Game Play

If you don't play a lot of videogames — that is, if you have a life — it's hard to understand why anyone would wait in line for days to buy a new console. And despite the media frenzy surrounding the launch last Thursday of the Sony PlayStation 3, I don't feel like I have any more insight.

As you've probably heard, hordes of geeks started waiting in line on Wednesday morning to pick up their very own way to play Genji: Days of the Blade. Well, not really: Many of them are planning to sell the system on eBay, which already has several systems — they normally go for $499-$599 in stores — up for sale, ranging in price from $1,025 to $1,725, complete with a free copy of the "unrated and uncut" DVD for the movie Talladega Nights (what does that have to do with videogames?). "The unit is in hand!" say the captions on the photos. Translation: Look, here's a photo of my hand holding a box!

Reporters went crazy for the guys (and they were mostly guys) standing in line at the flagship Sony store at Metreon. The Chron talked to a 37-year-old man who "just [had] to be here on Day 1" (cough, loser, cough), along with some enterprising fellows planning to turn a profit on their purchases. The Merc (along with about a zillion other outlets) talked to the first guy in line, 21-year-old Chris Toribio of San Francisco, who said he'd "probably" keep his, rather than sell it. In New Jersey, there was even a woman who claimed to be nine months pregnant and feeling contractions. "I'm going to hold out as long as I can," she told a radio station.

The tech blog Engaget did a roundup of violence among PS3 crowds around the country: "an actual shooting (none of this BB nonsense), hospitalizations aplenty," plus an armed holdup, a riot at a Circuit City, a rowdy crowd getting pepper-sprayed in Virginia, and an escaped suspected rapist hiding out in a PS3 line at a Best Buy in Kentucky. This was for a game?

PC Gamer magazine even gave some S.F. guy named Neil (no last name — was he too embarrassed?) $7,500 to sign a contract saying he'd never own a PS3. The rag's people did it to "convert one diehard PS3 fan to PC gaming," according to their Web site.

My take on all these hard-core thumb jockeys? This was probably the longest any of them had spent outside in ages — since the release of the PS2.

 
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