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It tastes like asphalt

By Shamus
on Friday Apr 20, 2007
Filed under:


I have made a new YouTube video:

Yes, the tasks in GTA are strange, pointless, and nonsensical, but at least they make up for it by being unreasonably difficult!

My previous YouTube video has over half a million views. This one isn’t nearly as entertaining and I don’t expect it to show up all over the place the way the other one did, but it was still fun to make and acted as a sort of catharsis for dealing with the sometimes high frustration level of the game.

Comments (33)

  1. Marty says:

    The Rollercoaster Tycoon bowling video was yours?

    Damn. You’re a funny, funny man. And slightly disturbed as well.

  2. Jeremiah says:

    I don’t know how you do it (or anyone else for that matter). I’d have given up long before that and broken multiple things and/or set them on fire. I’m glad I’ve never been a fan of the GTA franchise

  3. Stephen says:

    Yeah, that’s pretty much exactly my experience with GTA.
    I played through about two thirds of Vice City then hit one level I couldn’t beat and just didn’t have the energy to practice until I could.

  4. thark says:

    In their defense, hidden packages are extremely optional and there precisely for the people who enjoy that sort of thing.

    I love the GTA games intensely. The sort of “search for all the obscurely hidden crap” stuff you get in a lot of recent games (but even including such things as getting all heart pieces in a Zelda game or whatever) bores me a tears–I enjoy engaging in the challenge, I don’t enjoy searching for it. So I don’t engage in it. I’m never going to get any 100% completion flags, but fortunately that doesn’t bother me, and I remain a GTA-lover.

    I do, on the other hand, enjoy honing my attempts at a mission time and time again until I finally succeed, as long as it’s not too long–or rather, the there’s not too much time spent on non-challenging parts of it such as transportation in between the actual challenging parts–and some feeling of getting closer to success on successive attempts. Not to say that I find the difficulty in the games perfectly balanced–certainly, some missions in each game fail those criteria–but on the whole, they have a pretty decent batting average for me.

  5. Cineris says:

    Sums up my experience with the GTA series exactly.

    I wouldn’t be so irritated by it if this kind of thing were only for optional things (Hidden Packages), but the missions can be far worse. I remember in GTA3 being stuck on a single mission to snipe at some Cuban smugglers for about three months. Even using the in-game cheats I found it nearly impossible.

  6. rou says:

    So, I shouldn’t mention that there is an easier way to get that one?

  7. astro says:

    That was hilarious. I don’t know how fast time passes in the game, but when the sun went down and you were still at it I couldn’t stop laughing…

    Good choice of song, too.

  8. AndrewNZachsDad says:

    Yeah, I loved the flow from day to night also. I’m glad you finished it, Shamus, but I would have hurt myself laughing if you had still been at it when the sun came back up. :)

    Oh, and thanks for getting me turned on to They Might Be Giants. Now that I’ve started enjoying their music, I might actually be on the way to being a real geek, instead of a wannabe-geek (ie, games casually, is good with computers but not sports, but doesn’t drink enough ceffeinated beverages).

  9. Spiral says:

    If I had been trying that, I would have gone for the Sanchez bike. Lower top speed, but lighter, so better for some trick jumps.
    Still very painful to watch. Glad you finally got it.

  10. Melandry says:

    I just have to compliment you on the perfect choice of music. A++

  11. Deathblade_Penguin/aka Minion of Darkness says:

    Shamus, I feel for you on that package.

    if it’s any consulation I did not even consider doing it that way.. i had to get an ambulance reverse it over the wall around the pertrol station so it balanced halfway in the middle.. get another car so that i could climb up onto the ambulance and then run along the top of it jmping onto the petrol station..


  12. Joshua says:

    I dunno. The hidden packages missions are entirely optional, as thark says, and they’re designed for the trick-jump junkies who like to do weird things with vehicles. The impact of this video is reduced by the realization that that you’re only inflicting this pain on yourself.

    Furthermore, you actually do seem to suck at this. I had to go try this (even though I enjoy the missions, grabbing the hidden packages is too pointless even for me). I won’t tell you how many tries it took me, but grabbing one of the *several* Sanchezes that are positioned around this location made it seem quite a bit easier.

  13. Shamus says:

    The thing about hidden packages being optional: Yeah, but you need them for the weapon / armor spawns. There are just enough packages on island 1 to get the armor, IF you get all that you can. That armor is crucial to passing a lot of missions.

    So the game is basically saying: Get all the packages or cheat.

    I ended up cheating anyway.

  14. Harvey says:

    “Yeah, it’s getting dark, but I’m not a quitter!… OW!… Dammit!”

  15. Matt` says:

    haha, nice
    the “hidden package 5 of 100” at the end was a real kick in the teeth

  16. Vegedus says:

    I’m just wondering how you captured the video. It looks too good to be a normal camera.

  17. Shamus says:

    I use a video capture card. I plug the PS2 right into my computer and play in a window. Kind of disorienting at first, having a mouse, keyboard, and dual shock all there in front of me, but it works really well.

  18. Noumenon says:

    I don’t want to ruin the point of the video, but if you can ever make it up over the roof of the gas station you can just hop off the bike with triangle (why isn’t there an HTML entity for triangle?) and go pick up the package. Hopping off the bike is a key GTA skill because instead of crashing and slowly picking yourself up you hop off just before impact and are immediately running toward your bike.

    But still, just getting on the bike and driving back to the starting point is like such a long pointless reload time. If they let you put a marker on a spot and jump back to the marker every time these jumps would still be hard. I don’t know why they don’t add that feature. If they did, you’d be like “Why did they torture me that way all that time?” Like how Beyond Good and Evil makes your character jump automatically when you run over a hole instead of making you time your jump — suddenly I was like, “why have they been torturing me for simple movement all this time?”

  19. thark says:

    I can’t speak for LCS specifically, not having played it yet, but I certainly had no problem completing any of the previous GTA games without getting the packages. Would it make the game easier not having to pay at the weapon shop to restock? Yes. But in no way enough so that I’d even consider trying to find packages without going by a map–by which point you are in practice already cheating.

    YMMV and all that. And if you’re not having fun, you’re not having fun, no way around that.

  20. Sartorius says:

    I gave up, I think, 9% of the way into Vice City after realizing that each attempt at beating some silly mission took about 10 minutes, counting game load and transportation time. Six attempts is an hour wasted. I concur that it’s fun to drive around wrecking cars, but Shamus’ video perfectly sums up my experience with this game series. Feh.

  21. Rhea says:

    That was a thing of beauty. Thanks for sharing. XD

  22. empty_other says:

    You know, Shamus? One are actually able to increase the speed of your bike by pushing the analog stick 1/2 way forward when driving.. Of course this cant be done if your on a keyboard, the silly keyboard just says “go all the way or nothing, my most honorable user”.
    Get yourself one of those Logitech playstation-cloned controllers for when driving in that game. Greatly increases the joy of playing GTA.

  23. Jim says:

    “I use a video capture card. I plug the PS2 right into my computer and play in a window.”

    I apologize if I missed this elsewhere, but what Hardware/Software combination are you using? All of the solutions I’ve ever tried to do this with have had too much delay between input and display for it to be usable with most games.

  24. Ben W. says:

    What this video most reminds me of is one of the most evil ROM hacks of Super Mario Bros. ever.


    I’m just finished playing through the storyline of Vice City Stories, and they’ve really improved a lot of the flaws of the series.

    Drowning: You have a limited amount of stamina for swimming, so you have a minute or so to get to solid ground, and you can perform a climb like in San Andreas to pull yourself up and onto dry land.

    Dying: When you die, outside the hospital is an icon that will let you buy back all the weapons you had on you when you died.

    Missions: Every mission, or very nearly so, provides you with a Taxi ride back to where the mission starts if you die during it. They also let you “Trip Skip” in a mission you’ve already tried, so you don’t have to repeat some of the earlier or more boring bits.

    Side Missions: Every 5 “levels” of a mission, like being a vigilante or a paramedic, the game will record your progress so that you’ll resume from there the next time you start that mission.

    Packages: You have to shoot 99 red balloons floating around the map. They’re much harder to find, but trivial to hit once you have found them.

    Of course, to make up for all these improvements, some of the missions are just ludicrously hard. There’s also what appears to be a bug, where anytime a passenger in a vehicle is shooting a submachine gun (including you in one mission) their gun fires twice as fast. This can lead you situations where an angry biker comes riding up to attack you, and their passenger is able to unload bullets so fast that you have approximately 1 second to run for cover before all your armor and health are gone.

    The main character starts the game as a non-criminal nice guy. This changes as the game goes on, and he’s kind of a jerk to his brother, but it was refreshing in the beginning.

    I got bored with Libery City Stories about 2/3 of the way through. If you’re not totally sick of the GTA series after your trip through the game and GameFly stops mistreating you, you might want to give Vice City Stories a shot.

  25. Shamus says:

    Jim: I think this is a problem if you’re just plugging your console directly into the video-in of your graphics card. I picked up a video capture card for $15, and it came with some (kind of shabby) software for getting framegrabs / movies. (It calls itself a TV tuner card, and is designed for watching tv broadcast / cable TV on the PC.) I’ve never had a problem with delay.

  26. T-Boy says:

    Oh, man. Beauty. I really like your persistence on this. Me, I’d have figured out some other way of getting that package, or gotten bored of trying real quick.

  27. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Yay,this is pointless,but hey,you dont have to do this if you dont want to.It is a hidden package after all.Also,have you thought about using a helicopter for this?Its far easier that way.

  28. Jim says:

    Shamus – I have three different video capture cards and on all of them I used the RCA Input In. The amount of lag varied a lot between cards, but something like GTA would have definitely been unplayable.

    Two of the three devices were ATI and their Video Capture software is absolutely horrible. I’m fairly certain that is where things are falling apart.

  29. General Ghoul says:

    This reminds me of one of my favorite games of all time: Road Rash on Sega. Basic motorcycle racing, but with the added twist of full out fighting the other drivers, jumping over moving cars, and plowing through pedestrians. Win, place, or show in a race gets you money to buy a better bike, which helps you move through the levels. But the real fun was grabbing weapons out of the hands of other racers to use back on them. Chains, clubs, tire iron, and of course the cattle prod. Also enjoyed doing 120 straight into an oncoming truck, get up , dust off the bike and get back in the race before losing too many positions.
    But this video reminded me of the true replay value. After a couple of hours of game play you get to know the tracks pretty well (same “tracks” each level, just longer versions, each “track” being open highway in different settings, ie urban, desert, mountainous, etc.)so the replay fun was had in doing something completely new during the race. Cattle-prod a racer, which shocks him or her and stuns them for a couple of seconds. Then kick their bike into oncoming traffic. Roadrunner/ coyote like, the bike stops, the driver keeps going until he comes to, then he tumbles down the road. But my true favorite, there was a BIG hill in Hawaii that you could get some big air off of. also, one of the later bikes came with a nitrous option, for a short burst of power. Getting the timing right to hit the nitro at full speed at the right spot before going up the hill cause me to jump completely off the top of the screen, “airing” it for 1/10th of a mile.

    Don’t try that at home.

  30. ryanlb says:

    That was awesome!
    I vaguely remember a couple of missions like that in Vice City, but haven’t had such problems on San Andreas (yet). In that particular instance I probably would have waited until I had access to a helicopter though. But then again, maybe not, I can be very stubborn.

  31. Robin Z says:

    It’s funny because it’s true…

    (I’m not sure the “Boy, do I suck at this” and “Yay” titles help, though.)

  32. asterismW says:

    Shamus, you’re my hero.

  33. MikeSSJ says:


    Loved how it eventually became night. And it’s a catchy song, too.

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