Halo 2: Midnight Madness

Alright, I admit it. I'm a sucker for marketing ploys. If I can buy a game or see a movie at midnight, and it's something I'm into, I do it. Because I... JUST. CAN'T. WAIT... that extra nine hours 'til the store or movie theater would normally open. But it's not just for the games and movies; it's the adventure of it all. The bonding with other geeks, the comradery with your fellow losers. It makes me feel like I have friends, even if just for one night at midnight.

I figured I'd stick with the photos for a second post in a row, because I love making this page load slowly, and I love the free bandwidth I get to leech from UF even more. Plus most of you don't know how to read. And I already rambled about my love of Halo, so I'll save you the justification for the following... as if it were necessary.

And so we arrived at the Oaks Mall at approximately 11:50 p.m., November 8th, to be among the first to snag a copy of Halo 2 for Xbox.

Apparently over 600 other people had the same idea. So, after scrambling to get to the mall to actually make it there by midnight, we quickly realized that we weren't going to be leaving with a copy of the game any time soon. The crowd you see above is actually two lines for two different stores...

The line to the left, for the store GameStop, which wrapped around one side of the mall...

And then the one for EB Games, which went to the right. I, of course with my luck, was in the longer line: EB Games. We arrived in line and were given a ticket. Number 275.

Of course, the bitching commenced on behalf of everyone about how I should have preordered at GameStop. Unfortunately, when I tried to preorder the game in the beginning of September, GameStop was already sold out of the special edition copy of the game.

So stuck we were, waaaay at the end of the line. In the cold. Surrounded by smelly geeks.

Actually, I take that back. Halo is one of those games that has managed to go beyond the nerd population. It's the rare crossover game, like Madden or Grand Theft Auto, that anyone who claims to play games has to be a fan of. It's just a rule. And the launch of Halo 2, as the lines would dictate to any of you not familiar with the game, was an event. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas will sell more copies than Halo 2 will in the end, but Halo 2 is the only game that stores opened at midnight for. Three of them in Gainesville alone (with Rhino Video Games across town doing it also). Sure, you have to be a nerd to turn out to get a game at midnight, but was a less geeky crowd than a comic book convention. And the game apparently will make around $100 million in its first day alone - more than any movie has ever done. Not too shabby. But anyhow...

When we arrived, some security guard who looked like the type of guy who got the shit kicked out of him when he was younger walks to the end of the line to tell everyone that we can't storm the doors when he opens them.

"If you run, scream, or push, you will not be able to purchase the game, you will be escorted from the mall, and you will not be able to return until the mall opens tomorrow," he said.

So apparently if you incite a riot, you won't be arrested, fined, or banned from the premises... in fact, you'll be able to return in 9 hours. Good thing he was talking to a bunch of nerds who REALLY wanted this game, because otherwise he could have had some trouble on his hands.

And so he carefully opened the door, all the while thinking to himself "Oh God, oh God, please don't hurt me!"

And the horde of gamers quickly entered the building, but not as rambunctiously as they would have liked, for they were subdued by the intimidating threats of the Oaks Mall security guard. He may not have a gun, but he has a badge... and a license to threaten... to call the cops. And those guys have real guns!

So the SMART folks who thought to get to the mall an hour early got to the store first, and came out with their copies at their respective stores.

As we waited outside and the temperature steadily dropped, the lucky first people to get their copies ran out of the mall in an unbridled frenzy.

"I got it! I GOT IT!" one guy yelled as he hung out the passenger-side window of a car, clutching his limited edition copy as dearly as a precious gem while the driver sped off.

Words would not suffice for another man, whose maniacal laughter was all we heard as he taunted those of us who were waiting in the cold to get our first taste of the Master Chief's latest adventure.


Yeah, it was cold. Yeah, it was boring. But we were troopers. We stuck it out.

As the hour became later and the moon rose up into the sky, the wolves came out to feast on those helpless and tired who waited outside like sitting ducks, easy prey for the taking.

We narrowly escaped with our lives as we made it into the sanctuary of the mall. We showed concern for our bretheren who were still stranded out in the wilderness, but we had to press on, for we had travelled so far and were too close to the end of our quest to turn back. Plus it was cold as shit outside.

Hooray! That's me at 2 a.m. clutching my copy! And those are my backup dancers behind me. That's right, after two long ours of dicking around at the mall, I finally walked away 55 dollars poorer with the right to say that I'm a consumer whore.

Well, that was fun. After catching the flu, I came home to enjoy four hours of gaming bliss before passing out, stricken with exhaustion. I woke up in a pool of my own filth, bruised, sore, and half-naked. And you'd think I'd sit around and wallow in my sorrows, lamenting that I am forever trapped in my life of despair, but no! Not today, friends. Because today was spent playing Halo 2. And that, by any man's account, is a very good thing.

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2003 - 2005
Reverend Hughes