Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Halo 3 launch night

Today has been the day of Halo 3.

I got done with work a little after 6pm tonight and headed home to pick up my DS, some lawn chairs, my pocket camera, a coat and some gloves. I was ready to spend the next 5 hours outside Gamestop in the cold, waiting for Halo 3.

We chose the Crossroads mall Gamestop because the Best Buy in Bellevue was having a HUGE event (Bungie brought some buses there) as was the Redmond Town Center. The Bellevue Square mall was also a popular Gamestop to wait at, because they had their line indoors. We felt confident ours would be a good place to be, because there wouldn't be much attendance there.

When I arrived, John was already there saving our spot. We were about 8th in line at 7:30pm. The front of the line quickly grew larger in the next hour or so and we ended up being about 20 back by the end of the night. The first thing I did when I got there was unfold the chairs to claim the spot, then go inside and put the remaining 100 bucks onto my credit card for the Legendary Edition of Halo 3 I had pre-ordered. John did the same, then we settled in to our spots in front of the "Eco friendly dry cleaners" and started playing some DS.

We planned to eat dinner in the line and it turned out there was a Pizza Time in the strip mall that had a special just for the Halo 3 people: 5.00 1 topping pizza and you could add a 20oz drink for a buck. John and I decided to order a 30 dollar Round Table pizza instead. Since I was apparently in a "spending money" kind of mood, I also decided I was bored with the games I had. I went in (since we happened to be waiting outside of a video game store) and purchased Brain Age 2 for my DS. As I was paying for it, the pizza place called and told me they couldn't deliver to the line. Apparently they sent their drivers home or something. I was frustrated and a bit hungry, so we settled for the five dollar pizzas instead. They tasted like $4.00 pizzas. At least they were warm.

By 10:30 the line had grown to the length of the strip mall and had to be moved out in front of another set of stores so as not to block the parking lot. So much for our "small little line".

A little before 11, Craig and Bhaskar showed up to join us in line. Here they are standing a ways back from our spot:

There were giveaways all night. We got little Heroclix action figures, notepads, post-it's, lanyards, bracelets, posters and coupons bearing the Halo 3 logo somewhere on them. Around 11pm, Red Bull showed up with a giant "Troop transport" of some kind, as well as a Mini Cooper with a giant can of Red Bull on the roof.

They played extremely loud music for us and got everyone caffeinated by handing out the free drinks. I chose not to drink my "wings", as there were only about 50 minutes to go and I didn't want to have to find a bathroom. They sure had a lot of that stuff to go around. Just when you thought they were out, they'd break out another case or three.

Here's a little video featuring the Red Bull guys:

The last few minutes ticked down and we were finally allowed to walk into the store and pick up our copies. We emerged victorious just after 12:10am and then we all drove home to play.

When I got home, even though it was 4am on the east coast and 1am here, I noticed that 9 of my friends were online playing the game. John (highlighted in black) logged on later to make it 10, and we all did some custom gaming together before doing a 4 player level of the campaign. Extremely fun stuff. I crossed out some names to protect their gamertags, but here's the proof of how nuts my friends are.

I'm still a little caffeinated from the Red Bull (sugar free variety), but I think it's time for bed. I have to work tomorrow and I also gotta start getting good at this game. Need sleep for that. :-)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Live from the Halo 3 line...

just 30 minutes to go until we get the game.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Endfest 2007

By some strange twist of fate I found myself hanging out in the Qwest Field parking lot last night, watching Social Distortion and the Smashing Pumpkins at Endfest 2007. A lot has changed since the days when I'd go to the festival every year. In years prior, I'd be really excited about the line-up for this concert, sometimes even having to pick and choose between which bands to watch on the 2 or 3 stages they had at the festival. It's been awhile since those days and this year, there were only 2 or 3 bands I had any interest in seeing at the entire show.

I hadn't bought tickets for the concert this year, mostly because I didn't feel like paying that much money for a whole day's worth of concerts when I only liked a few of the bands. On Wednesday this week I happened to hear an announcement on the radio that they were giving some tickets away. I called in just for fun and won a pair without even knowing what caller I was supposed to be. My tickets came with a "Meet and greet" with the Smashing Pumpkins.

I went down to the stadium with John yesterday and we found out that the meet and greet was starting right then. We walked all the way to the other side of the stadium, where I assumed we might be in some kind of little room with the band. I figured they'd have snacks, or drinks, or something...and you could sit and talk with the band for awhile before being ushered out. After all, this was a prize from the radio station throwing the concert.

When we got there, it turned out we got to stand in a line with 14 people on a concrete floor and wait for the band to arrive. When they showed up, they walked down the line and signed whatever people wanted to have them sign. It was pretty lame and I chose not to get anything signed, opting instead to have a CD booklet signed for the guy next to who brought more than one thing. It was kind of a let down to say the least.

Still, the concert was free...so we headed back in to enjoy some of the show. Since it was a parking lot, lots of people were sitting on the cement. We joined them for awhile.

Next, we decided to get in one of the giant lines for some food. I was craving something warm because it was pretty cold in the parking lot. Hot chocoloate and a pretzel did the trick. As we were picking up the food, we ran into our friend Michael and his girlfriend. We headed back to watch the rest of the show together.

At many Endfests past, I've been up in the front, watching the band from mere feet away. This was my view of the Smashing Pumpkins.

The show was really good though. The band had to stop playing at 10pm, by which time we were about ready to get going anyway. It was cold, but not a cloud in the sky. We decided to walk up to 4th avenue to sample some happy hour food and drinks at McCormick and Schmicks

On the way there, saw this and just had to take a picture. All and all, I'd say it was a good evening. The show was worth the price of admission, that's for sure.