Full disclosure people, I got soul but I’m not a soldier. I’ve never been to war, or seen the grotesque chaos of a heated battle, but I’ve been about as close as someone can get before it’s the real deal. I, like you reading this, play games. More specifically, I play PlayStation games, and when they have a new console coming out, it’s a big deal. We’re talking like the birth of my first born child big. Okay, my girlfriend may kill me if I say that, but still, it’s a huge event.
Last night, I was there. I was standing behind the counter, ringing up customers for their PS4 systems to pick up at midnight. All the waiting, all the blood, sweat, and tears were leading up to this moment. Each beep of the scanner was another step on this long and seemingly endless road. The clock moved slow, like the patient trod of the tortoise while I was the hare, knees bent and feet planted. The excitement was palpable, the very air around me was electric. I was home, amongst friends, amongst my PlayStation family.
I’ve been in retail for seven years. This was my first experience with a console release, and it was a great one to start with. PlayStation 4 was here, sitting in my backroom, stacked high and begging to be unleashed. I’m sorry though, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s rewind to the beginning of the night.
The Trepidation, Learning to Embrace the Fear
You hear all these horror stories about people getting robbed, about people dying so that others can get a system. More so you hear about it on Black Friday, but I’m not looking to get into that here. This was big though, and lots of precaution was taken to ensure that everyone was safe from the moment they walked in our door, to the moment they walked into theirs at the end of the night. I work in a mall, so first step was making sure we had security and police patrols inside and outside in the parking garage.
I drove to work yesterday with a bounce in my step and a stutter in my heart. I was nervous, I felt like I was walking into a war zone. I had drinks, I had snacks, I thought I was ready, but I didn’t know what to expect. When I arrived to clock in, there were already people sitting at the entrance, looking up at me with hopeful eyes as I passed them. Did they have it pre-ordered? No, but we were expecting extras.
I saw a trio enter, wearing t-shirts that bore the Xbox One logo. Were they here to mock us? To cry foul at the sheer power of the PS4? No, they were not. They had a PS4 pre-ordered. The irony was undeniable, but the comedic value of such a stunt was lost upon me. Or perhaps I do not laugh for pennies. I feared that others would follow, those who would dare stain this day of days.
Clocked in, name-tag brandished, the only defense between me and the world was the counter I stood behind to use the register. It wasn’t long before the line grew, and grew. The phone began ringing of the hook and the business began pouring in. This was it, this was when the frontlines became the war zone. This was where the men were separated from the boys. This was where history would be made, carved into the stones of times, never to be eroded away.
The fear faded fast though. I felt confident, armed with knowledge and power. My weapons were forged in the fires of Sony and in this realm I could do no wrong. Was I cheating, knowing so much about PS4? No, I was simply prepared. Questions came at me in flurries, but I answered them without hesitation. The knowledge was there, I simply needed to wield it.
Live streams and Muffins, Anything to Pass the Time
As the clock continued its slow and painful ascent to that holy hour, I felt myself becoming weary. I consumed all manner of beverages to bolster my energy, but the onslaught of the growing line was becoming too powerful. Then, like a beacon of hope, my girlfriend arrived to visit us. She brought with her mana from heaven in the form of her amazing, made from scratch muffins. We ate, and we ate, and with each bite our strength returned. We had a chance now, not a guarantee, but a chance, and it gave us hope.
One of our customers, who was kind enough to let me try out his DualShock 4 when he first bought it several weeks ago, brought in his laptop and pulled up Spike TV’s PS4 launch stream. I spotted a new trailer for Infamous: Second Son that made my eyes gush with tears of joy, but I was soon swept up in the next wave of people arriving. Still, the energy in the air was palpable and the chatter of interviews from his laptop pulled me back into the moment.
Less than an hour now. Things began to stabilize and like the slow realization of a undeniable truth, I began to come to terms with the fact that I would soon be the owner of the next generation of gaming. PlayStation 4 was almost here.
Cry Havoc, and Let Slip the Dogs of Gaming!
It was 11:58. Two minutes and I was standing in the center of the store. The first person in line was gripping their receipt like he was Charlie and he had the golden ticket. I personally think the PS4 is way better than a candy factory, but it’s a close call. My phone shook in my hand, I looked over to a pile of free posters I was to hand out and saw the clock flip. 11:59. One minute left before everything would change.
That last minute, I could have sworn the universe stopped for a moment. This moment was both the end and the beginning. It was a milestone, and it was gone after it had only just arrived. Midnight was upon us and the sweeping tide came upon me. Customer left with gigantic grins, eagerly taking my free posters and shaking my hand like I was the President, and I was awarding them with a check for a million dollars.
It happened so fast, so many came and went before me. And then, only we remained. The brave soldiers, the ones who dared tempt fate and brave her trials. We had come through, perhaps not unscathed, but alive and well. I finalized my order and bagged up my PS4, my games, and my camera. The spoils of war were mine, but in the end we were all winners.
Home, Hooked Up, Never Sleeping Again
Luckily, I followed the steps outlined in my Ultimate PS4 Gamer’s Launch Guide, and so my living room at home was ready to receive the PS4. I plugged it in, turned it on, and blew through the settings. Then came time to play the games. Of course, this is a story for another time, tomorrow in fact. Stay tuned to PS4 Experts for my first impressions of the new console, and soon after, my reviews of the launch titles!
Did you go to the midnight release for the PS4? What time did you get home? Tell us in the comments!
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert Date: 11/15/2013