A line of roughly 200 gamers gathered outside of Marquette’s Gamestop store Monday night, braving pouring rain and thunderstorms to finally get their hands on the highly anticipated “Halo 3” for Xbox 360.
The store opened its doors at midnight Monday, exclusively because of the game’s high demand.
Store employee Rich Chiamulera said with over 300 pre-orders and about 200 people in line, the event was “mindblowing” from a worker’s standpoint.
“The first few people were here a little after 3 p.m.,” Chiamulera, a junior athletic training major, said. The most dedicated fans waited outside the store for nine hours, he said. “They got here right after they got done with school. A majority of this line has been here since about 9 p.m., and it keeps growing and growing by the minute.”
The fan with the coveted first spot in line was 16-year-old Brandon Duhame. He and his friends arrived at Gamestop as soon as classes at Marquette Senior High School concluded, and were ready to dedicate their next night and day strictly to “Halo 3.”
“I’m not going to sleep tonight,” Duhame said, “and I’m not going to school tomorrow. We’re skipping.”
Duhame got his hands on the first copy of the game after he and the winding line of gamers chanted a countdown to midnight as if it were New Year’s Eve. Gamestop employees were continually announcing the time left until the official release of “Halo 3.” Each time a Gamestop employee addressed the massive crowd, employees received an energetic cheer in response.
As midnight approached, the line wrapped from the front door of Gamestop around two corners of the building. In the store’s parking lot, an Army-sponsored vehicle was set up with a flat-screen television, a sound system and “Halo 2” to entertain the fans while they waited in line. Starbucks, Gamestop’s neighbor, also had a table set-up with different drinks for the gamers to enjoy.
Aaron Niemisto, a junior hospitality management major, stood outside of Gamestop with a friend from 6 p.m. until the doors opened at midnight. In order to make it through the night, Niemisto came prepared with a 2-liter of Mountain Dew’s Game Fuel soda, a product made specifically for the release of “Halo 3.” The game’s lead character, Master Chief, is featured on the soda’s label.
“We’ve got three 12-packs at home,” Niemisto said. “We’re going right home to play (2-player) co-operative mode.”
An hour and a half before midnight it began to rain, but Chiamulera said hardcore fans were not deterred.
“Everyone’s been here through the rain,” Chiamulera said. “There was rain, there was lightening, huge lightening storms. A couple people ran for cover in their cars but most just stood against the wall.”
Brett Beaudry, a junior at NMU, decided to wait in his car for two hours while the rain passed over.
“I’ve been waiting for this game for many months now,” Beaudry said. “I pre-ordered it for $60, which is well spent money.”
Beaudry also said he planned on playing all night and throughout Tuesday. “I do have class tomorrow . I don’t plan on going.”
Over 1.5 million copies of the game were pre-ordered, making it the fastest pre-selling game ever, according to Xbox.com. It broke the old record held by “Halo 2” from 2004.
Over 10,000 retailers across the United States, including Gamestop, opened their doors at midnight for the release.
Editor’s note: Rich Chiamulera is a former staff writer for The North Wind.