Video gamemaker BRIAN BAGLOW has incurred the wrath of politicians with his latest creation Grand Theft Auto. He's sure to go far.

Words: Peter Ross

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ENEMIES OF THE people take the most innocuous forms; that's why they‘re dangerous. Respected moral arbiters like David Mellor might not know exactly who they‘re persecuting. but their current Public Enemy Number One is a young, pleasant. mild-mannered computer programmer. From Dundee.

At age 27. Brian Baglow is the shadowy figure behind Grand Theft Auto. described by out-of- touch politicians and outraged dailies as the sickest video game since Jeremy Beadle

if everyone played GTA for ten minutes when they stopped for petmi. we'd ,2

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played hide-the-salami on You've Been Framed.

Gamers play a small-fry crook who scales the criminal ladder by carjacking and creating high-speed mayhem across three American cities. Points are awarded for such tasks as stealing coke and mowing down cops. both of which are. in gameplay terms. a whole lotta laughs. ln GTA. vice is its own reward and this delicious wickedness has led the Grand Inquisitors of public decency to cry ‘Evil!’ and


call for the game to be banned.

‘I don‘t just think GTA should be legal. 1 think it should be mandatory.‘ asserts Baglow with the steady tones of a man on a mission. ‘lf everyone had to play GTA for ten minutes every time they stopped for petrol. we‘d get a lot less road rage cases.

‘l'm sure quite a lot of people playing it are drawn to the dark underbelly of society. We’re just giving them a chance to vent that without driving down Princes Street and ploughing into people.’

There must be scary amounts of potential white-knuckle drivers out there if Grand Theft Auto's sales are anything to go by. Currently cruising just shy of pole position in the games charts. GTA has left blockbusters like Tinnln'aider 2 and G-Palice choking on exhaust fumes.

But things weren‘t always so supercharged for Baglow. Before joining DMA Design in I995. he worked as a programmer for Dalgety Bay electronics firm Marconi which he describes as ‘real waste-of-life kind of stuff’. One day he snapped and walked out. Desperate to design games. he bribed DMA boss Dave Jones with a sheet of Return Of The



Public Enemy Number One: Brian Baglow

Jedi transfers and got the gig.

Producing a classic like GM has secured Baglow"s position and reputation as a designer. But. although the game's British publishers BMG were immediately attracted to the ramraid fest. the American wing took more persuading.

‘lf we had presented them with a Quake clone they would have dropped to their knees weeping as they wrote us cheques.‘ sneers Baglow. ‘They would have been much happier if we had presented them with something full of flash graphics and no substance. so that they could do nice screen-shots in magazines and get all the slack-jawed. banjo—plucking. trailer-park morons in the States to go “Hey! That looks swell!" and rush out to buy it.‘

Grand Theft Ann) is yet to get an American release and a question mark still hangs over its future availability here. But Baglow has no qualms about the future: ‘When it‘s released in the US at the end of February. it‘ll roll over everything in a huge relentless GTA juggernaut of fame. money. power. sex and drugs.’

Happy motoring.

To Win a copy of Grand Auto Theft, ' See Scanner page 109. A I