Forming in the early evening, the GameStop off Garfield was looking at a crowd in the hundreds. Fans were vying to get their hands on a copy of call of duty and the less reported on, Metal Gear Solid HD remake collection. To cater to everyone’s desires, they made sure that the store was fully prepped for the swarm to come later.
Now tell yourself, what is it that really makes CoD such a great game series? Plot? Maybe. Graphics? A plus but still not it. Multiplayer? Yes. As the store was granted permission, they were allowed to open up a few copies of the game and set up a large tournament to allow jittery players a chance to shield themselves from the cold and have an opportunity to earn some swag. With a crowd of about 40 entrants, it was a long and hard fight, but eventually three victors stood above the rest and took their rightful place as winners. Hell, given that this was the only location to my knowledge that let people play the game ahead of time, they very well could’ve been the best in California.
To add to the overall atmosphere, some US Army Recruiters attended the event to purchase a few copies of the game, as well as bringing in a shooting simulator with laser firing rifles that actually felt as though there was some serious weight to them; as if the wielder was handling a real gun. I’m not quite sure how to best explain it, but seeing the expression on a few customers’ faces, I could tell that this was met with mixed results (“Am I being taunted with limited access or have I been given a glorious present?”). And to top things off, the company Red Bull actually came in and handed out free drinks to those waiting in line. Frankly, I think without them, people might’ve been dropping from the wait.
With roughly 400 copies of the game sold, I would have to say that it was a great evening. With a surprising turnout for a smaller location, all I can say was that I was definitively impressed; and to some degree, other stores should take at least half as much initiative as they did. At some locations, I’ve seen that they would only keep people out in the cold to wait for a game to be released. It’s just bad for business if the guys working have a cold air of indifference about them; no enthusiasm, acting frumpy on the job and generally coming off as off putting.
It doesn’t take much to make a release party (or any sales day) better for your customers, so please put in the extra effort. From what I saw, they went all out and I’ll be hard pressed to find much of a better party. If one of our readers happens to be in the Sacramento area, by all means check out the store; you won’t be disappointed. Otherwise, enjoy where you go and get your games and if you think the places could’ve done a better job, be sure to tell the employees there. Rant aside, the party was amazing and it was easily worth a drive to get there and thankfully, there will be several more to come; especially in this month.
Event covered by Kris “Kaz” Sturm
Additional images by Claudia Mildner:
Recommended store locations:
6306 Garfield Ave
Sacramento, CA 95841
920 Pleasant Grove Blvd
Roseville, CA 95678