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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 Puritan--and 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 ever--Grand 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 industry--and 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 mission--to ensure that GTA was banned from store shelves for corrupting youth and to bring Rockstar to their knees--even 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 secret--the 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.