It’s less than an hour before I can get my copy of Starcraft II. There are midnight sales all over the world and I typically go to the official Blizzard event at the Fountain Valley, Calif. Fry’s, but I don’t think I care enough anymore to make the drive. It was all I had to even participate in a midnight sale at all. I think I did it out of reflex. I had gone to the midnight sales for both Warcraft III and its expansion. Now that I look back on those events I couldn’t really justify having gone to those either. I think it was the sense of doing something special and out of the ordinary. I also liked the sense of community — being around others who took gaming as seriously as I did.
This time around I decided to just hit up my local Gamestop. Standing in line with this current generation of gamers has convinced me that I’m simply not one of them anymore. I guess I’m too old. It’s possible my generation of gamer now has adult responsibilities and can’t be up at midnight with a workday looming on the horizon. Nevertheless, the people I was standing in line with are still the people I’ll be playing Starcraft II with — and I hate them.
Somewhere along the line the gaming community took itself way too seriously. I remember walking into a Net Cafe for the first time and having to press through a small crowd of Online Gamer Toughs gathered around the front door. One of them — the toughest of them all, apparently — broke away from the group to step to me and try to stare me down. He was 5’4″ if I was being generous and weighed 90-lbs. wet and sported menacing Coke bottle spectacles and a cap too big for his skull. The Net Cafe had become the place where scrawny guys who were usually beat up could go to be hard.
The group waiting outside of Gamestop tonight definitely has an element of the hard gamer, but it’s mostly made up of myopic miscreants and teenage boys still grappling with the awkwardness of their age. The staff is composed mostly of surly guys who are only a few years removed from their own awkward phases and have come to realize just how repulsive their customer base is. Never mind the fact that they’re also working until midnight. A few people ahead of me is a group of young boys who think their opinions are somehow important and their observations witty enough that everyone around them will appreciate their comments. So they speak quite loudly, but trail off at the end of the sentences like drunks who suddenly realize their inner monologue has escaped. Right behind me was a quiet guy with a half shaved head. The rest of his hair hung down the other side of his face and he practiced what can only be described as a mild form of Capoeira while listening to his iPod. He stopped at one point to adjust his shoelaces which he carefully positioned into a painstaking checker pattern. The group of guys directly in front of me, of course, made fun of him under their breaths, occasionally running a hand through their feathered hair that no doubt took them an hour each morning to blow dry sufficiently, but never to the point that their hairdos distracted enough from their zit-riddled faces.
I stepped out of my body for a moment and wondered what the hell I was doing there and then stepped out of line entirely. I went home, fired up the blog and now I’m going to head back to a presumably much shorter line.