Coachella Valley depicted in Grand Theft Auto V

Game reached $800 million in sales upon release Tuesday

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Set in Southern California, several spots depicted in the latest version of the notoriously violent and cynical video game Grand Theft Auto, look all too familiar to Valley residents.

For starters, there's a desert scene in the middle of a large windmill farm.  Then there's the Alamo Sea area which obviously was inspired by areas in and around the Salton Sea community.  Also, characters show up at the Pala Springs Aerial Tramway, a crude version of the Palm Springs AerialTramway.

While all this could alarm Valley tourism leaders, they know better since all scenes in the game are fictional.

"Many destinations have been represented in Grand Theft Auto in many different ways.  You know, it's a little bit poke of fun in some of the cities," said Mary Jo Ginther, Director of the Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism.

Roy Provost of Cathderal City purchased Grand Theft Auto V for his 11 and 12 year old sons.  He says he monitors their play for the violence.  He believes out-of-town gamers might actually visit the Valley out of curiosity of seeing the real thing.

"I think it's definitely a good chance of that.  I know my boys wanted to go to New York City after the first one," said Provost.

Ginther says she can't be certain if the video game might bring more visitors to the valley.  However , she's confident despite the shady theme of the game, Palm Springs will continue to be looked at as an open, friendly place to visit.

"It's a tram car, it's windmills in the background, so I don't think there's anything in there that's going to change the branding of what Palm Springs is all about," said Ginther.

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