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Brighton goes bonkers for GTA IV

Hundreds litter the street.

Hundreds of money-wielding shoppers lined the streets of Brighton last night to bag their long-awaited copies of Grand Theft Auto IV.

Those retailers opening their doors for the eager fans were two GAME stores and one Gamestation - each within a hundred yards of each other, bizarrely.

All three were mainly dishing out pre-ordered copies, and Gamestation produced the most impressive queue of the evening. Still, GAME had a passer-by who looked like a "demented cowboy" according some rather merry shoppers, so that's something.

Gamestation was the most forthcoming, and let us traipse into its shop, chat to its manager, and take pictures of single father Simon, 31, buying the first copy of the game. Well, copies; he bagged two on Xbox 360 and one on PS3.

How chuffed was he to get his hands on the game? "Oh, very," said Simon, fanning his copies out for the camera, "I've been waiting a long time for this."

Gamestation said it had more Xbox 360 pre-orders than PS3, but wouldn't be drawn on specifics. It wouldn't talk to us at all this morning. We think our pictures caused a bit of trouble.

The Gamestation queue. With help from Subway and KFC.

GAME on Western Road bucked ours and its predictions by selling more PS3 copies, despite having 170 Xbox 360 and 120 PS3 pre-orders available last night. Ian, who answered the phone this morning, wasn't allowed to give numbers, but said the PS3 had it "by a nose".

"We imagined that it would be 360," he added. "And after it has all fallen out and panned out it probably will be, by an edge."

GAME wouldn't let us in, but we managed to capture possibly the happiest shopper of the night.

GAME in Churchill Square had three security guards to monitor only 40 shoppers last night, and they folded their arms at us and were very sorry but you are not allowed to ask questions or take pictures.

Still, they managed to not tell us that more 360 copies had been pre-ordered, and this morning revealed that the Microsoft platform was still in the lead. By a lot? "Yeah; double," said our non-specific phone answerer.

But what did the rabble have to offer? We split them into two groups: the GAME gang and the Gamestation bunch.

Happy Man taking it all in his stride.

The GAME gang was excited "because [GTA] is always class", and surmised that it would be "game of the year". They laughed when we suggested Wii Fit might give it a run for its money; "I don't mind Nintendo," admitted one, "I'm just into hardcore gaming."

What about games making you violent, GAME gang? "Rubbish. Go and watch a horror film; same thing, isn't it?"

And what does the Gamestation bunch say to those who claim games make you violent? "Ridiculous. I say play those games; most people who say that have never actually picked up a controller."

But parents play a role in this, don't they? "They should know better," declared one. "Depends on the kids," suggested another. "If the parents are buying it for a 17 year-old kid then that's fair enough. But you're not going to want to be buying that sort of stuff for your 10 or 12 year-old".

Finally, we thought we would find out why people had chosen one version over another if they owned both consoles. One fellow picked the PS3 "because the PlayStation pad is just designed for that game, always has been". But what about rumble support? "Oh." His friends laughed.

Almost everyone we talked to had the next day, or even week off work to play Grand Theft Auto IV. Most were off home to pop it on and play it until they dropped.

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Grand Theft Auto IV

PS3, Xbox 360, PC

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Robert Purchese

Associate Editor

Bertie is a synonym for Eurogamer. Writes, podcasts, looks after the Supporter Programme. Talks a lot.