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 411mania » Games » Columns

GAME POW 08.30.09: Sims Meets GTA IV
Posted by Sam Pow on 08.30.2009

GAME POW---August 29th, 2009

It's the end of August, and what better way to celebrate the coming month than with GAME POW! I've been sick all week long, and haven't really gotten out of bed much. Luckily, due to the wonders of medicine I've been able to crawl to my PC and write you all a short column (better than nothing, right)? I decided that since this week's GAME POW is going to be shortened, I might as well focus on quality. Thus, I'm going with an idea I've been meaning to try for a while. I'll just leave it a surprise.

Sam Pow's week in gaming: This week I played Burnout Paradise for the first time in a while, and honestly, I got bored fairly quickly. So, I decided to pop in something else, and went immediately for Too Human. I'm getting a little farther, and I've got complete matching black armor now, as well as a hammer and rifle I like.

GTA IV: Living the Clean Life

When someone mentions GTA IV, most anyone would immediately think about a violent game that features blood and murder. For the most part, that's true. But, for those who so choose to go in an opposite direction with the game, or have just beaten it and need something else to do, there is another option.

With games like The Sims becoming so popular, as well as other virtual life simulators, people just can't seem to get enough. So why not try these things out in other games? Since GTA IV is so free and sandbox centered, you can really do anything you want, and that means you can play it in ways it wasn't designed to be played. Why don't we living a normal life, but in GTA?

The first step to becoming a normal citizen is to have a mindset like one. You need to see the world as being more dangerous. The first rule is that you can't break major laws. That means no stealing random cars on the street, and no getting in gun fights. Keep one or two cars (or bikes) as main cars. Only use those, no matter how damaged they get. However, since you'll be obeying traffic laws, you shouldn't get too dinged up.

This should not happen under any circumstances during your fake life

Now, step two is repetition. Stereotypical people have monotonous lives. Not that that's bad, but it is something you have to go by. Develop a schedule. Maybe start the day by going and getting something to eat, then taking a walk in the park. I think you'll find that you'll discover a different side to the coin that is GTA. You'll recognize more beauty because you aren't speeding past it at 100 mph or shooting at it. The next part of your schedule is going to be your job. Since most actions in GTA are illegal, you'll have to think outside the box or bend the rules a little. Take advantage of whatever legal things you can. One simple thing is this: bricks. Picking up bricks and other small objects is not illegal, and can form many different jobs. Maybe you're a brick collector. Take a boat and drive around to docks, throwing all the bricks you find in the back. Or, you could cheat. Other jobs become possible if you are willing to use the clear wanted level cheat that you dial from your cell phone. Think repo man. You have to walk around until you find a particular vehicle you have in mind. Then, you hotwire it and drive away to a secure pre-designated location. Experiment, and come up with other things.

You can't tell, but this boat is actually full of bricks

The other parts of your schedule should come naturally. Work should take up most of your day, but after you're done, you can go eat dinner, go do a hobby (like bowling or darts), or go out on a date. The social aspect of GTA such as dates and outings with friends can be fun, and a great way to end the day. Try getting high respect and like levels with all your friends, or with just a few. Mix things up, and try new things. Now, of course, law breaking is inevitable. Eventually, you're going to punch that smart mouth in the face or "accidentally" back over a hot dog stand despite your best interests. And when it does happen, go with it. Allow yourself to be arrested.

I suggest that every other day you take as a day off. Go to Happiness Island, visit the museum. Do something that's not work. Maybe it's as simple as a swim or a run, but do something. You could also spend the day pranking people. Calling the authorities or pushing people down stairs provides endless fun. Or visit somewhere else cool. In case you can't think of anything yourself, I'll include my list of the coolest places to explore in GTA IV.

At first glance, Liberty City may seem like a crime ridden, drug infested wasteland, but look closer and you'll see something different. Upon deeper inspection you'll find that there are many beautiful places to see in Liberty City: many interesting places to explore. So put on a nice outfit and get ready to be a tourist.

Before we start, there are a few things you need to know. For starters, there might be one or two spoilers in this article. If you've already unlocked every island, you should be fine. That's the other thing, if you want to see all these places you'll need to have unlocked every island. And as a last piece of advice, this does kind of make you a tourist, so it wouldn't hurt to put on the happiness island shirt just for giggles.

Subway Underworld

This is a great place to start. If you've done the main storyline even a little, you've probably been on the subway once or twice. And if you've done the mission three leaf clover *SPOILER ALERT* then you remember running down the subway tracks to escape the police after you rob a bank. Explore further, and you'll find some cool places. Deep underneath the city on the sides of the subway tracks you'll find an underworld. The homeless live in abundance there, along with all their fire, couches, mattresses, and even the occasional car. You'll find a rather large area like this under Lancet in Algonquin. It's a really cool place to see, but is far from any stop, so you may wish to take a bike to get there.


You'll recognize this gated community as the location of Mikhail Faustin's house. You've probably been there a bunch of times to do missions, but have you ever just taken the time to explore the area? Beachgate is actually very interesting. You'll find all kinds of houses, some get-togethers, and the beach.


There is a small rock island directly north of Algonquin. This isn't much fun to look at, but jumping out of your helicopter and landing on an island is awesome. So is keeping prisoners there in multiplayer. Just bring them there on a helicopter, land it, let them get out, and make a quick escape.


On the north end of Colony Island you'll find a cemetery. This is pretty cool to visit, and there's even cool stuff to jump out of a helicopter and land on! This is a good time to take a moment of silence and think about all those people you killed. In fact, you can even open up the stats menu and get the exact number.

Nuclear Plant

If you head on over to Acter Industrial Park in Alderney, you can have all kinds of fun. You can go to the nuclear plant in a helicopter and knock off the guy sitting on top, drive around a forklift to all your sights to see, or even jump out of a heli and land in one of those flame-spewing chimneys! C'mon, it can't be that bad to plummet to the ground from about 500 feet in the air while on fire, can it?


This is a small town on the northern tip of Alderney. It's right on the coast, and is actually very calm. Unlike the rest of the map, it's not very urban. Also interesting is all the rich people homes. Spend some time searching Westdyke and you'll find a menagerie of finely cut hedges, swimming pools, and even backyard helicopter pads!

There you have it. Remember to follow the rules, stick with your job, and take some time off and you can live a normal life in GTA IV. Today I've successfully proved that GTA IV can be a completely non-violent game even though I'm throwing up all over the place. I'd say that's pretty impressive. I'm sorry that this edition of GAME POW was so short, but rest assured that there's plenty more strategy goodness to come in future columns. Until next time, POW!

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