HALOCAUST: Tales From The (Front) Line

After a long night of television-watching fun, I finally decided to roll off my couch and head to the local Gamestop where I’d reserved HALO 3. I certainly expected there to be a lot of people and, well, there were. Apparently some had been there a lot longer than others, even a few camping out. I’m not sure why you’d camp out in this situation. This Gamestop alone had somewhere around 600 copies spread out across the three SKUs. I guess if you were one of the maybe five people who didn’t pre-order and wanted an LE or Legendary edition it might’ve been worth it. Anyway, I got there at about 11:30 and found the line about 100-150 people deep, reaching all the way back to the Wal-Mart in the plaza.


Here I am from the back of the line, though it would certainly grow a lot more over the next half hour:


Those that had been there long before had left some errant debris. The HALOCAUST was indeed upon us:

It’s around this point that one of the employees begins to run down the line, asking people if they’ve had their receipts stamped. this was the first I’d heard of it and I never got the fabled “phone call” that he said they’d sent out to everyone around 9 that evening. Even checked my missed call log. This was the beginning of the great segregation. Everyone without a stamp was now effectively a second class citizen who wasn’t able to even enter the store until everybody who did got a copy. Finally, I got up near to the front:


Uh-oh. We’re being told that we unwashed masses need to wait our turn. The stampless are forced to the perimeter of the door, privy only to watching those with stamps grab the game ahead of them:

Our only consolation — the cute female store clerk manning the front desk.


The extended line for those without stamps:

Suddenly they shut the doors, informing us that they need to take a few minutes to “reorganize” so they can take the rest of us:

I sense a scene not unlike that from the beginning of Dead Rising is about erupt.Thankfully, it doesn’t take all that long and the doors open again, only to let three or four customers in at a time. Those near the back of the line at this point might be there for at least another hour:

Finally I get inside. Look at this ridiculous merchandise. I don’t think anyone actually bought any of this crap:

It takes me a few minutes to get through the buying process and then it’s off to my car to cherish my shiny new copy of HALO 3:

The line outside is still pretty long. It’s around 12:40 at this point:

But I’m free to head on home, and so I do. Here’s the beautiful package laying on my desk:

But wait a second, what’s that noise? I shake the tin before opening it. Sounds like a loose disc. 😦 Let’s look inside:

Crap. The disc is scratched to hell on the back, but maybe it’ll still run?


Hooray! Microsoft doesn’t fuck up completely! Here’s one last look at the entire LE package:


In all honesty, it wasn’t that bad of an experience. It was neither as harrowing nor as exciting as the console launches of the past two years, but it’s always fun to share in the fervor. It only took me a little over half an hour to get my copy despite the stamp folderol. I know some of the guys and gals who work at this Gamestop, mostly those from when it was still a (much superior) Rhino Games; I can’t fault them too much. Just wish they’d handled the calls better.

With the HALOCAUST over, now we have to deal with the aftermath (NPD figures). Hope to see you all online.

~ by Cavin Smith on September 25, 2007.

One Response to “HALOCAUST: Tales From The (Front) Line”

  1. halo games are cheap

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