Editor's note: I've never actually gone to a midnight launch, but after reading Corey's article, I want to. How many months is it until Gears of War 3 comes out? -Brett
I’ve spent many a cold night standing in boisterous lines while waiting for a midnight game release. Most of my friends can’t understand why I do it. They constantly tell me that I'm crazy, and that ordering via the Internet is the superior method. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Uh, dude, it will be there for you when you get home. Why would you go and stand in line for hours?” While I agree that ordering online is the most efficient method, it certainly is not the most rewarding. Here are the best reasons to stand in line:
Standing (or sitting) in line on release night gives me the opportunity to meet new people. It isn’t every day you meet 400-plus individuals who all share the same general passion as you, and, most importantly, who all share your love for a specific game. To be able to hold a 5-hour-long conversation with someone about why one weapon load-out is better than another or compare notes on the specifics of a plot line is a great feeling. These are people I’ve never met, and yet I get along with them as if I’ve known them for years.
I like to think of the people I meet in midnight release lines as single-serving friends. If you’ve ever seen Fight Club, then you know what I mean. These are people you meet and talk to for a few hours and then never see again. Maybe, if you really hit it off, you get their Gamertag, PSN name, or Wii Friend Code. It’s almost like speed dating: you find a couple of people to talk to, decide if you enjoy their company, and move on if you don’t.
These aren’t forums
If you have ever attended a midnight release, then you know things can take a turn for the ugly real quick. I can remember on the night Halo 3 released, someone stated something about the storyline that was completely false. Everyone within earshot jumped on his case instantly. It took him a few milliseconds to realize his mistake and move on. Everyone else then moved on. It was great. Arguments in these lines aren’t like online arguments. Everyone is face-to-face. You correct someone, there is a brief period of discussion and debate, and the problem is solved.
In all the lines I’ve ever been in, I’ve never once heard hateful speech directed towards anyone else. Everyone in these lines is here for the same reason. There is no reason to flame others, or make jokes about their mother or posting habits. We all know why we're there, and we all appreciate each other’s company.
The über fan
Everyone knows who I'm talking about. These are the guys and gals that show up wearing the costume of their favorite character or bring printouts of multiplayer maps to plan tactics. I think they're awesome. I wish I had the courage to don a Master Chief costume in public. At each midnight release I go to, I never fail to see someone wearing an outfit, and I’ve never once heard a derogatory comment thrown at them. It’s as if we all acknowledge their bravery and silently congratulate them.
In the end
For me, the end of the night is the hardest part. I’ve left midnight releases feeling as though I am leaving a friend forever. I know that once the games have been dished out, everyone will begin a mad dash home. If you haven’t gathered contact information from those people you enjoyed talking to, you likely never will. I’d equate the feeling to a roommate you really got along with in college moving out. You both had a great time while you were there, but now it's time to go your separate ways
I really encourage those who have never been to a midnight release to go. I’ve made friends with people who I met in line — some of them I'd even consider really good friends. If you don’t go for the friendship and comradery, at least go so that you can get the game before your friends who ordered online do and spoil things for them.
Just joking. Don’t be a jerk.