Gears of War 2 for the Xbox 360 is due for release later today. Future Shop and Best Buy were holding midnight release sales for an hour to let gamers be the first to get their hands on the game.
I've never stood in line for the release of any game before. The only time I ever got in a line-up early for anything was Pink Floyd tickets way back in the 80's. Anyway, even though I didn't expect to have any trouble finding the game later today, I decided to go to Future Shop tonight just for kicks.
The doors were supposed to open at 11:59pm. I left home at around 11:20pm, and after hitting Timmy's for a coffee, I arrived at Future Shop at around 11:30pm. I didn't expect a long line-up since this wasn't like a new release of Halo, and I wasn't disappointed. I estimated that there were around 20 people waiting. They had a BBQ going with hotdogs and drinks in front of the store. No idea if they charged for them. They also had a chalk drawing of the Gears of War logo on the sidewalk. The few employees that stood outside all had Gears of War T-shirts on.
I sat in the warmth of my my truck, drank my coffee and had a smoke.
About 10 minutes later, I saw two other cars drive into the parking lot, so I decided it was time to get in line. If I counted correctly, I was 17th in line.
People talked mostly about the game, or its predecessor, Gears of War. I have never played the original game. Others talked about the Sens vs Flyers hockey game from earlier in the evening.
At around 11:50pm a cop car pulled into the parking lot slowly and drove past the front of the store watching us as they talked on their radio. A few people made jokes that they sent a lady cop to deal with large crowd of guys hanging around outside Future Shop after closing hours. Not quite sure why that was funny since she was the one with a gun. :)
She started to drive away and then came back and rolled down her window to speak with one of the employees. One of the guys in line said he saw someone staring out the window of a house that backed onto the parking lot. We figure they called the cops because it looked odd that 25 guys were hanging around outside Future Shop just before midnight. :)
She drove off, content that there were no shenanigans going on.
Just before midnight one of the employees told us all that if we had a pre-order, we could go straight to the customer service desk. A few minutes later, they started to let people in 5 at a time.
About 5 minutes later, some of the first people that were let in started to come out, with their purchases in hand. One of them made a comment that he had waited 2½ hours. I guess he expected more people. Sucker. :)
By 12:10am, I was in the store. The aisles were all blocked off with caution tape to keep people at the front of the store, where they had the display set up with the games, the "bonus" Gears of War figurines, along with Xbox Live Points cards, controllers, and other miscellaneous Xbox 360 hardware.
I picked up a game, the free figurine and headed to the cash.
I was back in my truck and on the way home by 12:15am. As I drove off, the last of those in line were on their way into the store.
I'm sure it wasn't as exciting as any bigger selling game, like Halo, but it was kinda cool. I don't know if I'd do it again, especially when stores like Best Buy are guaranteeing stock on the first day, or they'll give you a $20 gift card.
My curiosity has been satisfied.