So, having attended the Halo 2 launch at the same spot, this launch was incredibly lackluster. There was no music, no local radio DJ pumping up the crowd, no bikini-clad babes handing out samples of Mountain Dew, no one hurling t-shirts into the crowd, and no big countdown and fanfare. The most noise made by the crowd was whenever Master Chief would stroll by, and everyone would go nuts trying to take a photo of him. Then there was the guy handing out free swag for ... The Kingdom. Everyone mobbed the poor guy, thinking it was Halo stuff, but they were bummed when it turned out to be notebooks and pins from the upcoming movie.
However, all of that was tossed aside when ZAC! appeared on the scene. You would have thought the Beatles had just made the second coming. People immediately shoved everything aside in their way to get a photo of ZAC! Some teenagers in front of us were screaming "OH MY GOD! HE'S SOOOOO CUTE!" Wow. We're not quite sure why they got him to sell the first copy, unless Disney made a deal with the Devil (er, Microsoft) in order to give Zac a little macho street cred.
So, that excitement aside, the rest of the evening was spent watching Zac and Executive Producer Jonty Barnes play the game up until the stroke of midnight. At that point, a smiling Zac, Master Chief (we don't know if he was smiling) a GameStop employee, and someone from Entertainment Tonight sell hardcore fan Chris Brubaker the very first copy of Halo 3 in Los Angeles. He also got a nifty little Halo 3 courier bag, and hopefully some sleep. He'd been waiting since noon on Sunday to buy the game.
After that little photo-op, the doors were open and the long line began streaming in. We were lucky enough to snag our copy right after Chris, and we high-tailed it out of there before we got trampled to death.
- The line was much shorter than the Halo 2 and Burning Crusade launches
- One TV news reporter was heard saying, just before he interviewed Master Chief, "Uh, is his name Master Chief? Are they all Master Chiefs? What's the deal on that?"
- All the food shops nearby were closed, which led to save grumbling tummies in line. Nice planning.
- The only swag we saw handed out were Halo 3 posters, although they had a big rack of things for sale. We picked up a wristband and some achievement pins, ftw.
- Some people kept unrolling a massive GTA: San Andreas banner and holding it up. We're not sure why.
- People go nuts for free stuff.