From the Inside Flap
How does a group of young underdogs with big dreams but little experience transform a culture and industry? In the case of the $75 billion video game business, it helps if the outfit is run by a brash iconoclast with the vision of an outlaw and the work ethic of a Puritanand grew up madly in love with gangster movies, video games, and rap music. It also helps if the company makes the most revolutionary, controversial, and successful video game franchise everGrand Theft Auto.
In Jacked, acclaimed author and journalist David Kushner takes you on an unauthorized joyride through the high-risk, high-profit, and fast-moving world of the biggest players in the game industryand the haters out to get them. He reveals the untold story behind the people who created the product that defined one generation and infuriated another.
Drawing on more than a decade of his own reporting, game playing, and interviewing, Kushner goes deep inside the making of Grand Theft Auto (GTA), long veiled in secrecy, rumor, and myth. He also examines the cultural and political backlash that sent sales soaring, even as it threatened the game's continued existence.
This is a pop culture story for the ages. It begins in the back alleys of Dundee, Scotland, where the geeky geniuses at DMA Design invented GTA. Fledgling marketer and rebellious gamer Sam Houser saw GTA's enormous potential and pushed DMA to make it bolder, wilder, and funnier, and let players freely explore the game's gritty cities, wreaking havoc whenever they pleased. With its groundbreaking innovations and cinematic flair, GTA quickly became the centerpiece of Houser's new company, Rockstar Games, and the hottest title on the planet. But one of America's most notorious culture warriors, Jack Thompson, had his own missionto ensure that GTA was banned from store shelves for corrupting youth and to bring Rockstar to their kneeseven as the gamers of the world rallied against him.
With its incredible artistry, arch satire, and massive press coverage, GTA earned critical and commercial acclaim around the world, breaking the Guinness record for most successful entertainment product launch of all time. But deep within its urban wasteland lurked a nasty little secretthe now-famous sex mini-game, "Hot Coffee." It would mean big trouble for Rockstar Games and bring Houser and his rival, Thompson, to the brink.
Whichever side you're on, Jacked gives you a new understanding of this breakout industry, and the game that defined it.
From the Back Cover
"A fascinating portrait of visionary coders transforming a previously marginal hobby into a kind of twenty-first-century art form—and enraging an entire generation of parents along the way. Kushner tells the story with intelligence and a great sense of pacing. Masters of Doom is as riveting as the games themselves."
—Steven Johnson, author of Everything Bad Is Good for You and Where Good Ideas Come From
"Masters of Doom is an excellent archetypal tale of hard work and genius being corrupted by fame too young and fortune too fast. I rooted for these guys, was inspired by them, and then was disturbed by them—and was fascinated from beginning to end."
—Po Bronson, coauthor of NurtureShock
"Kushner's mesmerizing tale of the Two Johns moves at a rapid clip . . . describing the twists and turns of fate that led them to team up in creating the most powerful video games of their generation . . . An exciting combination of biography and technology."
"Meticulously researched . . . as a ticktock of the creative process and as insight into a powerful medium too often dismissed as kids' stuff, Masters of Doom blasts its way to a high score."
"Kushner's portrait of Carmack is lustrous and gripping . . . An impressive and adroit social history."
—The New York Times Book Review
"Terrifically told . . . The storytelling is so fluid, so addictive, that your twitching thumbs keep working the pages."
—The Washington Post Book World