Day 4: Last Plane Home
April 23rd, 2008
Less than 3 hours after 'going to bed', I was back upstairs banging on the penthouse door with Chris. No, I wasn't using him to bang on the door, I was banging on the door... And he was there... If you get what I mean... Anyway yeah, we went in and played GTA4 for 2 hours while everyone else was being lazy and sleeping (who needs sleep, seriously?). I had literally about 16 hours sleep total in the 4 days I was there, and I've been awake for 2 and a half days running at the minute, writing all 10000 words of these diaries and they seem fine to me.
Anyway, we left the penthouse and got showered and stuff and then Alison phoned us and asked us to meet them on the roof because we were having a short meeting. They let us know about what had happened with the game and just requested that we co-operate with them fully and take down any content that shouldn't be made publicly available yet, which we of course fully agree with. The game comes out in 5 days or something, don't ruin it for yourself this close by viewing this content on the web.
After that meeting, all of the consoles and TV's were starting to be removed from the penthouse, so we hung around on the roof for a bit chatting to some of the Rockstar guys and said goodbye to the ones we wouldn't be seeing again, then all went to our rooms and got packed and checked out. We met at a restaurant just along the street and had some food, then it was time for a few people like Casey and Andy to leave.
Alison took us back to Economy Candy and everyone got some chocolates and candy stuff bought for them, then we went for a walk into the centre of the city. Unfortunately not long after that I had to head back to the hotel because my car was picking me up at 2:30 seeing as I flew out at 5:30. On the way back to the hotel we totally coincidentally bumped into a few guys from Rockstar again, so I got to say a proper goodbye to Nathan and Bill, then we saw a bunch of GTA4 posters all stuck next to each other. Looked amazing.
We got back to the hotel and I eventually got my bags sorted and said bye to Kyle and Alison, then I was off in the 'Landstalker' to the airport. The crazy guy driving said there was lots of traffic so he was taking a detour. Of course he asked me if this was ok about half a mile through said detour. We went past loads of shitty neighbourhoods and down back alleys and everything. I was shitting myself. I wasn't so worried about the actual detour so much as not being on a main road and missing my flight. At least on a main road I know we're going somewhere important, but somehow the driver managed to get me right to the airport in perfect timing and I had an hour to browse the shops and stuff once I got checked in.
I grabbed some chocolates for my family (half price ones at that, muahaha!), and I found some cool sunglasses for myself for $12 (bargain), then I just spent the rest of the time walking around. Now you might remember from day 1 of my diary how I said I got a Rockstar Games satchel bag. Well I was wearing it around the airport as it was my hand luggage, and there were loads of guys there who obviously must have known you can't just buy those things, so I could constantly hear people behind me saying "Oh my god dude, that guy works for Rockstar!". I thought it was pretty funny, but no one actually came up to me so I didn't have to decide on whether I was going to lie or not. Of course, one day I would love to work for Rockstar, but for now I'm just happy to be affiliated with them and have the close ties that we and the other fansites do.
I got on my flight for Amsterdam which only took 6 hours compared to the 8 hours of the flight going the other way. Plus the plane was a lot emptier this time too. There was just me and a Dutch chick sitting in my row so we all had more room. Plus the chairs had the cool built in TV thing so I could watch Scrubs. I also watched a movie called "There Will Be Blood" because I heard it was good, but it was a complete pile of shite to be honest. Was slow and boring and the blood took about 3 hours to appear. Maybe I was just too used to going on massive killing sprees on GTA4. God that's so much fun. Shooting people in the legs with shotguns. I swear I shot this guy in the foot once and it looked like his leg broke. That would have been awesome.
Anyway, back to the point. I sat there bored, unable to fall asleep on the plane listening to Linkin Park and Within Temptation, pretty much the only two semi-decent bands on the Rock section, which tells you how bad that was. Arrived at Amsterdam early, which usually would be a good thing, but in this case it was a bad thing. Because we got there like 45 mins early, it meant I had to wait an extra 45 mins for my flight to Newcastle, which ended up being about 2 and a half hours away.
Got on it eventually and had a bunch of American's sat behind me, all going to Newcastle. How weird is that. I've just left a country full of Americans, and by sheer coincidence, a bunch of them want to go where I live. Crazy.
Got back to Newcastle and waited 30 mins for my luggage to appear... Only it didn't, so I had to fill in something at the airport and the guy said there were 5 more flights coming in from Amsterdam today so it should be on one of them. I went home with just my hand luggage, and no keys to get into the house because they were in my suitcase, so I had to get my dad out of a meeting to let me in.
Eventually though it got delivered later on that night, and that's pretty much where I am here. Just finished converting all of my expertly taken notes into a fully in-depth diary on how much fun it is to play GTA4 with Rockstar Games.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Rockstar immensely for everything that they did for us. It was the experience of a life time and will definitely not be forgotten any time soon. It wasn't just the fact that we got to play GTA4 a week early, it was the whole experience. Meeting the webmasters from the 4 or 5 other biggest GTA sites on the net, having a laugh with everyone and discussing how to make the community better. Visiting New York itself, which is a fantastic city full of many different cultures and amazing landmarks. Having Alison take myself and the other UK webmasters on pretty much a full tour of the city with all expenses covered by Rockstar Games. In the space of a day we covered about 5 of the major landmarks, mostly on foot which was a lot of fun and wouldn't have been possible without Alison, Nathan and the other people working behind the scenes at Rockstar, so a big thanks to them, and everyone who I had the privilege of meeting during my few days there.
I hope we can all return again soon. I think there's a good chance I will visit New York again as a holiday just to see everything that there is to offer, but hanging out with Rockstar, the makers of the greatest game ever made, and being instantly treated like a mate by them is going to be something I'll remember for a long time indeed.
If you read all of my diary then you deserve an award, cos this is a novel of epic proportions, but I hope you found some of it interesting and informative. If you have any questions about GTA4, feel free to post them on the forums and I'll do my best to answer the ones I can.
Take care guys.