He had saved money from his summer job – paid the reservation fee, kept track of the paperwork, and never lost focus (which is very unusual for him) as we slowly crept towards the (symbolic, or just slightly unique) release date of… 11-11-11.
Despite the much hyped “Midnight Release” of the game (that I secretly suspected he wished to partake in), #2 of 5’s “official plan” was to have me pick him up after school, take him to GameStop (where he had his game reservation), and then come home, where he and a friend (who is also an Elder Scrolls fan) would play until they, the television, or the Xbox360 dropped over in exhaustion. I let him believe that was going to be the plan – that is, up until The Mother of Five was turning in for the night.
We had previously discussed it, and decided that (even though it was a school night and I had to be up early in the morning) I would (as a surprise) take the boys up and experience a “Midnight Video Game Release”. (To be honest with you, I was a little curious myself.)
I was not disappointed.
I called the store ahead of time and got the “low down” on how this all works…
- Store closes at 9pm.
- Store reopens at 10pm.
- Customers bring in their preorder receipt.
- Customers pay their balance, and get their receipt stamped “Paid”.
- Customers get in line waiting for midnight.
- After midnight, customers present receipt stamped “paid” and receive their shiny new copy of Skyrim.
While not part of the “official” low down, based on my observations, I’d like to add one more bullet point.
- Customer takes their shiny new copy of Skyrim home, and begins an all night caffeine fueled video game bingefest until the collapse from exhaustion.
So, at the end of an already long day we headed out, arriving at the store just before 11pm where #2 of 5 fulfilled all his “pre-midnight” requirements. There was close to 30 other customers in the store at this time.
(Yeah, I do look pretty tired in that pic… Thanks for asking)
By 11:05pm the stream of customers entering the store to fulfill their “pre-midnight” requirements started growing and the line of customers who had their stamped receipt was overtaking the store – so the staff had to move the stamped receipt line outside the store.
For those of you who are not licensed math teachers…. Let me share a little equation with you…
November (+) Minnesota (x) 1 hour standing outside (=) Cold
(even for a “well insulated” native Minnesotan such as myself)
Thankfully, the neighboring coffee shop has free open WiFi that helped distract me from the cold by allowing me to pass the time on Facebook (As some of you may recall.)
#2 of 5 was the twelfth in line – ahead of him was a large group of what appeared to be friends. Behind him the line stretched out along the strip mall. I watched from the sideline as the line grew longer and longer by the minute. There were some common themes among the attendees. (Prepare for some sarcastic stereotyping ahead - Yet remember that humor often depends upon elements of truthfulness). The group was…
|- Predominantly male (while borderline crude, to call it a “sausage fest” would not be an exaggeration)|
- 16-25 age demographic (Fitting)
- “I still live in my parent’s basement” (Need I say more?)
- A fair amount of acne. (Too busy gaming to worry about hygiene.)
- Goth, emo, skater, or just plain unkempt (hobo like) appearance.
- A large representation from extreme ends of the “body frame bell curve” (“emaciated” or “corpulent”)
- Black clothing (skinny jeans, trench coats, Converse All-Stars, etc)
- Body piercings
- Overly caffeinated bravado and machismo. (Not sure why, see first observation)
- Extreme braggardly, theatric and exaggerated stories, jokes, and tales told from their tremendous base of knowledge and life experiences.
Yeah, I joke a little there, but they were the typical gamer type… Nothing to out of the ordinary. Expected behaviors – a little profanity, bizarre humor (I’m pretty certain I heard more than one Monty Python quote), and lots of “gamer talk”… Enough to make me quietly smile (and sometimes subtly shake my head in disbelief) as I listened in. Nothing I would not expect to hear from any group of 16-25 year olds. Yet, all seemingly pretty decent.
Although there was one customer there that deviated SIGNIFICANTLY from the standard demographic.
Gaming Grandma or picking up a copy for her son / grandson.
You make the call.
(FYI – Pretty cool of her to be there either way in my opinion!!)
I do have one tip for the group at the head of the line though… Take it from a seasoned cigar smoker. Grape flavored cigarillos not only smell HORRIFIC (and I can only imagine how they would taste), they do NOTHING for your “manliness”… If you are going to enjoy a cigar, it’s time put your big boy pants on, and smoke a REAL cigar.
Suggestions include: Romeo y Julieta, H. Upman, Arturo Funte, or La Gloria Cubana.
(A nice oily Maduro would give you extra manliness points!)
As we waited and the line grew much longer, one car driving through the parking lot caught my attention. It was driving with its windows down (slightly unusual for a November night in Minnesota). I watched it as it slowly drove past the long line of customers. From where I stood (away from the line) I could hear the passenger yell “Fags” with a volume that I could hear, but those standing in line (talking about all things video game related) did not hear. I even turned to see if anyone noticed… Only one person (besides myself) did. Then from several lanes away, the driver and passenger started yelling much louder (enough to be noticed) – but they were so far away it was intelligible. So much for the haters.
The time came – Midnight… The witching hour… 11-11-11… SKYRIM!!
Staff popped out and started counting off. They let the first ten in. As quickly as they went in, they were heading out – game (or in one case a Skyrim themed Xbox system). #2 of 5 was second or third in line in the next group. I quickly snapped a photo, and before I could even switch from camera to video mode, he had his game in hand and was already heading (skipping? You be the judge) out the door – game in hand.
I was a little worried at first… He was so excited that I contemplated putting plastic down over the car seats, just in case he was going to have an “accident” in the seat of the van… (Thankfully, he was able to hold his bladder…)
Once we are safely in the car #2 of 5 turns to me and says “Oh my gosh Dad, did you see all the “freaks” out there?” I look over to him and simply shake my head. I don’t think he fully understood the irony in his statement. After all, wasn’t he (we) just a part of that circus?
I fully accept and embrace my freaky geeky self. #2 of 5 has not yet come to terms with his…
We made it home where #2 of 3 wanted me to picture text a couple of his friends with a photo of him and his newly obtained treasure (mocking them, I suspect). After sending said text, I was able to snap one last picture before he headed off to bed - scurrying downstairs with the game curled tightly in his arm like Gollum and his “precious”.
As I contemplated writing this post, it occurred to me… Ya know, if Skyrim was came out when I was 16 – I would have wanted to wait in line too!!
Question for my readers….
How long do you think before I’ll be able to squeak out a few minutes of Xbox time (that is not monopolized by the boys and Skyrim) to play ??