Why I Picked GTA IV For My Guinness Record

by Jeff Cork on Aug 03, 2011 at 07:03 AM

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit of a goof-off. I’m easily susceptible to distractions, which can make it hard for me to be productive. Over the years I’ve learned to manage this by keeping several different projects going at once. If I lose motivation or see something shiny in the distance, I can bounce over to something else. Yes, I am like a raccoon. That’s why Grand Theft Auto IV seems perfectly suited for my latest record attempt

Playing a game for more than 40 hours, is going to be a test of stamina, to be sure, but it’s also going to be stretching my attention span to its limit. Fortunately, GTA IV is filled with so many different distractions and side missions that I’m genuinely excited to press start on Saturday morning.

I vaguely remember playing the first GTA on my PC when it came out, but it didn’t leave many lasting memories. Like a lot of players, the series really came to life for me with the release of GTA III. I hadn’t experienced that sense of freedom in a game before—though King’s Field on the PSOne came close—and I played it obsessively for dozens of hours. Most of the time was spent on one particular save game. Loading it gave me a rocket launcher, a tank in the garage, and easy access to a parking ramp. Sometimes I’d roll over dozens of cars as I drove aimlessly. Other times, I spent my time running to the topmost part of the garage and creating an explosive standoff with Liberty City’s finest. Whatever I did, it usually ended with my character waking up in the hospital. Nope. Reload.

It took me an embarrassingly long time to finish the game, since I focused so much on dinking around. Oh well. While each subsequent release in the series was arguably better, or at least more polished, they never caught my imagination in the same way. After I got married and had more responsibilities, I couldn’t justify spending dozens of hours playing the same save game anymore. Plus, my backlog was starting up. Sure, causing mayhem on the streets of Vice City or San Andreas was fun, but I plowed through those games in a relatively short time.

I went through the same routine with GTA IV, and now I’m happy to have a chance to rectify that. The amount of side missions and diversions in that game blew me away, and I felt a little guilty that I never fully explored all that Liberty City had to offer. This time, I’m going to make a point of seeing everything.

That means I’ll go play darts with Roman every time he calls me up. I’m playing for more than 40 hours; what else do I have going on? I’m going to find every one of those damned pigeons. I’ll even steal all those dumb cars for Brucie. Why not? Since I need at least a little bit of structure, my immediate goal is to get the achievement for beating the game in less than 30 hours. That seems completely easy to do. After that, I’m planning to find the nearest rocket launcher, locate a parking garage, and cause trouble like it’s 2001.


Be sure to read why Ben is picking Metal Gear Solid, Tim picked Resident Evil, and why Dan chose the Mario series for their respective record attempts.


Also, I am going to obliterate their times. For reals.