Hundreds of hardcore gaming fans waited outside of GameStop in San Luis Obispo early the morning of Sept. 25 to get their copy of what's being called the most anticipated video game ever: Halo 3.
Apparently, the midnight sales event wasn't enough for SLO County's gamers because GameStop reopened its doors only six hours later two hours earlier than normal to help supply the demand for the final installment of the alien shoot-'em-up trilogy.
By the time the store closed that night, it had sold an estimated 600 copies of the game.
"We've been pretty ridiculously smoking on that game," said GameStop store manager Robert Wren. "This is more than I've ever seen happen, and I've been with the company for three years."
The game, which is only available for the Xbox 360 console, is backed by a heavy marketing campaign, which includes celebrity-studded sales events, game-related apparel, and even soft drinks advertised as "game fuel."
"The bad guys are smarter this time. They just don't charge in blindly. They pick you off, which makes it more challenging and fun," said Nicholas Walter, New Times' Geek Out columnist, who purchased the videogame as soon as he got off work Tuesday afternoon.
The game is set in the year 2552. Humanity is at war with an alien civilization intent on the genocide of all humans. Players control Master Chief, the last fighting member of an elite military unit.
Microsoft expects Halo 3's sales figures to surpass the numbers for 2004's Halo 2, which raked in $125 million in its first 24 hours.