Scotland may be a small country in terms of its size and population, but within the IT and computing and gaming world it’s been punching well above it’s weight for years. Proof? Three words, Grand Theft Auto (GTA), a console video game originally developed in Dundee. Of course, a lot has happened since the 1997-release of GTA, not least that it’s now owned by Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., the New York-based multinational publisher, developer, and distributor of video games and video game peripherals.
The latest incarnation of GTA, as video games aficionados are probably only too well aware, is Grand Theft Auto 5. An article in Forbes estimates the 33 million copies of the game sold in 2013 – making it the most popular console video game in North America, Latin America and Europe combined – has likely netted Take-Two Interactive somewhere in the region of a little under $2 billion! Whether the estimate is wide of the mark or not, GTA is one heck of a profitable game by just about any measure.
Innovation and invention
Little wonder computing, gaming and IT careers in Scotland are at least worth thinking about given the country’s worldwide reputation for innovation and invention, garnered over many centuries. We all know that Scots were responsible for the telephone, television and penicillin. But Scots also improved on or invented so much more, from the grand piano to the refrigerator, criminal fingerprinting, indoor toilet, fax machine, cash machine and PIN number, steam engine, gas lighting, raincoat, bicycle, monorail, radar, microwave, tarmac, beta-blockers, colour photography, logarithms and the decimal point – whew, but you get the picture!
Declaration of Independence
Whether through political upheaval or simple curiosity, Scots have also always travelled to distant shores, including to the United States where they played an influential part in the nation’s founding. And with them went their love of freedom, no better reflected than in the Declaration of Arbroath, Scotland’s own declaration of independence signed in 1320.
In 2011, a rare copy of the Declaration of Arbroath was gifted to the US National Archives in recognition of the link between it and the American Declaration of Independence, which was signed some 456 years later. The US Senate in Resolution 155 of March 1998 asserted unequivocally that “… the American Declaration of Independence was modelled on that inspirational document.”
Great complement to Scotland
Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish government’s Culture and External Affairs Secretary, in presenting the copy, said at the time it was a great compliment to Scotland that the US has chosen to officially recognise the similarities between the US Declaration of Independence and the Declaration of Arbroath.
She said, “The Declaration of Arbroath is Scotland’s greatest documentary treasure. It sought international recognition of our nation’s independence and placed great emphasis on the importance of freedom.
“That is why I am so delighted to present this rare, limited edition print of the Declaration of Arbroath to the US National Archives. It is a fitting way to recognise and celebrate the close and deep ties between our two nations.”