Attack of the Midnight Launches

launchIf there’s something that I’ve learned about gamers, it’s that we like to torture ourselves. Seriously, it’s true. Whether it’s with a dungeon, a particularly hard boss, or maybe obtaining a certain achievement or level in a multiplayer game, we will beat our faces against the screen until we are a bloody mess in order to satisfy our goals. We’re masochists, really.

I think one of the more obvious symbols of this self-induced flaying would have to be the storied midnight launch. The midnight launch, the method of instant releases for both systems and games, brings a real life obstacle for a gamer to grind his way through. Something to set our hopes on and try to tackle. Though I’ve participated in many midnight launches in my day, none was so arduous as the quest to obtain my Playstation 2 back in 2000.

The plan was simple enough. As seniors in high school, we were going to skip the next day of class and get up early enough to beat the rush for the Playstation 2 as it released in stores across the Houston area. We were all going to crash at my place, wake up, get breakfast, and set about our glorious task. However, fate had other plans.

A brief glimpse at the nightly local news showed hordes of people clamoring like zombies over one another, waiting to get in line for the PS2, hoping against all hope to get one. At this point it was well before midnight… Never had we considered that we might actually have to camp out for one of these systems, but suddenly, the option was very real.

We immediately ran to my car and drove to a nearby Wal-Mart to see it with our own eyes, and sure enough, what we saw on the TV set was true: hundreds were gathered. And they were in line ahead of us. While I’d like to think we kept a cool head at this point, the truth is that we panicked. I remember my friend worriedly stating “We’re not going to get one,” as we sped away from Wal-Mart, trying to come up with a plan.

ps2A quick tour of several stores showed that many people were setting up shop for the night, in some cases waiting 10-12 hours for a raffle drawing to maybe get a PS2. Eventually, we found a Circuit City. Our sources told us that Circuit City would have 14 PS2’s ready for sale in the morning. We checked out the line, and saw that there were already 7 people in it. Without hesitating, we sped back to my house, grabbed blankets and returned to the store, taking our spot in line and awaiting the 10 o’clock opening of the store. At this point it wasn’t even midnight.

The night itself was just as stressful. At one point, it poured rain on us. At another, a cop came by and threatened to make us leave because someone leaned against the door and set off the alarm. Someone that showed up early in the morning tried to cut in line. Other people tried to form their own line. People got testy and acted like douches.

In the end though, we prevailed, and managed to walk away with a PS2 each. To this day, I actually still have this launch console, and I might be the only one in the group who pulled that off. While it was a really crazy night, I can’t help but look back on it fondly. I have to say that I’m pretty proud that we had the stones to stay there all night. And come on, we all know the PS2 was so worth it in the long run.

So what about you guys? What midnight launches or video game releases have you participated in? Go!

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

8 thoughts on “Attack of the Midnight Launches”

  1. I have never done a midnight release, or anything like that before. the only thing close to that was showing up two and a half hours early for the release of star trek πŸ˜€ Thanks to steam I can pre-order/pre-load any game that comes out on it from the comfort of my own home πŸ™‚

  2. Halo 3 launch was epic, the local Gamestop had a huge 16 player LAN party going on in the parking lot with 16 TV’s. And a moment I will never forget was when the first guy got his Legendary Edition and opened it and held it up for all in line to see, in a glorious fashion. Again, epic.

  3. Honestly, I never buy a console on the day it launches. There are usually few games I want right away and I always wait for the good games.

    Also, let others get the crap ones that are glitched and stuff. That’s what early adopters are for: cannon fodder for me!

    I have gone on launch day for Final Fantasy X, GTA: Vice City and GTA IV, but I usually can wait until I get off work or something. As for camping out, I would never do that,lol.

    One thing that struck me about how crazy we gamers can be is I read of a guy who camped out for a day to get a Dreamcast and then didn’t even buy a game until a month later!

    THEN WHY THE F**K did you camp out?????

    Great post, Eddy! That was really fun to read.

  4. Ive only been to a few, my latest was Super Smash Bros Brawl… I had to run from the parking lot to the door because they were shutting it. I was the last one to get one at the midnight release and played it until I went to school.

  5. I’ve only really started to get games on launch day since Mario Kart Wii. In the past yaer I’ve got MK:Wii, SSBB, Far Cry 2, Killzone 2 and Uncharted the day it came out on platinum. I was going to get MGS4 on launch, but I misread the date, thought it was a Friday, went in and checked and the guy said “it was yesterday!” I was distraught, but he told me he hadn’t got to play it and his shift wouldn’t be over for ages so I at least knew I wouldn’t be the last Irish MGS fan to play it! πŸ™‚
    But seriously, waiting OVERNIGHT just to get a game/console? I reserved the Wii as there were only going to be 8 at the shop. Only 3 came in on day one and the other 5 got shipped to Italy! I got mine on the 23rd of December. > : (

  6. Great read bud. I’ve got to say I’ve never been in a midnight line for any Movies/Game releeases. What I have stood in line at great lengths for has been concerts.

    You dont want to bring a sweater inside cause you’re gonna be hot as hell, but standing outside in a T-shirt in november in Winnipeg Manitoba ( Kanehdah? ) was not easy. We gathered some debris and litre from our lovely downtown and actualy built a small fire, and as the line would started to move, we kicked it along with us.. We also huddled around our biggest friend, Calvin. Gotta love the guy.

    Arch Enemy for the win \m/

  7. [quote]I remember my friend worriedly stating β€œWe’re not going to get one”[/quote]

    That was me.

    I still have that PS2 to this day, and it still works. =)

  8. never been to a release day nor do i ever plan to becuase no game is truely worth it

    if a game is worth it heh whats the wait it just means youll enjoy it more when you do have it

    and dont even start me on people who get it first then speed through the game and say completed done with that

    i can say honestly no regreat out of my ps2 collection iv only ever completed bout 3/15 i got and they arent grand theft auto never have cos they get boring

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