The Sea Surprise
During the early hours of GTA Online, everyone was a little lost. If you managed to get past the tutorial - a Herculean task on its own - you found yourself dropped into a city with no real clue what to do. Quickly, players gravitated to one of three archetypes. The violent were the most obvious - shooting on sight, blowing up cars. More interesting though, were the craftier offerings, in turn building up to preying on the poor, unfortunate naïve.
Driving up to another player and honking your horn inevitably led to them jumping in your car. This wouldn't happen now; people are too savvy. Back then, though, the crafty (me) would invite the unwitting into the car, then promptly drive as fast as possible at the sea, leaving the passenger with two choices - leap out of the car and die, or hold tight and pray for mercy. Mercy wasn't afforded. A flying leap into the murky depths was. The naïve were naïve no more. And the cycle of Los Santos life continues.
The Impromptu Race
GTA Online often suggests you should initiate impromptu races with the people around you - point-to-point affairs that take place in the free roam rather than in an instanced lobby. Chances are, you've not bothered investigating. This is a mistake.
For the love of Trevor Phillips Enterprises, please start an impromptu race somewhere in the city and have it end at the peak of Mount Chiliad. Get as many friends as you can to join in, and just wait for the tears. The laughter tears.
Watching buddies fly over the top of you and barrel down the mountain as you desperately cling onto tiny dirt roads is a recipe for genuine belly laughter. It's a must.
The Bounty Hunt
Did you know that a passenger in a helicopter can activate a tracking camera that can 'spot' other players on the map, Battlefield style? Well, the poor sucker with a $9000 bounty on his head certainly didn't. And no one was expecting team Whirl-a-Bount to come a knockin'
As the terrified target ran into a mod shop to hide, team Whirl-a-Bount simply hovered four feet off the ground, every spin of the chopper's blades a deafening signal of what was to come.
Credit, though, to the target. He sprinted from Los Santos Customs and jumped on a dirt bike; hurtling down the freeway in a desperate bid for redemption. He did not account for the sheer bounty-hunting bravado of team Whirl-a-Bount, though. We took to the skies, a distant thud against the feline-growl of his bike. I may have had only had a pistol, but it didn't matter. A few potshots later and our target had scattered, lifeless, across the street, the bounty was mine, and one of the most exhilarating open-world gaming moments had come to a riotous end. Or had it?
Of course it hadn't. We celebrated by taking the chopper as high as it would go while Steve Winwood's classic 'Higher Love' pounded through the speakers. At maximum altitude, team Whirl-a-Bount disbanded, both of us leaping from the chopper and speeding to earth like the rich and true gentlemen we are. A victory for all that is good, set to the type of music that can change nations.
There's nothing like spawning on a beach and being deafened by the thundercrack of Harrier hellfire as you're trying to work out if a jetski ride is a good idea or not. But that's what happened - a relentless assault of terror from the skies, only ended by the pilot's own ineptitude as his reign of fire ended with an ill-advised barrel roll into the sea.
You don't get stuff like that in WoW.
The Mystery Car Murder
During a peaceful chopper trip over the city at dusk, I spotted a car in one of the most unusual places imaginable. Here's a photo I took:
Yes, it was on top of the highest part of the bridge, crushed into a small angular box, and without a soul in sight.
Naturally, I parked my chopper up there to investigate. Not only did the car's presence feel eerie, there was a pool of blood mere feet from its door. Whose was it? How did it get there? Is this the most unlikely murder scenario in history?
(Yes, it was probably dropped there by someone with a Cargobob. But being right isn't always being fun)
The Attack Chopper Heist
One of the cornerstones of the early life in GTA Online is liquor store robbery. It's not a particularly pleasant thing to do, as the owners of these stores are innocents, and don't really deserve to be held up by some jumped-up scumbag in a bullet proof vest. Not that you shouldn't do it, of course. Just that it might make you feel a bit bad for about one second.
After tens of robberies, you might want to mix things up a little. You might want to steal an attack chopper from the helipad downtown, and embark on the unholy marriage of Bonnie And Clyde and Airwolf, trying to hit every store in the great Los Santos area in one rampage while the police desperately try to stop you. And you'd be right to try that. You'd be very right indeed.
When you hit level 20, you can buy a sniper rifle. You'll already know this, because at some point you'll have been pinned down by a sniper and shot repeatedly, making you curse your life, your existence, Rockstar, Batman and anyone else who'll listen.
Get the sniper rifle yourself, though, and suddenly it all makes sense. Holing up in some derelict building or distant rooftop and picking off unsuspecting players is unequivocally hilarious. It makes you a bad person, yes, but a bad person who's enjoying themselves. In other games, this would be frowned upon as vile griefing. Here, it's just part of the tapestry of all that is wonderful about GTA Online. If you can't beat them, snipe them in their stupid skulls.
The Invisible Car
Sometimes, glitches are annoying. Sometimes they break your game, they delete your save, they get you stuck in a wall... they're not your friend. Other times, they're the best. Like when your car disappears, and you can drive around Los Santos like a floating madman while everyone else watches on in disbelief.
I am poor. I cannot afford housing. I spent my last ten grand on a Del Boy Trotter horn for my car because I am stupid. So it was with a little trepidation that I gingerly stepped up to the front door of a vast apartment complex in North LS, having spotted a white blip on my radar sitting inside. I buzzed, expecting nothing. He let me in!
And what a place. A pristine Batman garage filled with gorgeous cars and bikes. A private elevator to the main house. His own flatscreen TV, his own wine, his own bong. I drank, smoked and watched. I showered. I peered out the window and taunted my brother. My brother stole my car. It didn't matter. For a few fleeting moments, I had a taste of how the other half lived. And it tasted good.
I may have justified griefing in an earlier story, but Borracho85, you took it to another level. One man saw fit to destroy our entire crew, pulling in attack choppers, sniper fire, rocket launchers, assault rifles and despicable tactics to systematically dismantle our team and devastate our finances. Until, that is, the tide turned.
Oh yes, Borracho 85, when you mess with crew Genuine Chap, you mess with the wrong people. That chopper you liked? We stole it. Remember when you saw it being stolen and looked up into the sky? That's when I shotgunned you in the spine. Remember trying to spawn? No, because you were already dead.
It may have taken 90 minutes, but a little part Los Santos will always be scarred by the battle of Borracho. Let that be a lesson to you all.