The announcement of Halo: Reach’s launch date has immediately been felt in my diary. The day is booked off work, any thoughts of a proposed holiday to New York have been pushed back a week, and a trip down to see my brother has already been arranged. If there’s one thing I will move heaven and earth to attend, it’s a Halo midnight launch with my sibling.
Our last one was for ODST’s release, where we merrily trotted into the centre of Cheltenham to join the rest of the “crowd” which we found assembled outside GAME. There were students, hardcore fans, people of a similar ilk and age to us, and an amusing smattering of parents with small children in tow, not only flouting the 18 certificate but apparently under the control of their offspring so much that they were shopping at this ungodly hour. It was a strange experience in itself as everyone was obviously there for the same reason; you felt you could talk to anyone as you were all linked by a common bond. After picking up the coveted discs we skipped home, chugged energy drinks and powered through the campaign in gleeful co-op until the sun rose and reminded us that we probably should get some sleep before doing it all again on Legendary.
In fact, my last one was my only one. Despite all my years of playing video games I have – barring Halo – never felt the urge to put the poor souls who man the shop through the obvious pain of being forced to stop up well past their bed time. With ODST, we may have been in and buying at midnight, but the speed at which the staff rattled us through the tills and the shop was shut up and dark, as if nothing had taken place, by 00:05. I bet they hate big releases.
What did raise my eyebrow in surprise was that their ODST launch must have been such a success that I saw them advertising quite a steady stream of midnight launches from then until Christmas. FIFA, Uncharted, Batman; it seemed that as soon as there was a game worth shouting about plans were being laid for a late-night opening. Impressive, considering a 24 hour ASDA is just round the corner doing the same service for no extra bother.
So what do you think is worth heading into town at midnight to pick up? Is there anything that could pull you away from your bed or are you quite happy to wait for the postman the next morning?