Once upon a time, I took part in a sacred video game tradition: the midnight release. I was young and able to stay awake. Nowadays, I’m lucky if I’m up past 10 o’clock at night. It’s actually kind of sad. What makes the midnight release so cool? Why would anyone want to stay up so late just for a video game?
Midnight releases evoke a certain excitement that doesn’t exist when you waltz into a GameStop at 10 in the morning, and are judged for not having a real job by the soccer mom going into the Old Navy next door. There is a nervous anticipation in the air as people shuffle about in line, watching the clock tick down to that mystical minute after midnight. And trust me when I say that minute is taken very seriously. There will be no sale until those 60 seconds are up. The buzz in the air is palpable. Some places even have activities or giveaways for the faithful gamers.
The crowd that midnight releases draw is of a totally different caliber as well. There isn’t the occasional group of kids or that one fool who acts like he knows what he’s talking about but just sounds foolish when he’s vomiting false information. You know the one I’m talking about. He struts in with his nose in the air, goes up to the counter, starts talking to the GameStop employee and asks for “that new Madden game.” Then he turns to you and tells you all about how he’s excited for the new Call of Duty game that actually came out last year. We’ve all seen this guy and it takes everything in our power not to laugh in his face. But, I digress. The crowd at the midnight release is made of fans, real fans. You’ll even get the cosplayers. These are the people who know what they buying and why they’re buying it.
I’ve tried to go to a few midnight releases recently and realized it just isn’t worth it anymore. First, I’m already exhausted after a long day at work. Then, I’ll get the game or system and get home. By this time it’s half past midnight. I have to go to work the next day. So, essentially, I’m losing sleep to get a game I won’t even be able to play. But, that’s the price of growing up.
Getting a game at midnight is a sweet perk if you aren’t in the same situation I’m in, or if it comes out on the weekend. There’s a certain coolness to having a game before the “normal” people who have patience. The atmosphere, the environment, and the people make it a cool experience. And really, who needs sleep? We’ll sleep plenty when we’re dead, right?
Just In Bailey –an homage to the secret code from Metroid, which allowed you to play as Samus Aran without her suit– is an editorial column at Vagary.TV brought to you by Joey Alesia. What started as an alternate perspective on different parts of video games has since become a more wide-ranged look at the gaming industry from a gamer’s perspective with over 25 years of gaming knowledge and a twisted sense of humor. Follow Joey on Twitter (@wrkngclsswrtr) or email him at Joey.Alesia@Vagary.tv.