After a long wait of almost 12 years, the eagerly anticipated sequel to the award winning real time strategy game Starcraft is finally ready to be released. Pre-order receipt in hand, I headed down to my local Gamestop last night for the Starcraft 2 Midnight Launch. I arrived two hours early so I could trade in some old games and pay off my pre-order in full. With the extra 25% trade-in value special that Gamestop was running, I was able to fully pay for my copy of Starcraft 2 and even had an extra $5 of store credit left over. I promptly used this extra store credit to pre-order Blizzard’s next mega-hit, Diablo 3. (Its release date was listed in the pre-order book as December 31, 2010, but as any fan of Blizzard knows, we will be lucky to see it by December 31 of 2011 or even 2012.)
For the first hour it was pretty low-key, with only about 12 or so people coming in to the store to pay for their pre-orders. A few people came in to see if there would be any copies available to buy without a pre-order, but found themselves out of luck. I had some enjoyable conversations with the store employees, who were excitedly looking forward to the release just as much as the customers.
“I can’t wait to play it [Starcraft 2]. I remember playing the first one way back when I was in middle school,” Kyle, the friendly store employee, told me. We went on to talk about our experiences in the Beta, and how amazing the Campaign and Galaxy Editor are going to be. Personally I am most excited about all the great content that is sure to come from the Starcraft modding community in the next few years.
Once eleven o’clock rolled around, the energy and excitement began to grow in the store as more and more people arrived. The Gamestop store I was at was even nice enough to provide some free pizza for the people that were there, which I thought was very cool of them to do. There was a brief discussion about the two already announced expansions to Starcraft 2, and the speculated pricing of them. Several gamers remarked, “It doesn’t really matter how much it costs, I love Starcraft so much I’ll end up paying whatever they charge.”
At fifteen minutes until the midnight launch, the store was becoming quite full. Out of the 109 pre-orders that the store took, I’d estimate that roughly 70 people showed up for the event. The buzz of the crowd grew more and more as each minute passed, knowing that they would soon be able to get their hands on the game they have wanted for so long. Once the clock hit 12:01 a.m., the moment all of the Starcraft fans had been waiting for had arrived. The line moved very quickly and everyone had their copy of Starcraft 2 within a few minutes. I took a few moments to look at the box art, and then stepped out into the night. I had to hurry home to install the game I have eagerly anticipated all these years.
I found the Starcraft 2 Midnight Launch event to be a success, and had a very enjoyable experience. It was fun to hang out with other fans of the Starcraft series and share the excitement of a big launch.