• Jacked

  • The Outlaw Story of Grand Theft Auto
  • By: David Kushner
  • Narrated by: Adam Verner
  • Length: 9 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (431 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Inside the making of the multibillion-dollar Grand Theft Auto videogame empire....

Grand Theft Auto is one of the biggest and most controversial videogame franchises of all time. Since its first release in 1997, GTA has pioneered the use of everything from 3D graphics to the voices of top Hollywood actors and repeatedly transformed the world of gaming. Despite its incredible innovations in the $75 billion game industry, it has also been a lightning rod of debate, spawning accusations of ethnic and sexual discrimination, glamorizing violence, and inciting real-life crimes. 

Jacked tells the turbulent and mostly unknown story of GTA’s wildly ambitious creators, Rockstar Games; the invention and evolution of the franchise; and the cultural and political backlash it has provoked.

Written by David Kushner, author of Masters of Doom and a top journalist on gaming, this book is drawn from over 10 years of interviews and research, including first-hand knowledge of Grand Theft Auto’s creators and detractors. It explains how British prep-school brothers Sam and Dan Houser took their dream of fame, fortune, and the glamor of American pop culture and transformed it into a worldwide videogame blockbuster. It also offers inside details on key episodes in the development of the series, including the financial turmoil of Rockstar games, the infamous "Hot Coffee" sex minigame incident, and more.

Whether you love Grand Theft Auto or hate it - or just want to understand the defining entertainment product of a generation - you’ll want to hear Jacked and get the real story behind this boundary-pushing game.

David Kushner is an award-winning journalist and author. A contributing editor of Rolling Stone, he has also written for Wired, The New York Times Magazine, New York, and GQ. He served as the digital-culture commentator for National Public Radio and is an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University.

©2012 David Kushner (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Jacked

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Kushner Writes Well, Verner Drops the Ball

What did you love best about Jacked?

Jacked has a great story about one of the most controversial video games of our time. Learning the recent history of the GTA series from an insider perspective was fascinating.

Who was your favorite character and why?

While I wouldn't call Jack Thompson a favorite character, his struggle was fascinating.

Would you be willing to try another one of Adam Verner’s performances?

I did not care for Verner's performance. He sounded tired, and the emotional gravity he put in to the read did not match the character of the text. All around, I found his narration to be disappointing.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No; it was easy to grow bored with the narration.

Any additional comments?

Kushner tried to duplicate the earlier success of his masterpiece Masters of Doom. The problem is that he didn't have the same access. However, the writing is still at his high standards. The problem is Verner; you'd probably be better off just reading the book.

3 people found this helpful

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Could Have Been Better...

I finished this story all the way through as I really wanted to have a good grasp on RockStar games and the GTA series. However, while the book provided some good history and insight, it always felt like it fell a bit short throughout the listen. The stories seemed more second hand and felt like key and interesting details were missing.

1 person found this helpful

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I LOVED this book.

If you are a gamer this is a really cool look into one of the biggest game company in the industry. It is a great inside the company through its birth up to today. It is well paced and Adam Verner does a great job narrating it. If your not a gamer it is still a good listen into a company going from a couple of guys into a multi-million dollar company. The story of how money and fame can take its toll and change people.

The same author wrote Master's of Doom. If you loved one you'll love the other. Highly recommend both.

1 person found this helpful

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interesting but kind od dull

the books treata you as you are supposed to know the main character before you see them. also could have done more about the game and company it self

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Easy listen. Not super exciting though.

As far as game books go, this is no “Masters of Doom,” but not all books can be, and that’s ok. I felt that this book was quite cursory in its treatment of everything, never really exploring anything in depth. No feeling of high stakes, no gripping personal stories. Mostly just a summary of the media brouhaha surrounding the GTA games, including the game studio’s own version of the various events that transpired. Still, The book did manage to teach me a handful of interesting tidbits I didn’t know about the history of some of my favorite games ever. The book kept me sufficiently entertained while I was doing menial household chores. Definitely worth the price considering it was free. Worth a credit though? Probably not unless you are already a big fan of GTA, or really interested in the history of violent video games and its impact on society.

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So much I didn’t know

A rich story about Rockstar. Makes me love the games even more. Must listen for anyone who enjoys GTA.

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Amazing

Wow what a story, it’s one of the best books I’ve read (listen) I want to buy GTA5 now immediately

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Great book, too bad it contains plagiarism and outdated stereotypes

Id like to start by saying this book is fantastic and 100% worth a credit. Hearing the behind the scenes decisions of the housers and how they grew up and their actual rockstar attitude was in a weird sense heartwarming and personable. Unfortunately, this book contains blatant plagiarism and some VERY annoying outdated stereotypes, even for 2012. Lets start with the plagiarism. To avoid as many spoilers as possible, there is a crime in the book committed by two young man resulting in the death of a truck driver on the highway. The book does an incredible job setting up the scene for the crime so you can visualize it. Turns out however, that an online media platform “salon” had written an article about the same crime 7 years before the books release. I was shocked to find out as i read the article that the book had plagiarized it shamelessly word for word. It’s literally the second result on google, they didnt even try to hide it. Furthermore, the book repetitively refers to “gamers” as “mountain dew addicted nerds” which as we all know is just not true or funny at all, kind of rude if im being honest as a “gamer” myself. On top of this, the book has a lot of forced humor with video game related jokes that just do not hit in the way the author must have intended them to. It becomes a bit agitating after a while. Still, being able to hear stories of the rockstar staff and their emails back and forth was a riot and created a new perspective for me to look at their games. Still worth the listen

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A flawed but interesting look into the history of R*

Kushner continues his chronicling of in depth narratives of what the story is behind games biggest franchises. The book reveals a interesting history of the origins of GTA and rockstars rise. It falters in its obsessiveness over Jack Thompson, and the odd redemption arc awarded him. The biggest gap in the book happens with the events between San Andreas And GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption, where before the release of those games the studio is supposedly in a state of peril. Additionally the book fails to accurate show the expansion of Rockstars studios and what is happening at each one. It also largely ignores smaller games released. Overall an interesting read that deserves a sequel profiling Rockstars even larger successes with GTA V and Red Dead Redemption 2.

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This Book is Wanted at 5 Stars!

Kushner does an excellent job at retelling the tale behind the creation of Rockstar Games! Through the well spoken performance of Adam Verner we get to hear what inspired the creation of GTA on the PlayStation all the way to GTA IV on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Throughout it all listeners also learn of the internal conflict the studio suffered throughout the years alongside it's mainstream influence on the Media sparking an ongoing argument of Violent Video games and it's impact on players. Additionally listeners will hear about legal troubles the studio faces, specifically the studio's main lawyer they faced Jack Thompson.

Definitely listen to this if you grew up playing the GTA franchise and love learning about the behind the scenes of what makes a great game series and it's impact on society.