Over the years, I’ve waited in my fair share of lines for the sake of video games. When the Xbox360 launched back in 2005, I found myself ignoring my better judgment (it’s a hobby of mine) and camping out in front of the local Costco overnight in near freezing temperatures to get one on launch day. The cold temperatures were mitigated somewhat by the availability of electricity, which resulted in a number of TVs and Xbox systems showing up to pass the time away. In spite of the Xbox 360’s spotty reliability record, I still have my original 360, which has never red-ringed on me. I suspect the fact that it gets relatively light use probably helps that fact.
More recently, last November found me spending 8 hours sitting in line in a crowded Hollywood Video store (which is about 7 1/2 hours more than I ever care to spend in a video store again) awaiting the Midnight launch of the Nintendo Wii at the attached GameCrazy. With about 130 people in front of me in line, and only 2 cashiers, I was given ample opportunity to remind myself why I hardly ever watch movies anymore. There’s something particularly soul-crushing about the experience sitting around bored out of your skull in the comedy section of a video store at 2 in the morning with at least another hour of waiting in front of you, but given the fact that it would turn out to be four months before I’d have another chance to purchase a Wii, I do not regret doing so. In addition to the usual swag that’s since been relegated to a dark corner of the closet, I was able to get a free totebag to carry the system in for answering a trivia question correctly. The bag has proven useful, as the Wii has been a hit with the rest of the family and has done a fair bit of traveling.
Fast forward to today, with the biggest game launch of the year, Halo 3. Since my copy has been ordered already and should be set to arrive tomorrow, I think I’ll go ahead and sleep in my own bed tonight, and skip the long wait. I did drop by the Bellevue Best Buy to see what was going on with one of the official launch events. Here we see the front of the line:
More pictures after the jump.
Behind them, the line continues. Among the usual debris and detritus that accumulates at such gatherings can be seen a coffee table covered in pizza boxes.
Going around the corner, we can see the line going around the corner of the building, and into the darkness…
…Continuing past the back of the building. The line then takes a turn into the parking lot of the neighboring Home Depot…
…Coming to an end roughly halfway into the lot. At the point these photos were taken, there was still nearly two hours left until Midnight, and if my experience with these lines is any indication, these people will probably be lucky to get home by 3am, never mind the ones who show up behind them.
The HeroClix people were on hand to display their Halo ActionClix merchandise. A couple of lucky people near the front of the line actually got one of those Scarabs. Other swag included T-shirts, posters, and those ThunderStix things that seem to be all the rage at sporting events where it is considered advantageous to annoy the heck out of the players on the field. But what about the people farther back in line?
Mostly they got overly caffeinated soda. A marketing team for Mountain Dew Game Fuel was out in full force, with T-shirts, stress balls, free samples, and even people wandering around the line administering hand massages to people (which leads me to wonder exactly how much good that does BEFORE you’re going to veg out on video games for hours.) I suspect that given the limited time nature of Game Fuel, they’re probably trying to find some way to dump the remaining supply of product on unsuspecting gamers before the shareholders start asking questions. On the other hand, they did have an interesting approach to decorating their truck:
Why bother paying to make some sort of banner when you can just tape a few T-shirts to the side of the truck and call it good?
There were supposed to be a few other things going on (including appearances by a number of Bungie and Microsoft people, and someone in a Master Chief suit) but I didn’t feel particularly inclined to hang out there. I think I’ll just get some sleep tonight, and finish the fight when I darn well feel like it.