Lining up for midnight releases allows customers to play more quickly

game3I showed up at a dark and empty Chinook Centre mall around 9 p.m., in preparation for the lineup of people who would be waiting for the midnight release of the highly anticipated video game of the month, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

The midnight launch for the game was taking place at GameStop, making it the third game within a month to have a midnight release, following on the heels of the newest games in the Assassin’s Creed and Halo series.

New video games usually have official releases on Tuesdays, but making them available to the public on Monday nights at midnight allows customers to purchase and play the games before others who would pick them up during regular store hours.

For instance, GameStop president Tony Bartel, who spoke to Bloomberg Businessweek, said that the latest entry in the Call of Duty series sold more than one million copies during GameStop’s midnight release.

Why do people go?

Having been to a rather large number of midnight releases, I had always wondered why I would risk healthy amounts of sleep and inevitably look like a zombie the next day, just so I can pick up a game that I could easily get when the sun is actually present in the sky. And why do other people do it also?

With the latest Call of Duty kick-off, I noticed that although there were hundreds of game fans gathered, the lineup was surprisingly orderly for a midnight release.

GameStop’s use of a numbered order system and having security made for effective organization, as compared to previous past midnight releases I have attended.

As hunger and fatigue started to set in, I observed that other people around me had both problems covered. Quite a few people were eating cinnamon buns, and I later game1Gamers excitedly wait for their copies of COD: Black Ops 2

Photo by Kyle Pura
found out that the Cinnzeo located beside GameStop was open late because of the event (smart thinking). I also became envious of the people in line who had packed folding chairs, as I was switching between both standing and sitting on the uncomfortable tile floor. When will I ever learn?

Among the hundreds in the lineup was Nidal Islam, a Calgary resident who was attending his second midnight release. He said that his favorite part of midnight releases is watching the enthusiasm that people have when receiving their games.

“I like the excitement of seeing people getting their games,” Islam said. “Where maybe they will be first or second in line, and how they hop out of the store just absolutely crazy about it.”

At that very moment, the first few people ran out of the store, clutching their copies of the game triumphantly and yelling with excitement.

Anticipation for the event

Another individual in the lineup was Candice Lynes, a Calgary resident who was attending her second midnight release within the past month, having already been to the newest Assassin’s Creed midnight launch. She said she has been looking forward to this event for a few months.

“I booked the next two days off from work,” Lynes said. “I was prepared. I knew this was coming. I bought my copy in July when I first had the chance to preorder it.”

Crowd atmosphere

Christina Cook, another Calgary resident at the midnight launch, has been gaming game2GameStop employees serving the late-night crowd.

Photo by Kyle Pura
since she was two years old. She said, in an email, that she attends midnight releases when they are for games she is really looking forward to, but she also enjoys the interaction aspect of these events.

“I like the atmosphere. Most of the time it’s a pretty upbeat crowd with lots of people to talk nerdiness with,” Cook said.

Even having work the next morning did not stop Cook from attending the event.

“I work at 9 a.m. the next day,” Cook said. “I’m a night owl, so I’m usually up until 2 or 3 a.m. anyways. It doesn’t make a huge difference to my day.”

Grabbing the game

When I finally made my way into the store and was able to lay my hands upon the game, I was the proud owner of a new video game that I would dedicate most of my time to.

Watching other people’s smiles as they received their game was very satisfying to see as a fellow gamer. The instant I received the game, I had forgotten all about the fact that it was past my bedtime. I could just focus on the hours of fun in store for me (although, a couple of energy drinks were needed the next morning).

Who needs sleep anyways?

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