The crowning achievement in the life of any game geek is the revered act of participating in the midnight release of the year’s potential hot new video game. Back in the ancient days of video games, we didn’t even know what year stuff would get released by video game companies. Most of them were under the iron rule of the Nintendo Seal of Quality and were heavily restricted. All we had to go on for any game information were just worn out dog-eared copies of Nintendo Power that just showcased a couple tiny, grainy screenshots that were only labeled Coming Soon!” Sometimes they did not even have a working title, and we were left to our own creative devices to scour the toy stores in the mall asking for Amazingly Lifelike Martial Arts Action!” Being nine years old and relying on your parents to drive you to seventeen different retailers looking for a game you did not know the title of, the developer, or even if it actually even existed was never a whole lot of fun or enjoyment for anyone involved. (Sorry Mom).
These days, a game has an exact release date determined the nanosecond that the developers sit down to draw out storyboards. By the following day, they are onto the next step in promotion by immediately shipping out 50 fake cases of this proposed game to every GameStop to collect dust for two years on a large fake rack of other yet-to-be-released games for the sake of drumming up consumer interest. The most important part of the shtick this is the fact that if the particular game has been projected to be as popular and as high-selling as the latest incarnation of Call of Duty: Ass Fighter, they automatically offer for you the opportunity to partake in the magical midnight launch of the title. This hokey gimmick is nothing new, and has been an integral part of the movie business for quite some time. I still gush like a fat kid eating bacon when I remember going to a midnight movie release many years ago and I was blessed to be one of the first 300 people in Colorado to see the greatest film created in our generation, Gigli. The basic primal principle behind this scheme that makes this stupid premise work is the ingrained desire to be at the very top of the food chain, even if the food chain in question is getting to be the first person in America to unlock the Ass Climber” achievement for 15G. When considering standing in line for a video game at night, the retail employees always promise that the whole midnight release gathering to be the equivalent of being backstage at a Jamiroquai concert, full of fun, drugs, babes, and food.
It’s never quite the amazing or as life-changing event as it is advertised to be. Getting a group of two-hundred or so socially awkward people standing in a line freezing their asses off for two to three hours for a game that is shipped with programming glitches is a recipe for contemptible animosity (moreover scientifically known as Nerd Rage). If you just can’t wait the extra ten hours to play the newest regurgitated sequel to a hot game and are willing to fight the horde of the unwashed while passing up sexual activity, let this be your strategy guide for dealing with the misguided souls that live for participating in these things.
Disclaimer: As lame as these are, on occasion, going through this nightmare can be kinda worth it. Playing Red Dead Redemption after it had gone live for ten minutes was a blast. My cowboy was invisible, his gun was invisible, and his noble donkey steed was invisible. A room of sixteen invisible players shooting at each other was positively my favorite moment in online gaming. By the next morning, they had unfortunately fixed all of this code fuckery, and it was back to how it was originally supposed to be, just a GTA death match with sombreros.
The midnight launch is a dying phenomenon, as all consumer media like this will all end up simply becoming digital downloads within the next five years, so we should all should experience this at least once before it fades away into legendary nerd lore. So, whilst waiting impatiently in line, be aware that these particular creatures are out of their natural basement habitat. Please do not feed, wrestle, or taunt these creatures:
The Lost Boys
HP: 340/340, +23 EXP. May drop a wallet or condom wrapper upon defeat.
Species Characteristics: The Lost Boys are the annoying people that show up to the line at 11:49pm and stand in the back of the line (un)knowingly foregoing the required steps to ensure they are properly processed before receiving the physical copy of the game at midnight. They completely ignore any instruction given by store employees that continually check that everyone waiting in the line has gone inside and shown that they have proof of preorder, have paid for everything first and have gotten their sales receipt stamped, initialed and their blood type logged. Because they choose to ignore these crucial steps, the moment they get in after 12:00am, they get really bent out of shape that they have to wait until everyone gets their copy before the employees restart the register for any cash transactions. The main excuse the Lost Boy has is Nobody ever told me that shit”, even though every other non-defective person in that line heard the rules 130 times as they stood in line for the last hour.
Weaknesses: No matter what they are told to do to make everything go smooth, the Lost Boys will ignore any instructions they are given. Don’t waste your time trying to explain anything to them, as it will be ignored with biting sarcasm. Instead, the best way to deal with these morons is to behave in the exact same way, thus cementing to them that they are absolutely right, and in the end will have to wait even longer than everyone else when the game gets released. You can lead a horse to a well, but you can’t make it have sex with it.
The Freaky Cosplayer
HP: 300/513, +56 EXP. The spoils of victory depend solely on the gender of the cosplayer.
Species Characteristics: Freaky Cosplayers are a special breed of human. They spend countless hours sewing and pasting together custom character costumes and props from their favorite games or Japanese cartoons. While usually embarrassing for all within a fifty foot radius, on rare occasions this can actually be properly executed and can be rather arousing. The main hurdle that cosplayers face is while dressing up like Lara Croft, but not possessing the trademark physical build that is associated with Lara Croft, is that no matter what, you will always end up looking like Cheetos Tomb Raider. It’s almost a guaranteed fact that there’s always going to be a couple of out-of-place overweight Final Fantasy girls at these things.
Weaknesses: Offer guilt-inducing Cheetos, or just set fire to their hand crafted paper-mache Gundam suit. It’s sure to bring them to tears (or death) instantly.
BONUS: If the cosplayer is dressed as a Slave Leia or something like that, instead of messing with them, you should try your hardest to seduce them instead. They love all the extra attention and trust me, these cosplayer chicks are positively freaks in the sack and well worth the effort. Just be aware that while you perform the deed with them, they will likely require YOU to wear something totally fucked up, like a Mr. Potato Head mask or something.
HP: 102/444, +12 EXP. May drop nothing but bitter, bitter tears
Species Characteristics: Captain Denial is the guy or group of guys in the line who are absolutely full of contempt and are completely miserable that they are there. They do nothing but complain about how stupid and gay standing in line to get a videogame is, but yet, here they are in the flesh doing it themselves. They spend their time in line vocally making their point for several hours that the whole idea of a capitalist system is flawed and that everything the retailer is doing is done completely out of whore logic. They compound this by whining about how they have to be up for work in five hours and won’t even be able to play the game when they get home anyway, which is a rather vicious paradox from any sane person’s point of view. In the very near future, these will be the people yelling at the kids to get off their lawn once they’ve reached middle age.
Weaknesses: Captain Denial gets extra butthurt if you become Opposite Man. By relishing in everything that he laments, he will only get annoyed and will finally shut up and he will die a little on the inside after realizing that there is someone who exists in the world that does not absolutely hate the everloving shit out of the universe.
The 10am Guys
200/210 HP, +2EXP. Upon defeat, you win a 32 oz. bottle of urine collected over the course of a day.
Species Characteristics: The 10am Guys are the two dudes that show up to GameStop at the butt-crack of the morning, usually before the store is even open. The moment the disgruntled opening employee unlocks the doors, they instantly make a break for the register to get their presale receipt verified so they can wait in line outside the rest of the day. They fail to realize how stupid they look waiting all day in an imaginary line that consists of the two of them all day. While the rest of us lead productive lives, they are only productive as they take turns peeing into an empty Gatorade jug.
Weaknesses: Will become agitated around 4pm from starvation as the Snack Packs they brought with them for extended survival have become depleted. They will also be very worn out from being outside the confines of the basement for such a long time and will start to behave erratically from the overexposure to fresh air. After they finally get inside after waiting in an imaginary line for twelve hours, and finally get the copy of the game, upon exit they automatically will start throwing a celebration that rivals a quarterback winning the Super Bowl. As they rejoice in this glowing victory, be sure to interrupt the celebration by mentioning that people in New York have been playing the game for the last two hours already and they are absolutely nothing special. It has the equivalent soul-crushing power of telling a Chuck E Cheese’s restaurant full of children there is no Santa Claus.
The Pokemon/Magic Card People
13/34HP, +13EXP. Will relinquish rare Charizard card in exchange for not being physically harmed.
Species Characteristics: What’s worse than having an overly dorky favorite activity that even eight year olds laugh uncontrollably at? Combining this geeky interest with the geeky pastime of hanging out in a cattle line waiting for video games. They are usually in a small group in the middle of the line trying to frustratingly tap and untap mana pools in the darkness of night. I just don’t understand this subset group, if I was a slightly smaller built person with stunted emotional age waiting in line with a bunch of scary strangers, I personally would downplay my creepy child-targeted hobbies as much as possible.
Weaknesses: After watching them play a few rounds of the Pokemon card game, ask them if they brought any extra money with them. That’s when you whip out the real cards and then clean them out of the next couple weeks’ worth of lunch money playing some Texas Hold “˜Em. Do not hold back, this may be the first introduction to the real world they’ve ever had and you should do your very best to leave a realistic impression.
210/205 HP, +27EXP. Anything dropped by defeated creature smells awful. Burn with fire.
Species Characteristics: Pigpen is without a doubt the easiest of the midnight release creatures to identify on the spot. Wherever there is a seven foot safety bubble on both sides of someone, you know that you have located Pigpen. When you are suddenly surrounded by a cloud of stink that smells a lot like a dumpster full of week-old Taco Bell, you know you’ve found the special X on the treasure map. Pigpen is the individual who forgoes any sort of personal grooming or personal hygiene that has been a mainstay of the first-world population for the last hundred years. He is usually dressed in the finest outfits that can be purchased at flea markets, which are usually a dark matted orange down the center from Doritos stains. Be sure to hold your breath as you pass by him, as his B.O. can easily incapacitate you to the point where an ambulance may need to be called to revive you.
Weaknesses: The easiest to identify, and the easiest to defeat. Bring some Old Spice deodorant in a can and spray it directly at him. The Old Spiciness will cause him to explode like a Goulie after eating a turkey filled with dynamite. But beware of the inherent dangers of doing this. Just like a tauntaun, these creatures smell even worse on the inside.
Bob Marley’s Ass
100/350 HP, +28EXP. Will drop a resin-laced pipe.
Species Characteristics: Wonderful self-absorbed folk like Bob Marley’s Ass are a direct result of the marijuana legalization in Colorado. These guys stand in line with parents, children, and teenagers puffing on a cigar blunt filled with weed like a beekeeper hording an asthma inhaler. They always bring multiple baggies of this stuff to smoke in line because they are bored and somehow it’s always mandatory to turn any and all public activities into a Pink Floyd concert. Their popularity will start to dwindle once everyone else realizes these guys are absolutely obnoxious and the only thing that makes them interesting or worth knowing are all due to the drugs they have in their possession. I don’t care if you get high to make up for whatever personality defects you possess, but it’s not cool making everyone else in line have to smell like a skunk’s asshole because you can’t go ten minutes without it.
Weaknesses: If these guys are around you in line, just mention that it is Taco Tuesday at Del Taco. Eventually, hunger will overcome them, and along with their resin-soaked brains forgetting why they are even standing in this line in to begin with, and they will leave.
Your New Boyfriend
200/200 HP, +50EXP. One way or another, you guys WILL exchange phone numbers.
Species Characteristics. Your New Boyfriend is the guy that is standing next to you in line for the first twenty minutes or so in silence. Then after a he gets bored he will then start up the small talk, and will express a few complaints about the world in general. At first glance, he will start to sound suspiciously a lot like he might be a Captain Denial. Then after a few more comments with you giving neutral or mildly positive responses, this guy suddenly realizes you are the Most Amazing Man That Ever Lived and he instantly starts to fall in love with you. His irritated demeanor shown before is then replaced with one that is nervously twitter painted, and he starts agreeing with every statement you make like a high school girl trying to desperately gain approval. Thankfully, the line finally begins to move before he decides to take your relationship to the next level by whipping out your cock and sucking it.
Weaknesses: Talk about your girlfriend and how hot she is. If he then wants to take things to the friend zone, explain that you already have a huge number of friends that you ignore already. Just don’t give the guy ANY of your personal information or your life will become the screenplay for The Crush, but with no slutty Alicia Silverstone.
The Technology Master (Also recognized as System Superiority Guy”)
23/45HP, +12EXP. Will drop a new tablet or one of the seven iPhones he has on him.
Species Characteristics: This is the guy who stands in line constantly bragging about how much brand new technology he has in his current possession. He will also then start talking about his 15 cell phones, his tablets, their operating systems and the compatibility of all his crap as everyone around him just ignores his three hour brand commercial marathon. Don’t even bother talking with him about what system you are getting the particular game on, because no matter which console you prefer, his choices are better and you are automatically deemed gay. The other characteristic of this species is that even though he might have a $900.00 iPhone that has only been released to the general public for two days, he still rocks a 1983 Chevy Citation that is comprised of more rust than actual car.
Weaknesses: Point to his 1983 Chevy Citation and ask him if his iPhone 7 is compatible with his stock tape deck. Also point out that the Land Of The Lost T.V. show was not as cool as we all remember, since the guitarist from Sugar Ray was the little monkey kid creature.
The One Bored/Annoyed/Possibly Suicidal Girlfriend
400/400HP, +500,000EXP. You have no chance to survive make your time.
Species Characteristics: The Bored Girlfriend species is the Trophy of the Universe to anybody that is standing in line at a midnight game release. The lucky gamer that somehow convinces his hot girlfriend to come with him to Nerd Festival is instantly the alpha male proto-hunter-gatherer of the whole group. No matter what everyone is talking about in line, they will eventually go back to focusing on and talking about her. It can be fun to listen to everyone else’s comments, about how they would give it to her so hard”, even though the only experience they have is proved by having a right forearm that is six times bigger than their left. The poor girl, on the other hand, would give anything to be anywhere else on the planet. There’s no way that you can sneak in and try and run away with her, because no matter what, she knows that since you are here, you are an equivalent loser or worse.
Weaknesses: None. You have no chance at attaining her, and there is no way on this earth that she will have anything to do with you. Just make a mental note to bring your hot girlfriend with you next time so that you can have your turn at being the alpha male for a night. Just be aware that by bringing your girlfriend with you, you risk a 100% chance of becoming single afterwards.
I have now decidedly retired from going to these sorts of silly things. As they can be fun for the sake of people-watching, it’s just not worth the personal risk. Once you’ve gotten your game and are on your drive home, the streets are immediately filled with nerds absolutely going apeshit and driving worse than most violent drunks after a ten-hour bender. I’ve never seen an ESRB rating that warns of this sort of behavior before even getting to play the damn game.
But then again, just maybe, I have it in me to take a HD camera with me to one of these functions to fully document this and harass these idiots. Are there any drunken volunteers to be my cameraman?
A huge thanks to GameStop Employee of the Decade Jenna for helping me fact-check my bestiary compendium.