Crowds wait in line for new installment of popular game

Katrina Sargent

Katrina Sargent

A low buzz of voices drifted from the electronics section over aisles of groceries at Wal-Mart on Sept. 24. People, some sitting in folding chairs, others eating chips and dip, lined up in expectation of a highly anticipated event: the 12:01 a.m. release of Halo 3.

Adam Anderson, a senior at Brookings High School, was second in line. He arrived at 4:30 p.m. and was looking forward to the “awesome graphics” in the new game.

Anderson and his group of friends played Monopoly for four hours while waiting in line. “It gets boring after the first three,” he said.

Tom Perrenoud, a freshman aviation major, was part of a group playing cards in the layaway department at the beginning of the line. “[Halo 3] is the same thing, only three times better,” said Perrenoud. Finishing off the series and tying together everything revealed in Halo and Halo 2 are other reasons Perrenoud is excited for the release of the final game of the trilogy. Perrenoud and his group of card players snagged their spots in line at 5 p.m.

Halo is the reason freshman biology major Tyson VanDeBerg bought an Xbox. He played the game once and just had to have one.

The line stretched from the layaway department, through electronics, past the towers of discount movies and almost reached the sporting goods. With an hour left until the release of the game, 125 fans stood in line.

“It will be better than Halo 2, which was the best game ever,” said Dan Woodward to justify his reason for standing in line. Woodward has been waiting for Halo 3 since the second game came out. He was not alone.

Advertising for Halo 3 appeared on special edition Mountain Dew cans and Microsoft’s Zune music player, as well as many other places to build excitement for the game. The Xbox Web site had a place where Halo fanatics could access an interactive online manual. It offered players a chance to become familiar with the controls of the game as well as the new weapons so they could be ready when they started playing the new version.

A few Wal-Mart employees hung around the area, monitoring the crowd. According to Ryan Pendleton, a management intern, people came by asking about the game all day, but the line did not officially start until 5 p.m. Pendleton said he had not anticipated so many people.

Some of the people in line tried bringing furniture from other parts of the store to sit on while they waited. Clerks made them return the items to their proper places.

According to the Xbox Web site, more than 1.5 million copies of Halo 3 sold before Sept. 24, making it the fastest pre-sale in gaming history. Halo 3 could be pre-ordered from the Halo 3 and Microsoft Web sites.

Following a kickoff like that, most people expected Halo 3 to make history. The Halo series has sold around $700 million, or more than 14.7 million units throughout the world, according to a news release on the Xbox Web site. The release also stated that players logged more than 800 million collective hours on Xbox Live with the multiplayer function of Halo 2.

The Brookings Wal-Mart sold all 145 copies of the game they had in stock, according to a Wal-Mart electronics associate.

The game is available in three versions: standard, limited and legendary. The standard edition costs $60, the limited edition is $70, and the legendary edition sells for $130.

According to the Halo 3 Web site, the features on the new standard edition include high definition visuals, new weapons, characters and challenges and online multiplayer capabilities through Xbox Live on the Xbox 360.The limited edition includes extras such as a disc of bonus material, a Halo art book, and a metal collectors case. The legendary edition comes in a Spartan helmet case, and has two discs of bonus material including a documentary on the making of Halo 3, a few short features, storyboard art from Lee Wilson and other bonus material.

To many people Halo is not just a video game, it is a social activity. “It is easier to meet people in the dorms [through Halo] if you are shyer,” said VanDeBerg. He cited the multi-player feature as the reason for this.

Nash Simet, a football player at SDSU, Justin Borns, Donnie Miller, and Cameron Johnson, a track runner for SDSU, were all waiting in the front half of the line. They arrived at Wal-mart at 8:30 p.m. to wait. Simet’s favorite weapons are the plasma and battle rifles.

“I’m never going to get a girlfriend after this is published,” Simet said.