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Unimaginative Apple parody in ‘Grand Theft Auto IV’

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The folks at Rockstar games, apparently, are not Apple fans.

TUAW thinks their parody is brilliant. I’m not as impressed. Drew over at TV Jab and I have been debating and discussing this game for weeks because I don’t have a very high opinion on of it. That was before the Apple parody, mind you, but I have to say, the parody here doesn’t exactly enhance my opinion of the game creators.

In the parody “Fruit” products are referred to as “overpriced” and the “iFruit Phone” has “no buttons, no reception, no storage capacity, all ego”.

Fun stuff.

Now, before you start giving me grief because I’m knocking this “brilliant parody”, it’s not that I’m against a good Apple parody – in fact – here’s one now…

The video above is funny, and makes a good point about the differences between the two machines.

The one in GTAIV is just playing up some old tired, and untrue Apple stereotypes.

But that’s just my two cents – what do you think?

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

13 thoughts on “Unimaginative Apple parody in ‘Grand Theft Auto IV’

  1. Untrue stereotypes are one of the foundations of the GTA universe. Just look at any character in the game…they’re all just a caricature of some stereotype. I doubt there’s really any animosity between Apple and Rockstar…just some good old ribbing.

  2. Seeing as the game has been getting perfect 10’s at almost every review site.. I really don’t mind. The game is all about taking offensive stereotypes (and guns, and cars, etc) and throwing it in people’s faces… And people love it.

    My roommates actually got the game before I left college at the end of the semester, and It was really quite impressive. Take all your connotations about how bad (gameplay wise) a set of games the series is, and this one chucks them out the window.

    Personally. I say you don’t have to like the stereotype, but be able to laugh at it.

    “If you can’t laugh at yourself, you can’t truly laugh”. not sure where I heard that, but it’s one I like.

    –peace out.

  3. I think Rockstar got the exact response they wanted from you, Michael. If you’ve played any of the modern GTA series games, you’d know that they have parodies of everything. Every company, every public personality, every culture, every type of music, are all potential fodder for parodies in GTA. Each one is an attempt at humor, and to ruffle the feathers of those playing. Some of their parodies are over the top and obvious, like this one, and some are extremely subtle, that only very specific groups get the joke.

    As for the ‘creativity’ of it, I’d be careful there. You’re crossing the line a bit with judgements about their quality of work and the thought put in to it. While the concept of the parody is certainly not unique, creativity, thought and hard work were put in to it for the specifics. Depending on your point of view, nearly everything can be construed as not creative. Apple Gazette, for example. On the surface, it’s yet another site in a sea of nearly identical Mac news and comment websites. You have to understand the intricacies of the market to see some of the delineation between unique approaches, and even then, those difference can be subtle at best.

    As you’ve admitted, your bias against the GTA series is as clear as your pro-bias towards Apple products. This hit you doubly hard because you don’t care for the GTA series, and obviously, you’re a dedicated Apple fan. You were trolled successfully by this because it bothered you so much. My only concern is as a ‘journalist,’ you’re clearly letting personal bias influence your statements of this parody’s artistic achievement. It may be in poor taste to you, but that does not diminish the quality of the work. And yes, this is an artistic work. Art doesn’t necessarily have to be hanging in a wall in a museum.

    You also have to examine GTA’s audience. If they produced an Apple parody that was too subtle, too ‘creative’, too unique, it may fly over the head of their intended audience and not get the intended effect. They tailor parts of their game to engage and keep their audience. Part of that may mean directly creating controversy (well duh, it IS Rockstar), and part of it is producing something that’s familiar and approachable to their audience. The joke wouldn’t have been the same if it was some esoteric Apple jab.

    Because there’s been so much discussion about this on even just this one blog post, I think Rockstar was successful in their parody. They got the intended response. Some of us found it funny, some found it insulting, and others were indifferent. It sparked a response. Mission succeeded.

  4. @Drew

    I doubt there is any animosity between the companies. It’s just obvious that someone involved with the games’ creation hates Apple products, and spent a significant amount of time on an uncreative way of expressing that.

  5. I gotta agree with Drew on this one. I don’t think they have anything specifically against Apple. GTA and Rockstar games in general are all about making fun of everything. I mean there’s a tv show in it called America’s Next Top Hooker. I highly doubt they have an agenda with the actual model show. Granted the things they said in the “apple” ads is pretty harsh I don’t take it personally. The things they say are what all the apple haters out there say they are just following suit.

    Besides we know its not true so why get bent out of shape over it? Afterall it is just a game. Not to mention if people really believed that their products wouldn’t be selling like crazy, unless this entire planet is inside the “fruit cocoon” 🙂

  6. @Steve

    I think my general distaste for Grand Theft Auto in general is just getting the better of me – but I still stand by the sentiment that its just not very creative.

  7. quote:
    “and spent a significant amount of time on an uncreative way of expressing that”

    well… you may not like it – I don’t. But I wouldn’t call it uncreative. The idea, the slogans, picking up common clichés & stress them, the logo… I think that’s pretty creative!

  8. @zippi

    I don’t think its terribly creative to just rehash the same old stereotypes. I don’t think that’s ever a creative thing to do.

  9. i seriously want that phone… if they worked. freakin’ Appl-um-Fruit hardware. overpriced junk, the lot of it.

  10. it’s creative to not just post them as comments or in messageboards, but to take them and create an interface lige that of “Fruit” – ok, it may not be the most creative thing to do, especially since it’s only reusing predominant stereotypes. But compared with standard mac-bashing and preaching stereotypes its waaaayy more creative… Just my 2cents

  11. I think they’ve hit the nail right on the head. Apple products are very simple, very minimalistic, and very overpriced. That’s why they’re so popular within their usergroup. That’s why I like them, well, all apart for the fact that they’re overpriced (but then I buy second hand…). There’s nothing wrong with stating the truth…

  12. @Adam Nelson: Well put.

    Seriously, I am surprised at the amount of hostility towards this little joke. It’s a parody. Lighten up, Francis.

  13. @Adam

    Well argued. The only thing there that I can see that I disagree with would be the “crossing the line” bit about judging creativity. I guess I haven’t done a very good job of expressing myself in this instance, because the phrase “not very creative” seems to be misunderstood.

    I’m not saying they didn’t produce a creative work. All art, regardless of quality (which is and always will be subjective) is a “creative work”. What I’m saying is that the work they produced did not say anything beyond a typical stereotype of someone who is “anti-apple”. To that end, I don’t feel that its a very creative Apple parody – not that the work is not “art”.

    That’s an opinion on my part, and I’m free to have it, just as you are that it’s a great work of creativity. That’s what’s great about art.

    I will gladly concede that my lack of knowledge about the intricacies of GTA has played a part in my perception of this parody. However, I also want to address your comments about my “journalistic integrity” for a variety of reasons.

    This blog is, and always will be, filled with opinions. My opinions, your opinions, they’re all here, and they’re all valid. If I don’t like something, I’m going to write about it. If I think something is a bad idea, or something is not very good, I’m going to say so. If this blog became an “opinion free” site, there would be no point for it to exist. I don’t think for second that commenting on how good or bad I think something is damages myself or this site in any way.

    Heck, all this blog is my constant ramblings about what I think about things related to Apple. I try to be as objective as possible – and I think I do an ok job with it. If I don’t like something, I write about it – and I try to be clear about WHY I don’t like it. In this case, I don’t care much for this particular franchise, and I tried to make that clear, because I think that’s the only fair way to do it. I think that if I was to attempt to hide my lack of interest or admiration for the franchise – THEN, I would be doing a disservice to the people that read this site, and to myself.

    So – just to be clear. I am in no way saying that the people at Rockstar Games are not producing artistic works – I just didn’t – and still don’t – think this one was particularly good. If this is the kind of surface level stuff they do throughout their games, then it certainly makes sense in the context of their universe…but their universe would not be something that I, personally, would be terribly interested in.

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