Well, ok, not really "porn"†.
I'd heard all about Endorphin before, and GTA: San Andreas really was one of the best video games I've ever played, but I hadn't really planned to get GTA IV. I know better than to call it a "murder simulator", and this installment is more judgmental than the previous one‡. Nevertheless, I'm just not that into gangster stories.
However, what I am into, is "New York City, center of the Universe"--I have an enormous crush on that place, and if I can't live there, I can certainly fetishize it. I hadn't realized before now that yes, the entire game is essentially an extremely faithful model of the City, in which you can walk around and pretend that you are on your way to the Ontological-Hysteric Theatre for a night of Foreman. Hell, they did a pretty impressive job, for all I know you can buy a ticket and see Bad Boy Nietzsche, although that seems unlikely.
Fuzzy sent me this flickr set with real-life photographs side by side with screenshots. Some of them are pretty obvious, but there are others that I had a hard time determining NYC from XBox. This one, for example, is that building near Times Square, right by the (now defunct) theatre where we used to see Sxip's Hour of Charm.
†Fuzzy points out that GTA IV is much too well written to really count as mere "porn". To which I replied:
I just meant "porn" in the sense of "overwhelming aesthetic saturation". So, the analogy is that just like one can scroll through pages and pages of naked guys if one is bored on a Friday night, so too could I immerse myself in ersatz NYC here in Chicago.
‡A few days ago I tried to show off Assassin's Creed to my mother. her reply was, "Why do all these games have to be about chasing and killing?". I started to answer her (I've given this a lot of thought) but caught myself in time, and said, "Wait, was that a question, or a complaint?" She said that it was a complaint, and I agreed wholeheartedly. I've played some non-running and killing games, and they range from AWESOME to boring. Certainly for GTA (especially this one) I think it's about as much a "running and killing" game as The Godfather was a shoot-em-up flick.