O'BRIEN: Christmas comes early for video game enthusiasts

Posted: Nov. 13, 2012 8:03 am Updated: Dec. 11, 2012 8:15 am

Nothing was going to stop Derrick Minor from getting his spot at the head of the line on Monday.

At 10 a.m., Minor set up shop outside GameStop, 5307 Oak. He was at the Quincy video game store to make sure he was the first in the Gem City to get his hands on "Call of Duty: Black Ops 2."

"I'm dedicated to ‘Call of Duty,'" the 31-year-old Minor said. "This is my favorite game mode and it's the only game I play."

At 12:01 this morning, his 14-hour wait paid off as he left with the game, which is expected to be the biggest video game release of the year. According to a GameStop employee, the store had 700 copies of the game on hand for the midnight release.

Forget about that new James Bond flick. More people are into "Call of Duty" than 007. The latest edition in the "Call of Duty" series is the most pre-ordered game in online retailer Amazon's history.

How big is that? The last "Call of Duty" title, "Modern Warfare 3," pulled in $400 million in first-day sales, according to Activision. Blockbuster movies are lucky to get half that much money. "The Avengers" pulled in $207 million earlier this year. And "Black Ops 2" is expected to blow past what "Modern Warfare 3" did last year.

It's no wonder gamers consider the release an early version of Christmas. It's why some camped outside GameStop so that they could be the first to get it -- even though they didn't really have to do that.

When "Black Ops" came out two years ago, I stood outside in a long line with my eldest son to get the game. It was a festive atmosphere despite being cold and rainy that night. Thank goodness the folks at GameStop have wised up. At 6 p.m. Monday, those who reserved a copy of the game for a $5 down payment could pay the rest of their tab and get a spot in line.

GameStop split each group into 10 people. All the people had to do at midnight was show their receipt and what group they were in and they were done.

"We can do about 100 people in a half hour by doing it this way," the GameStop employee said.

Still, some like Minor wanted to camp out for the full effect of opening night. He was joined at the front of the line by his son-in-law, Zachary Hildenbrand, 23, and Shelton Daniels, 30.

Hildenbrand had been on site since 11:30 a.m., while Daniels joined them around 5 p.m.

"I had to get my kid off the bus," Daniels said.

So what is "Black Ops 2?" It's a first-person shooter game where players can follow a storyline or go into multiplayer mode and battle against other people on the Internet. All three gamers I talked to favored the multiplayer mode.

"The campaign is simple," Daniels said. "It's staged, you can figure out where they're going to be all the time. Multiplayer is different people, you have to test your wits and your skills on that."

Minor said he was ranked as high as sixth in the world at one point as a team defender in "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" but fell to 51st.

"I had to go back to work," he said for the reason why his ranking fell.

Minor said he plays "Call of Duty" about 50 hours a week and expected to dive right into the newest release.

He won't be alone. Many gamers are expected to skip out on school and work today in order to play the new game.

"I'm ‘Call of Duty' sick tomorrow," Daniels said with a hearty laugh.



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