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Saturday, 21 July, 2001, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
Gamers race for Gran Turismo 3
Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi at the launch
Game ceator Kazunori Yamauchi was at the launch
Computer gamers queued through the night to be the first to buy Playstation 2's racing game Gran Turismo 3, which went on sale in the UK on Friday.

With more than 100,000 pre-orders, the game is said to be the most eagerly-awaited game ever, with graphics that set new standards in the software world.

Gran Turismo
Some graphics are said to be TV-quality
Its success is seen as a major victory for Sony's Playstation 2, which is battling the forthcoming Microsoft X-Box and Nintendo's GameCube in the console market.

The game is the latest in the highly successful Gran Turismo series, in which players have to collect cars and race them in increasingly difficult leagues.

The game was launched at HMV's store on Oxford Street, London, where fans had been queuing since Thursday night for its release on Friday morning.

And there were tussles in the queue between people wanting to be among the first 50 customers and so get a free steering wheel set, according to reports.

It's pretty safe to say that no game has received this sort of attention before

Patrick Garratt
Computer and Video Games magazine
Patrick Garratt, editor of Computer and Video Games magazine's website, said there were "sensational scenes" at the launch.

"It was a ruck down there this morning," he said.

"It's pretty safe to say that no game has received this sort of attention before."

The creator of Gran Turismo, Kazunori Yamauchi, was present - as were members of rock band Feeder, whose music features on the game's soundtrack.

Simon Cook
Simon Cook, 20 (right) was first in the queue
Mr Garratt said some of the graphics are comparable with TV quality, and that anyone with any love of video games will want to own it.

"No one's ever seen anything like this before. People are being wowed by the graphics.

"When you actually see it running, it's just incredible. It's an incredibly addictive game. And the depth of it is pretty astonishing."

Sony is currently trying to give its console a head-start in the commercial battle for fans before Microsoft releases its X-Box and Nintendo launch the GameCube before Christmas.

Prove itself

Mr Garratt says Gran Turismo 3 is "absolutely vital" for Playstation 2.

"X-Box has yet to prove itself, and Playstation 2 is on the ground and has got titles like this.

"To write X-Box off would be incredibly naive, but this sort of killer application is vital to Playstation 2."

Gran Turismo and Gran Turismo 2 have sold 17 million copies between them worldwide, and Gran Turismo 2 was the first computer game ever to achieve a BAFTA award in 1999.

See also:

20 Jul 01 | Reviews
Gran Turismo fuels PlayStation 2
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