GTA 5 – Technology satire at its finest

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Off duty: Welcome to our new regular series, which we hope will serve as a reward for you after a busy week in IT. Each week (on a Friday), we'll provide some information and/or a review on something to entertain or wow you away from work. To kick us off, lets see what all the fuss is about with GTA 5...

GTA 5 has gone down as one of the most critically and commercially successful games of all time. Its $170 million budget enabled Rockstar to not only create a world of immersive gameplay, but relatable characters and a complex story.

Parent and teacher groups have been up in arms due to the violence, swearing, and sexual material contained within GTA 5, but no-one can argue with the witty commentary the game provides on western society.

Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter are all parodied via three fictional in-game companies - Lifeinvader, Fruit Computers and Bleeter.

The writers tackle a variety of subjects from society's obsession with celebrities, reality TV and drugs to cosmetic surgery and the rights of citizens to possess guns. No-one is safe from ridicule with even government agencies such as the FBI and CIA (FIB and IAA in the game) being portrayed as corrupt, money grabbing organisations.

But it's the imitation of modern day technology where GTA 5 excels. Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter are all parodied via three fictional in-game companies: Lifeinvader, Fruit Computers and Bleeter.

One of the early core missions sees you infiltrate the HQ of social networking site Lifeinvader. Of course you have to first visit a clothes shop to get kitted out in the obligatory cargo pants and shirt so you'll fit right in with the hipsters'.

The offices are clear parody of the working practices at Google and Facebook. Slogans dotted around remind employees that: "No Privacy = No Lies" and "Remember! We aren't ripping them off if they don't read the T&Cs".

The CEO of Lifeinvader, Jay Norris, is revealed to have stolen the idea for his social network site from friends an allegation real-life Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has faced in the past.

Then there's Fruit Computers. There's no sign of CEO, Doug Hatchet, who was last seen outsourcing all the company employees overseas in the last game. The character based on the late Steve Jobs shows you can only escape a mocking at the hands of Rockstar if you're six feet under.

Despite the absence of Hatchet, the company's business is booming in the latest game. Citizens all over the city of Los Santos can be spotted taking selfies with their iFruit devices, something which players can also do. There are billboard advertisements and radio ads urging users to download the latest and greatest version of FruitOS.

On the serious note, GTA also tackles topical subjects like surveillance - all heists are planned by hand to avoid leaving a digital footprint and halfway through the game you need to track down a comrade who's been kidnapped. You do this by simply downloading an iFruit app and then following the smartphone signal to the hideout.

Finally, there's Bleeter GTA's answer to Twitter.

"Bleeter is the perfect storm of blogging, social networking and text messaging. We're demolishing 100,000 years of complex linguistic development 140 characters at a time," the homepage tells you.

"Welcome to the world of self-aggrandising shorthand. Keep strangers and people you hated in high school up to speed with every mundane detail of your life 24/7. Welcome to delusion of having an interesting life and friends."

No technology parody would be complete without tackling the subject of "Bleeter" trolls. Later on in the game (in a non-core mission) you have to choose whether to rescue a family member who's kidnapped by the celebrity he was trolling online.

Should you perform the rescue, you're reward with a brilliant explanation of what a troll is - and it sums up why we love GTA 5.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.