent hundreds of hours between "GTAIII," "Vice City" and "San Andreas," you'd be doing yourself a huge favor by reading this book.
Kushner writes clearly and cogently about Grand Theft Auto. I did not now HOW successful a venture that game was. WOW!He makes it evident, but more, he gives you a terrific insight into the whacky life of the creators and how Grand Theft Auto came into being and the extraordinary impact it had on the whole gaming industry from players to Congress.
I would like to see this book as an HBO special or a movie. It will have a huge audience.
I expected a good deal of bias. I figured Sam Houser would be portrayed as likeable, while Jack Thompson would be slandered. However, I felt sympathetic towards both men at the start of the book and sort of hated them both by the end. Additionally, Rockstar's actions throughout the GTA controversies and the working conditions, apparently for all of their games, left me feeling a bit guilty for supporting the company.
Overall, I enjoyed the book a great deal, finishing it within a day, but it left a bitter taste in my mouth, despite the fact that Kushner tried to show how they had "grown up" with GTA IV.