Hot New Game Draws Cool Crowds
Members of gaming community shiver but unite
Members of the gaming community shivered outside as they gathered at a Brown Deer Gamestop Tuesday for a midnight release of Bungie’s newest Xbox game, HALO REACH.
The Gamestop, located at 8655 W. Brown Deer Rd., was the place to be. More than 40 members of the gaming community from Brown Deer and other vicinities impatiently waited outside the doors of the store at 8pm for the release of Bungie’s HALO REACH. Two hours before the doors opened, approximately 20 people camped out in front of the store.
“Usually we are pretty dead around opening and closing time”, says Nick Jenson, a Gamestop employee. “It’s really weird to see a lined formed and everything…it’s not even like this on holidays”.
Many Gamestops across the United States participated in some sort of special release for the first person fantasy shooter game. By the high numbers of attendance at the release, there must be something right about space humans shooting aliens to protect the universe from falling into the wrong hands.
The midnight releases revealed exactly how many members of the gaming community exist. Many aren’t even away of the existence of such a community let alone its volume. Not only sis the occasion allow exposure of the community, but it gave the members who mostly interact online a chance to communicate face to face.
The Gamestop usually closes at 8 p.m. so special security arrangements were made. “Usually we just have the security that patrols the strip mall, but because it’s nighttime we want to be safe rather than sorry”, said Gamestop employee, Kevin Derst. “We alerted the Brown Deer Police Department and they sent an officer to run patrols every 30 minutes or so.” The Gamestop has been robbed in the past, however there has not been one recently.
Store manager Brian Lewis anticipated an impressive amount of people to attend the midnight release, definitely more people than he’d see on a normal day “It’s HALO, we’re bound to generate a crowd large enough to make it worth opening this late.” Lewis says. “It takes a lot of preparation for these events, a lot of hard work, but watching the gaming community gather in a central location is definitely worth it.”
The people gathered outside the doors conversed animatedly about the game. Many wondered how HALO REACH would compare to previous games. The opinions varied. Some barely contained their excitement “This game is going to be so awesome. It has to be, I’ve never been let down by a HALO game,” says Mark Scott- a 14 year old self proclaimed “game master”. Scott’s mother, Patricia Scott, attended as well. “I don’t know what he sees in these games, but as long as he does his schoolwork and gets his butt up in time for school tomorrow, I have no problem chauffeuring and watching over from the sidelines,” she says.
Others voiced indifferent opinions. 18-year-old Jennifer Bowens attends purely out of tradition. She and her friends attend every midnight release for HALO games. “I’m a huge fan of the HALO games and everything, but I’m really wondering how far Bungie can go with this idea before they ruin it” says Bowens. “I personally wouldn’t have minded waiting until tomorrow to get the game, but this is a kind of tradition with us. “
Little Known Community
Regardless of opinion, one idea was agreed upon: The gaming community is larger than many know. Many are not aware such a community exists. The gaming community consists of people with a shared interest- playing videogames on a variety of platforms.
While the gaming community thrives on the Internet, where much interaction takes place, events such as this midnight release allows the opportunity of face to face interaction. “Honestly, I never knew there were so many people that gamed. It’s actually really awesome to see how many of us gamers there are”, says Travis Greene, an attendee. “I like being able to talk to people, get news on games I may have overlooked, and learn new things”.
Some attendees decided to spice things up a bit, with outrageous hairstyles, glow sticks, and even entire costumes. Costumes and such were not required, nor encouraged, but some really made a party of the release.
Peter Jennings and his friend Henry Webster wear costumes. When asked to explain, the pair laughed and obliged. “I’m Masterchief, the main character of the game,” says Jennings. “Henry and I shopped for Halloween costumes last week, and figured we could make them do double duty. Now we can use them for more than parties.” Webster then elaborates, “I’m a Spartan, in one of the games, Masterchief fights the Spartans, then they work together. It was pretty cold on the walk here, though”. Some people dress for night clubs, why not make a party out of this?
Before HALO REACH Bungie released 5 other HALO games:
· HALO: Combat Evolved released Jul. 7, 2001
· HALO 2 released Nov. 9, 2004
· HALO 3 released Sept. 25, 2007
· HALO ODST released Sept. 22, 2009
· HALO WARS released Dec. 30, 2009
According to Bungie, HALO REACH contains the same elements of the previous HALO games, but introduces new modes such as Head Hunter in which players receive skulls for each kill made. The first player to collect 25 skulls wins.
The game introduces new maps and weapons, but they will not be revealed until one plays the game.
The midnight release allows members of the gaming community to gather and converse. The community may not be well known, but it has its fun too.
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