It was the greatest armistice in history. Battlefields across the galaxy fell silent. The winds of a thousand worlds blew unfelt past vast piles of discarded weapons. But in one place -- a dirty, crowded metropolis -- a noise exploded into life. It was something like: "ScreeeeeeeeLCPD!Getoutofthevehicle!Ratatatata."
Grand Theft Auto IV is, in the words of Radio 4's Today programme (no kidding), 'the entertainment event of the year'. It will make more money than any movie, album, tour or TV show in 2008. I ponied up my cash yesterday like everyone else and dashed home from work to play (well, before the football kicked off, anyway).
Most of my Xbox friends list were on it -- the rest must've been out of the country or something. Seriously, no one's playing anything else. We're all getting to know Niko Bellic and his laughably scuzzy low-rent gangster pals. Some took the day off work. Everyone at CNET and on wants to know what I thought of it. That's an event -- when something invades every conversation you have.
What do I think? I think Niko's a dead ringer for Jason Statham. I don't know yet whether it's worth universal 10/10s, but I do know it's the most densely satirical, ambitious and dramatic game of its generation. It's funny and brutal, like a family picnic with the Simpsons and the Sopranos. And I want to play it an awful lot more. After the football.