I arrived at the store around 8:30 pm. There were no Humvees or members of the armed forces. Instead there were 2 White H2’s from a local dealership, which were backed up near the front entrance. There was a line of people standing around the store and the H2’s numbered near 25. I took a few pictures, watched a few people playing on 42” LCD in the back of one of the H2’s, and chatted with another guy filming the event. He later told me it was for part of a college project on “Gaming Addiction.” By about 9 pm the crowd had grown to around 50, people of all ages were present, from 13 to 63. As expected I saw very few women, save for the mom’s and girlfriends who had been drug to the event. Some of the guys from Wearethegamerz.com announced they were setting up a FNG challenge inside the GameStop. Whoever got the best time received a sealed copy of Wolverine’s Revenge for PS3. By this time the GameStop employees were walking around letting those know who looked and were under 17 that they could not demo the game or participate in the FNG challenge without a parent’s consent. A few people whined and complained but GameStop stuck to their guns.
A few of the GameStop employees were handing out coffee, energy drinks, and pastries as we waited outside in the cold for a chance to demo the game or take a crack at the tournament. The time was now 9:30 and I soon discovered I was one of the only people there to buy the Playstation 3 version. Here I was the lone fish in a semi hostile sea of 360 fan boys. With the crowd swelling to 100 people or more I quickly signed up for the FNG run. My end time was 50 seconds, 25 seconds behind the future winner.
I stepped backed in line and I noticed someone had finally set up another 42” LCD in the back of the other H2. The crowd chatted among themselves eagerly talking about the game, the last midnight release party, and what some of their plans were for the night and tomorrow. As some of the gamers whined about the cold and their parents, I caught strands of conversation about taking work off and planned Monster-fueled- all- nighters.
As I was talking to a fellow PS3 gamer, one of the GameStop employees who recognized me from frequent trips to the store asked me how I was doing and what was with the tattered moleskin in my hand. I mentioned I was taking notes and pictures for an article on a website. He asked if I had gotten to play it in one of the back of the H2’s yet. I mentioned I had not and with that he led me to the front to get a shot to play Spec Ops.
11:30 came and went and by this time the line was wrapped around the building. Over 150 people had joined our ranks and were eagerly crowding the wall of the building trying to keep warm while the nervous energy and anticipation built. When 12:01 struck and we were let in the store there were muted cries of joy where I expected to hear screams of excitement. Everyone seemed relieved to get their copies.