Monday, November 28, 2005

360 Notes Plus Launch Stories

I've found out a few more things about the 360 over the weekend.

I'm even more impressed with the graphics after a few more days with the system. The best games are just off the hook.

Having said that, this console is loud. And it's chattery loud as well, not a steady loud like the PS2. Plus the external power brick gets freakishly hot. So it's not really a sleek system--it's a big, loud, hot system with the heat transferred to the power brick.

I also think it might be better to have the system horizontally oriented instead of vertical, even though it looks pretty nifty standing up. I scratched a game disc and I'm attributing it to the vertical orientation of the drive. I put the console horizontal and haven't had any more problems. That may be coincidental rather than causal, but that's what I'm doing for now.

The more I look at that power brick and hear the console, the more I think that this thing just isn't going to make it in Japan. The Japanese seem to place such a high priority on ergonomics, and that power brick is huge. It ruins the illusion of a "small" system. And I don't think the noise is going to go over very well, either.

So--it's big, hot, and loud, and one of my game discs got scratched. And it still absolutely kicks ass as far as I'm concerned, because the actual game-playing experience is just stellar.

Now, here are a few more excerpts from launch stories sent in by you guys. The difference with several of these is that they're launch stories fom the dark side, so to speak. These aren't the Hello Kitty Happy Happy Sunshine launch stories.

To start off, from a DQ reader who wishes to remain anonymous, a story of true desire for a new console. This story was so long that I'm excerpting it, but here's the setup: having gone to at least half a dozen stores in his area on Monday, and finding that the lines already exceeded the number of systems the store was receiving, he turned in desperation to--the "bad neighborhood."
This Target is in a very tough, very violent area of town. We arrive around 9:30 p.m. and THERE'S NO LINE! I set up shop while Joe and the cousin head in to get any info they can.

Carrie had planned ahead and grabbed some chairs, blankets and such and we formed our line and had FOUR OF US there first. We make a few trips into the Target to buy supplies and are officially in it for the long haul.

While waiting for the store to close, a few other folks come and go, but only two more kids decide to stay. It starts getting VERY DARK (store lights turning off) and we start noticing some rather shady looking indivuals and cars coming and going. A few hours pass and we now have about nine people including us, but the others have decided to go sleep in their cars (we made a list of when people showed up to keep things civil).

Around Midnight, the Security Guard comes out and asks us what we're doing and we tell him we're camping all night for the 360. He proceeds to tell us about the area we're in...he describes things like 'serial rapist', numerous burglaries, a dead body found in the same area just days ago, drug needles in the parking lot, etc, etc, etc...we're COMPLETELY TERRIFIED NOW.

All the while we're camping, we're begging the manager or employees to give us an idea of how many units they have, but they refused.

Probably around 1 or 1:30 in the morning, we notice that this shady truck has been lurking out in the parking lot and had made two seperate trips to check out what was going on. Due to the stories we had heard, we start to get VERY worried. The truck comes by a THIRD TIME and pulls up next to us and a VERY SHADY person rolls down the window and asks us if the store was open. We nervously answer no (what store is at 1:00 a.m.?) and the dude slowly drives off and we see him orbit a few more times in the next few minutes. Now, we're POSITIVE that this dude is up to no good. We call the brother-in-law's DPS officer brother-in-law and tell him what is going on and where we are - he says he'll try to get a cruiser to come by, but he can't promise anything.

The cousin informs us that he happens to have a 9mm pistol and a shotgun in his car that we left at the Super Target and that he's licensed to carry a firearm. He and Carrie take off to get his car. They return about 30 mins later and we're questioning our own sanity for still being out there.

Within the next 30-45 mins, we notice that same truck on a few roads and decide that the cousin should either hang out in his car with the gun or just get the pistol and keep it with him while we wait. We're now sitting out in front of target with a person in our party carrying a 9mm pistol in his jeans...and I'm glad he's there. We decide that if we see the truck again, we're out of there.

Luckily, around 3:00-3:30 a.m., the store starts coming to life again and the night crew shows up to unload new stuff and prep for the morning. We finally find someone who tells us that they have SIX systems, but aren't sure how many premiums. We now had about twelve people waiting.

Everyone finally manages to doze off...I'm so worried that I can't, so I watch these MASSIVE spiderwebs blow across the parking lot.

Around 4:00 a.m., more people start showing up and you start to see some familiar faces come back by after failed attempts elsewhere.

Around 6:00 a.m., the morning manager shows up and finally tells us that they had 10 units, 2 premium and 8 cores.

By 8:05 we have our systems. I get home around 8:45.

I think he's now the official DQ Hardcore Gamer.

And here's a story from DQ 360 Winner Keith Marsteller, who didn't have to camp for his 360 but had friends who did:
A quick story for you on a strange phenomenon: last night at about 2 a.m., I went out to supply some of my troops who were camping out at Best Buy. As you can imagine, they were lined up down the side of the store down the sidewalk. As I was sitting in the freezing rain with two of my friends, a convoy of cars came slowly through the lot. One after the other, they did a sort of "drive-by"-- they rolled their windows down, held up a new CORE SYSTEM BOX (yuk) and taunted the living shit out of everyone in the Best Buy line. "K-Mart, BITCHES!" "Who wants one from K-Mart??" "$700 to anyone who has cash!" "You stupid *****, we're going home to play ours from K-Mart!" Then the car in question would peel out and take off, presumably to the next store to do some more taunting.

To you taunting gentlemen, I just have this to say: core system, bitches!

Now, to end up the launch stories, here's one that doesn't sound like it came from a horror flick, from DQ reader Jamie Eckman:
A friend and I decided to wait in line for a 360 at the Best Buy in Bellevue, WA. For some reason we thought that getting there at 10am on Monday would give us a pretty good spot in line. I drove past the store Saturday afternoon and there were already a few people there. My friend went past on Sunday and there were about 12 people in line. By the time we got there Monday morning we were #121 and #122 in line. It turns out the first person in line got there some time on Friday.

The official event people started showing up around dark (5 p.m.), and it was getting pretty cold. We were all pretty impressed when they came down the line handing out scarves and beanies, appropriately branded, of course. A while later they came around with Krispy Kremes and hot chocolate. By this time, the line was massive. At least 500 people, wrapped down the side of Best Buy, all the way down the back of the parking lot, all the way down the side of a Home Depot, then partially curling back up towards Best Buy. After dark some people were playing XBox on the sides of both Best Buy and Home Depot using projectors.

At 10 p.m. or so we got our official-but-still-not-guaranteeing-us-a-system tickets. We'd moved up two spots. Not a single person ahead of us opted for a core system. Then at 11 p.m. the hooplah started. Media. Party busses with swag. These, by the way, destroyed the line order just as everyone was packing up their chairs because people were running around trying to catch XBox frisbees and so forth as they were packing up chairs and tents. Bill Gates and some other execs were apparently there, although I didn't see any of them.

The final line was sort of a disorganized mob. Fortunately, it didn't get too chaotic. The Best Buy employees were very strict about checking tickets. In the end I got my Xbox 360 around 1 a.m., 15 hours later after we got there.. Then I went home, took a hot shower, and went to sleep.

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