Around noon on Monday I grabbed my camera and
jumped into my car and started driving around to the local game stores, two
Gamestops, to see what the state of the midnight opening was shaping up to be.
The first place I checked was a mall Gamestop
that had two guys sitting in front in oh-so-comfy looking chairs. Asking how
long they had been waiting the first guy explained that he had been there the
moment the mall opened; the second was there soon after.
The inside of the Gamestop was littered with assortments of Halo branded merchandise. Everything from Halo Clix to small patches for you jacket to express if you were on the Earth Defense side, or the Convenient. All conversations in the store were pointed in the direction of Halo 3, not out of some marketing scheme brought down from corporate, but because the people working in the store seemed to be genuinely excited that the game was coming out. I asked one of the sales associates how many people were working the midnight opening. He replied with, “All but four and they are working open to close tomorrow.”
The second Gamestop didn’t start to have a line until roughly 4 pm at which time a car load of people got out, pulled up one of the benches from in front of another store, and sat. Five minutes later one of the store reps came out and instructed them, very politely, that they had been forming a line the wrong way.
At the same time at the other Gamestop three more people had joined the waiting ranks and the two gents from the morning were told that they too had formed the line in the wrong direction by a mall security guard, as well as telling them that they could not have their comfy chairs and if they wanted to wait they would have to take the chairs back to their car. The three guys in line behind them were kind enough to hold their place.
For the next several hours the line swelled to about 75 people at around 10 at night, running down the length of the Gamestop, the entire front of another store, and up the side of another. As additional people got in line a security guard would randomly appear and put a traffic cone next to them to possibly guide the line.
The other Gamestop had about a similar number of people waiting, but without someone to pay constant attention to the line there were constantly people cutting into the line making placement pretty meaningless.
A little less than two hours later the line procured another 40 people, none of which made any attempt at order as people were still consistently flagging down other people to jump into line ahead of them. People seemed generally annoyed at the entire idea of the line as the night wore on and people stopped talking and started shooting disapproving glances at others.
The manager told me the next day that the Red Bull girls and another soft drink rep were supposed to show up and hand out Red Bull and burgers, but neither ever showed up or called to explain why they couldn’t make it.
Right before midnight another 20 people jumped into line behind me with even more people constantly arriving right after midnight. One of the sales reps told me the next day the line only lasted for about half an hour, with a steady stream of people coming in and out of the store till 2.