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JW’s Notes: Halo 3 Launch Recap!

by JW


I want to first apologize if this comes off as a little choppy; I’m tired as hell. My feet are sore, my back aches, and I am currently staring at a replica of Master Chief’s head, in which lies a game I won’t be able to play because my 360 is, to my utter and eternal dismay, still bricked.

…how the fuck am I using words phrases like “eternal dismay” at this hour? Good Lord, I’m too smart for my own good.

Keep reading after the break for a breakdown of how the event went.

I arrived just before 8pm, and already there was a small line forming outside the store. There was a core group of about five or six who had showed up extra early, and they were sitting in a sort of circle in front of the store. Inside were a few other guys who were cool with the manager, so they were allowed to hang out. I went in, flashed my press badge, and was told in no specific language that he wasn’t allowed to talk to me “on the record.”

So the press badge went away, and we shot the shit for a cool half-hour about things ranging from the expected rush of people, to him having to both close AND open the next morning, to even the date of Duke Nukem Forever (HINT: Never).

One of the things that surprised me more than anything else was the last minute mad dash to get their copies of the game paid off. There were people running in right up until closing time (9pm) trying to pay off their game. Why you would wait until the LAST POSSIBLE MINUTE is beyond me, but the people behind the counter were quick to get everyone squared away.

In the hour from when I arrived, roughly 9pm, fourty people had amassed. Fourty. Three hours before. When I talked to the store manager, he told me that they were expecting roughly 200 or so people. However, when I talked to the head of mall security, he told me they were prepared to have up to one-thousand people arrive. He went on to say that he doubted that many would show, but they had to be prepared. That’s understandable, considering they’re trying to keep people safe.

It was a surprisingly festive atmosphere. There were a few people who arrived around 10pm who had brought cake, and was sharing it with the people in the line. There were also people who ordered pizza, and were selling the slices for $1 a pop. Unlike what many of us expected, there really wasn’t too much hassle with the people. I was thoroughly impressed with the civility of the crowds.

Yes, crowds. Let me explain something about where my local GameStop is located: There are two in the same mall, with a third across the street. You see, back in the early and mid-90s, there were a few game stores that were vying for people’s business: EB Games, Babbages and Funcoland. They’ve now been bought out by GameStop, and thus we have three GameStops. The crowd I was with was for the former EB Games, aka GameStop #1. The other store in the mall was the former Babbages, aka GameStop #2. It’s really weird and confusing, but you get used to it.

As the time approached, more people began arriving. By 11:45pm, we had over 250 in that mall, clammering to get their mits on their copy of Halo 3. What I found odd was the differential in the people who were at each store:


As you can see, the differential is a bit noticable. Considering they’re both in the same mall, it’s really kind of odd, but that’s neither here or there.

To survive the night, many of the clerks at the stores were surviving on Mountain Dew and Kit Kat bars. The store I was covering was especially cool, lettin’ me in on the goodies so I could keep my own ass awake.

As midnight approached, there was a mad dash from people showing up at the last possible minute to get in line. Right up until 11:59, there were people getting in line. So much so that, I would be willing to bet, the final number for the location I was at reached over 200. But, at 12:00:01am EST on Tuesday, the 25th, the first copy of Halo 3 was sold!

[Image Won’t Load — Sorry, peeps]

It was not long after the first purchase that the people began to file in and out. Hell, by 12:45, they had gone through everybody in that damn line. 45 minutes for 200 people. That’s impressive. At 12:51am EST, I finally got my copy of the game — the big, black Box. As I type this, I have the Spartan helmet displayed proudly next to my Captain Kirk action figure, and my Star Wars stein.

“We did pretty good, I thought. I had fun,” said a rather lovely young woman who worked at my store. She went on to tell me that they blew through the number much quicker than expected, before our conversationw as rudely interrupted by the mall security system.


One of the things I noticed was the surprisingly small amount of swag that was sold. Outside of a few t-shirts and UNSC hats, there really was little that was picked up. Maybe not too surprising, considering most of the people were there for their games and ONLY their games, but all the same. I expected more to be sold.

So now, damn near 3am, I sit here typing up this recap to you all. I have to say that hanging out with the employees of that establishment was one of the more fun things I have ever done in this job. Given the opporitunity, I’d go out there again tomorrow night and do it all again.

…if I wasn’t playing Halo 3, of course.

NOTE: I had taken over 100 images of the launch and its build-up, but unfortunately my camera won’t load them onto my computer. So, sorry about not including pictures in this.

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2 Responses to “JW’s Notes: Halo 3 Launch Recap!”

  1. PacoDG Says:

    On Monday/Tuesday I attended quite a crazy launch, I took one picture that says it all. I will make a short post about it when I find the cable for my camera so I can connect it to my computer (and after I get some much needed sleep, its 11 am and I just shut my 360 off maybe an hour ago :( )

  2. Halo 3 Launch Recap! | nSearchz Says:

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