Grand Theft Auto: Time sink.

And I thought Rock Band was bad. I sit down to play just a mission or two in GTA4 and next thing I know it’s three hours later.

While the violence, misogyny, bad language, and promotion of illegal activity stack up like thick societal woe waffles drenched in antisocial syrup, the game is still tamer than a violent movie. But even its moments where it tries to be good for a bit result in it earning its "M" rating. For instance the bowling, pool, and darts mini games are all harmless fun. There’s no swearing or violence about them. Until you realize that playing them all with Michelle results in the game rewarding you by you getting to sleep with her.

Multiplayer is amazing. A massive world that rewards careful and reckless exploration alike. I played with Lance Bubo last week and thrilled to boarding the Blackhawk chopper for a spin around Manhattan to the tune of The Who’s "The Seeker". Later when our inept piloting resulted in a midair collision during a Blackhawk duel, we ejected (out of helicopters!) to land in the water near Ellis island and launch rockets at the boats passing by to see how long the range was.

And did I mention the game is gorgeous? It’s gorgeous.

I can’t recommend it for everyone however, but since it sold more copies this month than there are stars in the sky I suppose you already know its hyper-violence and themes can at times make you feel like you are for sure going to hell for playing it and having fun. To wit, I didn’t just chuckle when one of my rockets caused a passing speedboat to pinwheel in the air into someone’s Cabin Cruiser. I actually chortled. Then felt the flames already.

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