New Halo draws big lines

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Sep 132010
 
Authors: Sean Bucher

The first installment made the Xbox gaming console one of the most widely used gaming machines around. Its sequel sold nearly 8.5 million copies in route to becoming the most sold Xbox game of all time.

When the third installment came out, it was the best selling game of 2007, and grossed more than $300 million in the first week of sales according to Microsoft.

The “Halo” franchise set the benchmark for gaming, not only in game play, but popularity as well.

“Halo: Reach” hit stores at midnight, prompting an overwhelming number of gamers to pre-order and pick up their copies.

“We’ve been here since 11 this morning,” Theodore Rockwood said on Monday.

This is the third time Rockwood and his friend Jacob Garbani have camped out for a “Halo” game. Rockwood is such a fan of the franchise, he recalls sneaking into his friend’s house frequently to play the original game.

“No other game allows you to play with friends at home and then link-up with people all over the world,” Rockwood said.

The scene is nothing new to retailers, who have witnessed the franchise’s popularity grow throughout the years. The series has grossed more than $1.5 billion in game sales alone since 2001, making it one of the most iconic titles in any medium.

“As soon as my friend gets here with a generator, we’re setting up the TV,” Kane Larson said. Along with Christian Shilling and Zach MacDonald, Larson arrived shortly after noon.

And while some may have a hard time understanding the thrill and excitement felt by “Halo” fans, the cultural phenomenon of camping out for early access to a release is nothing new.

In the 1970s and 1980s, massive crowds gathered to be the first viewers of the popular Star Wars franchise. This practice again became common upon the release of the new episodes in the 1990s into the 2000s.

Despite being his first “Halo” campout, Taylor Robbie – seated with girlfriend Miranda Kabel – remembers camping out for “Star Wars” when he was younger.

As the “Halo” mythos has grown, so has that of its lead character. Many consider “Halo’s” main character, Master Chief, to be on par with Superman and Spider-Man.

“Master Chief is a superhero,” Garbani said. “He single-handedly saves humanity.”

Although historically it has been movie franchises that bring out large crowds in anticipation, videogame franchises like Activision’s “Call of Duty” and EA’s “Madden NFL” have proved that gamers are just as willing to be first in line as moviegoers.

“I know a lot of people who are excited for this,” Kabel said. “I mean we’re here aren’t we?”

Staff writer Sean Bucher can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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