Grand Theft Auto is no doubt one of the most popular video game franchises ever created. It has almost everything a gamer could ever ask for. Cars, guns, violence, crime, and women. It’s an open world for gamers to let loose and forget about all the troubles of the real world.
When Grand Theft Auto 4 was released in April of 2008, I instantly fell in love with the game. Working retail at the time, I was able to weasel a copy a week early and was playing it before anyone else got their hands on it. With the exception of reviewers, of course. I was like a kid in a candy store. I had been waiting to play this since the announcement at E3 in 2006. My friend, current HBG webmaster Peter and I spent much of the week playing the game. Peter and I often remarked about the amount of content the game had to offer. Peter even said to me, “think of the hours of entertainment a game like this will provide. This game will cost you $60 one time. When you break it down, it’s an incredible value.” He was right about that.
From time to time, Peter said something else that made sense about GTA IV. He would often comment, “a game like this is recession proof.” I didn’t realize how true it was at the time, but I later found out it was spot-on when I lost my job, and couldn’t afford new games like I used to. I ended up spending a lot of time in Liberty City. Grand Theft Auto IV eventually became a staple of the live broadcast HBG does every Monday – Friday. It was a game where the community could join and be a part of what was going on. It was there on the live broadcast that we gave birth to some custom gametypes that also became of staple of HBG and our GTA IV escapades.
With everything Grand Theft Auto has to offer, it’s easy to see how one could spend many hours playing it. I have personally spent over 700 hours playing this game. While it might be more, my Raptr has logged close to 700 hours since I linked it to my account in the beginning of 2009, so for arguments sake, with the addition of my singleplayer play-time, it’s been well over 700 hours now.
I’d like to take this chance to tell everyone how I spent my time in Liberty City — singleplayer and multiplayer. I’m pretty sure a lot of you out there will enjoy the multiplayer stuff when we get to it.
100% Completion of Vanilla GTA – Story Completion of TLAD and BOGT
From the moment I started playing the singleplayer, I knew I wanted to complete it 100%. I spent 71 hours, 13 minutes, and 03 seconds spanned over the course of a month and a half achieving this goal. I remember at the time my girlfriend and I were having issues and decided to take a “break,” so I was in the clear of any distractions that might keep me from achieving my goal — it was fucking great. The motto at the time was “disregard bitchy girlfriend, acquire pigeons.”
I was working six days a week at the time, but my free time was consumed with GTA. The minute I walked in the door, I’d grab a can of Arizona Ice Tea, sit down, and play. Shortly after completing the storyline in the game, I went on to tackling all of the side content. While everything else went pretty quickly, the pigeons ended up being the most challenging part. I remember sitting there with a map of their locations and crossing them off one by one as I shot those little bastards.
However, it didn’t help that every time I shot one of the pigeons, I would get a wanted level. It just added to the time it took, but I was determined to finish the job. I found all of the pigeons one island at a time and figured this was the best way to approach it. After all the time it took, I remember how great I felt when the achievement for finding all the pigeons, and 100% completion of the game popped up. I breathed a sigh of relief, and felt accomplished. I had done what many might call a nerdy thing to do, but it was fun — damn fun.
After the two DLC packs were announced, I was absolutely thrilled. I wanted nothing more than to have fresh singleplayer content. Let’s face facts here, while GTA is fun, there is only so much you can really do in the singleplayer once you’ve completed it. When The Lost and Damned was released, I was quick to beat the story, but I didn’t explore the side content as I did with vanilla GTA. The same ended up being true for The Ballad of Gay Tony as well. I quickly finished the story, but didn’t do anything after that. 100% completion on vanilla GTA was still good enough for me.
Multiplayer – Free Mode and GTA Races
I found an extension of my love for Grand Theft Auto in its multiplayer. I wasn’t big on playing ranked matches, co-op, or competitively online, but I did play those few modes at first when I started to dive into the game’s multiplayer. I had to explore to find out what I did and didn’t like. Through the process of elimination, I found it was free-mode and GTA races that are truly my favorites.
It wasn’t until I started playing online with the Hot Blooded Gaming community that I found my true love and appreciation for GTA IV’s multiplayer. This was where the fun really began and many many hours were spent. We came up with silly races, custom game modes, and spent days trying to get a man on the statue of happiness’ cup. We did many other things that I grew to love and still love to this very day.
Essentially, free mode put a virtual world at our finger-tips and we used it to our advantage. With any game like this, there is always more to do than what’s there on the surface. All it takes is a little imagination and the right people to go along for the ride. We’ve come up with and played several custom gametypes that I feel a lot of other people would enjoy. That’s why I’ve decided to write this post. To share some of the fun that this community and I have had.
A-Team Custom Gametype – Free Mode
This is my personal favorite out of all the custom game modes that we’ve come up with over the years. A community game of GTA IV is not complete without a round or two of the A-Team. This gametype has even received it’s own post on Kotaku. That was a great honor for not only myself, but the community as well. Playing it is very simple, but it requires complete cooperation from all those involved. Want to learn how to play so you and your friends can try it out? Well, let me tell you!
First you’re going to want to get as many people as you can. We usually play with a full 16 player game. We find that this has the best results and helps to keep things interesting. As they say, the more, the merrier! Now, to get started you’re going to assemble four players in a either or a van or a black Huntley Sport with a red stripe on the side. The Huntley Sports with the red stripe are found more in Ballad of Gay Tony. I have yet to see one in vanilla GTA, so for vanilla — stick to the van. Also, you want to make sure you have friendly fire OFF when you play this. If you’re a fan of the A-Team series, you’ll know that has the A-Team doesn’t actually kill anyone. They just cause a lot of damage.
All the other players can either team up in a single car or have their own. The pursuers and A-Team are limited to just using SMGs, or pistols. Nothing explosive is allowed. That means no RPGs, grenades, and moltovs. Also, the pursuers are not allowed to use a helicopter. After you’ve acquired your weapons and vehicles, everyone will want to start near, or at the Prison in Alderney. This is where you’re going to want to start pumping the A-Team theme song to give you some motivation. Also, it wouldn’t be the A-Team without it, right?
When you begin, the van gets a head start of about 10-15 seconds. Once that 10-15 second grace period is up, the other players may begin the chase. At this point, the A-Team must fight to stay alive. Death or capture is not an option for the A-Team — never has been, never will be. I pity the fool who gets captured or destroyed! The A-Team’s primary objective is to make it to the Airport in Dukes. Once at the airport, the four members of the team must extract in one of the available choppers.
There is a set route to the airport. You can see said route in the video below.
As previously stated, death or capture is not an option for the A-Team!¬† This is probably one of my favorite gametypes to play whenever there are enough people. It’s fun, exciting, and I’m a huge fan of the A-Team, so this is right up my ally. Anyone who is a fan of the series can appreciate this and have a lot of fun with the gametype.
Unique Races – GTA Race or Race Mode
Instead of just doing regular old races where everyone can pick the car they wanted, we decided to make things interesting. Everybody in the game is required to pick the same vehicle. Depending on the vehicle chosen, the race was given it’s own unique name. These races were inspired by people, pop-culture, or some other medium of entertainment or media.
These can all be done in either GTA Race or regular Race with vanilla GTA. They can also be played on any track your heart desires. Here’s a list of some of the unique races that we’ve come up with over the last few years. Fair warning, the last few might offend some people. Just remember, you’ve been warned.
Joe Pesci Race:
Race Class: Vintage
If you’ve ever watched movies like Goodfellas or My Cousin Vinny, it’s pretty obvious that this car bears a resemblance to the car that Joe Pesci’s driven in those movies. That’s why this race has been given the honor of being named the “Joe Pesci Race.”
Barbie Sports Car Race:
Race Class: Sports
Vehicle: Sultan RS
This one should be pretty self explanatory — it’s a pink sports car. This would be right up Barbie’s ally. During the race, you might want to listen to that song Barbie Girl from all those years ago. It helps set the mood for the race.
Race Class: SUV
Vehicle: Huntley Sport
Another one that is pretty self-explanatory. While it might not be a van, the black car with red stripe on the side has a resemblance to the A-Team vehicle. During the race, you should put the A-Team theme song on to make it feel a little more authentic.
Race Class: Motorcycles
Vehicle: PCJ 600
This one might not be as obvious as the others. The color scheme is that of McDonalds — the good old yellow and red. Whoever is the purple colored player in the race is Grimace. Grief them during the race. That’s why this is called the Grimace race!
Dirty Sanchez Race:
Race Class: Motorcycles
Yeah, you should be able to figure it out. It’s just a dirt-bike named “Sanchez.” What? It’s nothing bad! Get your minds out of the gutters! It’s DEFINITELY not what you’re thinking it is — or is it? The world may never know.
Pedo Van Race:
Race Class: Vans
Ever see that “Free Candy” van picture that’s floating around the internet? The van above strikes a nice resemblance to that van. That’s why this race has been dubbed “The Pedo Van Race.” Also, you can’t help but laugh that the van is named Speedo
GTA Triathlons – GTA Race (Vanilla) / Free Mode (BOGT)
The idea of the triathlon is exactly what it says it is — a triathlon. However, we’ve come up with two different triathlons for vanilla GTA and BOGT. Each has it’s own unique route, but the basic concept is the same.
Vanilla GTA Triathlon
To do a triathlon in vanilla GTA, you’re going to want to go into GTA Race. The race track you’re going to chose is “Taxiing,” and everyone competing is going to chose the Sanchez. The order in which this race takes place is bike > on foot > swimming. Players will go from the airport to the end of the Algonquin Bridge. Once players reach the end of the bridge, they are to get off their bikes and run on foot to the end of the heli-tour pads. Once the player reaches the end of the heli-tour pad, they will jump into the water, and then swim all the way to Happiness Island.
The first player to reach the Statue of Happiness is the winner. The total race time can run about 10 minutes, but with a full game and some inspirational music blasting in the background — it’s quite epic. We’ve made a video you can check out.
It’s safe to say that this is a long race, and a true test of a players endurance. Do you think you have what it takes?
Ballad of Gay Tony Triathlon:
A triathlon in Ballad of Gay Tony is slightly different than the one you just saw for vanilla GTA. Players can do this in free mode rather than GTA race. This time around there is no bike involved. This one takes advantage of the parachute feature added in The Ballad of Gay Tony.
Players will start at a point at the end of the Algonquin Bridge. They will run on foot to the Empire State Building replica — The Rotterdam Tower. From there, players will go to the top and parachute from that point to the end of the dock closest to Alderney on Happiness Island. Yes, it is possible, it just takes a little skill. Players MUST hit the dock or they are counted as disqualified. After players hit the dock, they are to jump into the water and swim to the yacht. The first person to extract with chopper at the yacht is the winner!
This triathlon isn’t as long as the one in vanilla GTA, but it’s just as fun. Again, it’s better when you have a large group of players and some inspirational music going in the background. To show you the full route and where to start, we’ve added another video for you to check out.
The GTA Olympics is a mix of all the crazy things we’ve just told you about. This was given life shortly after we came up with the Triathlon in vanilla GTA. The events consist of some of the aforementioned, as well as a standard online gametype in GTA IV. You’ll need to be a little more organized for this one and have some sort of scoring system that awards points to each player depending on what they place in each event. At this point, it’s up to you to decide the point values. After you have that all set-up, you’re ready to go.
A full GTA Olympics consists of the following events.
Pick any of the races from above or come up with your own. The only catch is that all the players must use the same vehicle. The reason they must all use the same vehicle is to keep things fair. All events must be balanced to give players an equal chance at winning. However, if you want to spice things up and enable “survival of the fittest,” you can do this in GTA Race mode. To keep things fair, just chose regular race.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Just straight up free-for-all deathmatch. We’d suggest using SMGs or Assault Rifles for this. Make sure players all spawn with the same weapons.
As the final event, a GTA Triathlon. The final test of endurance and to see who has what it takes to win after going through all the previous events. You’ll need to keep a close eye on who comes in what place in order to appropriately score participants.
After all these events are said and done, the person with the most points is declared the GTA Olympics champion. Do you think you have what it takes? I will admit though, setting up and organizing one of these is a bit of a pain, but the end result is well worth the effort.
GTA Bowling – Free Mode
Yet another one of the crazy things we’ve come up with in GTA IV — GTA Bowling. It’s a fairly simple concept and for the best results, you’ll want to have a full game in free mode. To get set up, all the other players in the game are to stand at one end of the runway at the airport. They will act like the pins. One player will use either a chopper or a Ripley.
When the players are all set up and ready to go at the one end of the runway, the player in the chopper or Ripley will haul ass down the runway towards the others. Naturally that players goal is to strike the other players all set up at their end. Pretty simple right? Chopper/Ripley is the ball, and the other players are the pins. By now you’ve figured out why it’s called GTA Bowling, or at least we hope you have.
Check out the video below for a demonstration of how it’s done.
The Adventures of Mr. Tasty
Since the release back in 2008, I’ve always said I wanted to make a movie or some sort of machinima using GTA IV. Well, in the summer of 2009, that dream became a reality. While it didn’t go too far, and only lasted four episodes, it was a lot of fun to make. However, it was massive undertaking between all the filming and editing.
Filming using a console version of the game made it more of a challenge than if we were to use the PC version. The console versions just doesn’t allow for a lot of the awesome camera angles and cinematic tricks you can achieve on the PC. Nonetheless, it was still really awesome to see all the work we did come together in the way it did.
The premise of the series was to be simple. It followed the life of a violent, disgruntled, foul mouthed ice cream man who has his world turned upside down by the “cart mafia.” He would spend his time battling what seemed to be insurmountable odds — all while screaming “fuckers” over and over. It lacked a solid plot and the voice acting was pretty bad too. Those two things helped to bring the series to an early demise. However, there were some pretty sweet action scenes.
Here is just one of the four episodes we made.
As you can see, not much in the voice acting or plot department. The screaming of “fucker” over and over again seemed little bit pointless looking back, but hey — some people enjoyed it. While it might have not gone very far, and was short lived, it was just another way I spent my time with GTA IV. Maybe one day down the road, Mr. Tasty will make his return.
As you can see, with an open world and a little creativity, games like Grand Theft Auto can go quite a long way. The HBG community and myself have stretched the game past the boundaries of what was already given to us right out of the box. We’ve enjoyed so much more than was originally intended. As I remarked earlier, a community game of GTA just isn’t complete with a round of the A-Team, a GTA Triathlon, or the other stuff we’ve come up with.
While most games give you the same old multiplayer over and over again, I’ve come to realize that Grand Theft Auto has provided a unique experience every time I’ve played it. While the gametypes might be the same, some of the most random things happen every time we play. It only add to the entertainment value. Grand Theft Auto IV cost me $60 at launch, and $20 per expansion. I’ve spent $100 in total on Grand Theft Auto IV. When you break it down even further, I’ve paid roughly $0.14 for each hour of fun I’ve had with the game. That’s an incredible bargain.
The game will keep on giving as I continue playing it until the release of the next Grand Theft Auto — whenever that may be. Here’s to 700 fantastic hours, and many more to come. That folks is how I’ve spent my 700+ hours playing Grand Theft Auto IV.
[Editor's note: There are a few gametypes we play that we didn't mention in the main post for one of a few reasons. We didn't come up with it, or they don't have the staying power of the ones mentioned above. We feel they should still be mentioned in some capacity, so here is an honorable mention of them
Grenade Baseball - Impossible to finish a game. Gets disorganized extremely quick.
Demolition Derby - Fun as hell, but we didn't come up with the idea.
Fight Club - Just beat the piss out of each other at the top of a building. Last man standing wins. It gets old fast though and is impossible to set up without failing over and over again.
Mr Tasty and Fire-Truck Races - not really too original like the ones above, but staples of community play.
There is so much you can do with GTA IV. If you have any fun custom gametypes or something you do with GTA IV that you'd like to share, leave a comment and let us know!]
TL;DR: I played 700+ hours of GTA IV and came up with some kick ass custom gametypes and made a machinima.