It was one year ago (well, an year and two days) on 11-11-11 that madness broke out at midnight. This was the release of the eagerly awaited Xbox360 game that #2 of 5 had previously reserved a copy of. We waited in an hour long line (at 28 degrees) for his copy of Skyrim (The Elder Scrolls V).
November must be the month for video game releases (anticipated Christmas sales?) – because last night on 11-13-12 the eagerly awaited Xbox360 game Call of Duty - Black Ops II that #3 of 5 had previously reserved a copy of was scheduled for release. Since I had done it for #2 of 5, I felt I should do it for #3 of 5 too.
I had very little sleep the night before, and had to be up by 4:45 am the next morning. I was actually looking forward to going to bed a little early when #3 of 5 arrived home from school, and it hit me (like a ton of bricks). Today was the day. Tonight was the midnight release of the Call of Duty game that #3 of 5 was so eagerly awaiting. Technically, the release date was 11-13-12 – but the “midnight release” meant that we would have to line up and wait on 11-12-12. I was very grateful when the Mother of Five actually suggested I lay down and take a nap beforehand.
Since he was using gift cards from games he previously sold back to pay for tonight’s purchase we were pretty much stuck going to one of the larger national chain stores (Gamestop) nearby. It’s not that I don’t like Gamestop – I actually do, but we have a similar business (HighScore) that is locally owned and half the distance away. Their store is fun to visit, and they also have some fabulous customer service! So I was saddened when I woke from my nap and noticed that HighScore updated their facebook page with an announcement that they would be providing free pizza and a Monster for the customers in their line.
We headed out by 9:15pm and arrived at the store at 9:30pm. #3 of 5 paid his balance and was given his spot in line. #10-4 (group 10, customer 4) – this made him #104 in line because each group had 10 customers. For the next 45 minutes we lingered in the store. I played on the new Wii U controller, Unchartered, and some Gran Turismo and browsed around the used game area.
Behind the counter were stacks and stacks of the game, in Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii platforms. There was also the deluxe collectors edition, and the “Pièce de résistance” – The Call of Duty Black Ops “Care Package”. (Those suitcase like objects)
Throughout this year’s experience I noticed a couple of things. One very similar, and one polar opposite from last year’s event.
Similar to last year, the crowd “demographic” remained remarkably unchanged.
- Predominantly male (while borderline crude, to call it a “sausage fest” would not be an exaggeration)
But, unlike last year’s “gaming grandma”, I experienced the opposite end of the age spectrum this year.
A toddler, her “Teen Mom”, and her mother’s friend were also in the store waiting for the midnight release. I mean a toddler? Really?? I won’t lie. I was, quite honestly, a little relieved when I saw them leaving around 10pm.
I was hopeful that the little girl would soon be tucked into her own warm and cozy little bed, surrounded by her dolls and stuffed animals. My hopes were dashed when the trio returned shortly thereafter. It would seem that they did not head home, instead they headed to the nearby convenience store to load up on sugar and caffeine.
Yup folks, that is a toddler
drinking sucking down her very own 20oz bottle of Mountain Dew “White Out”, just before midnight… But don’t worry. I overheard her mother say she got a nap earlier in the day, so it’s all ok, right?
Once 11pm rolled around, the store staff kicked everyone out into the harsh Minnesota cold. They helped collect and gather the “groups of 10” (#1 - #20) into a semblance of a line, and the waiting began.
It was cold out. Seven degrees colder than last year! It was 21 degrees with a wind chill of 11 degrees. Most folks were bundled up quite nicely – but others were just wearing street clothing – and even a few (at least two) were wearing SHORTS!!??!?
Knowing I had a full hour to go yet, I (like Mountain Dew Girl’s mother) also ran to the nearby convenience store. I filled my tank with gas, and grabbed two hot chocolates. We enjoyed the hot chocolate as we patiently waited our turn trying to keep warm.
I enjoyed the “people watching” factor of waiting in line. I listed to all the caffeine fueled “smack talk” – dudes exaggerating their “skills” and “experiences” in various video games, other guys calling them out on their stores, then turning and telling a “yarn” of their own. Listening to packs of 17-25 year old males is quite entertaining!
The time arrived. Midnight. The first group of ten were let in the store. Then the next group, and the next group. Finally, it was time for Group #10 – Our group! #3 of 5 headed into the store, and quickly exited with his loot in hand.
Oh yeah… One other little “observation”. Want to know who bought one of those “care packages” (besides the guy in the video)?
Yup! Mountain Dew girl’s Teen Mom did! She dropped almost 200 bucks for the “care package”. Want to know how I know? Because while we were still waiting in line, she held her care package above her head and made an theatrical announcement (laughing quite unashamedly) that she would be willing to trade her (almost $200.00) “Care Package” for anyone who get her keys out of her locked car… (sigh)
On the way home I told #3 of 5 that this was my last rodeo. I did it for #2 of 5, and now I did it for him. By this time next year either one or both of these boys will be drivers and they can transport and attend their their own midnight video game releases in the future!
(YEAH!!! I’m off the hook!!)
At least I can say I have done it… Twice!