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The scene at Northland Best Buy at 5 a.m.

Lawn chairs, blankets, inflatable beds, and a Mazda

The scene at Metrotown Future Shop at 4:30 p.m.

A quick count concludes a sell out

A sign marks the start, and an empty chair marks a missing first

Alone sits an acoustic guitar
Camper stories, scouting reports, drive-by shootings, self-inflicted injuries and more

'Twas the night before Sony's new machine, when all through the nation, not a creature was stirring... because they were all waiting in line for a PlayStation 3!

In what was previously a phenomenon common only among the most hardcore Japanese gamers, lining up hours, or even days in advance of a gaming release has hit North America at full force. 

Gamers camped out at most a day in advance for a chance to secure a pre-order at GameStop/EB Games, but now with the imminent launch upon us, some have decided to take camping to a level previously only known to The Phantom Menace. Some set up camp almost two weeks ago, though they were ejected from their site less than a week into their campaign. 

After missing out on pre-orders, gamers all across North America are taking no chances and have started to form line camps several days before the system's release. A video taken from outside Circuit City in Union Square in New York shows the lengthy line with 35 hours until launch, and another shows a Best Buy in Melbourne, Florida, complete with classical music and tents for the refined camper. Things are not much different in the Great White North (though likely a good bit colder), as shown in a video by Alan D. of campers waiting outside of a Future Shop in Ontario. Notable is that when campers were asked whether they were planning on selling their system or playing it, the majority responded with intentions of selling.

Our personal experiences after scouting various locations over the past 24 hours are varied. At a Best Buy location set to receive only 10 units, there were already seven people camped at the location at 5 a.m. on November 16. Instead of bothering with a tent, a young couple decided to park their car directly in front of the store, marking the beginning of the line. As number one and two, the couple said that they had been there since 1 p.m. the previous day. 

At a Future Shop located in Vancouver, Canada, around a dozen sitting in chairs, wrapped in blankets, were seen lining up against the wall today in the late afternoon. Taking a page from the Japan launch, a couple of homeless people were hired to sit in line for those who didn't want to brave the wait first-hand. The Canadian retailer announced that every store would carry a minimum of 10 PS3s, and those who wish to buy an Xbox 360 on November 17 instead of a PS3 would receive a $50 discount plus free copies of Gears of War and Ridge Racer 6.

A smaller Best Buy location in Bellingham, Washington, set to receive 20 units of the 60GB machine had one of the quieter scenes we've encountered. Aside from the couple of unattended foldable chairs at the front of the line, the entire walkway was populated by a half dozen tents. Campers were nowhere to be seen, but a lone acoustic guitar was on display, perhaps hinting at Kumbaya singalongs once our cameras left the scene. 

While many have been reporting positive experiences in waiting for a PS3, there have been several isolated incidents where campers had to endure some pain and suffering. 

At a Best Buy location in Lexington, Kentucky, a group of campers were victims of a drive-by BB gun shooting. Four people were hit by BB pellets, including a television reporter who was there on the scene to interview the queue. Two of the people who were shot packed up and left the scene, saying that it wasn't worth the risk for the video games machine. 

Some others are undeterred by the attack, one man saying, "I'd do it again, even if I get shot again." Police say they'll stay at the Best Buy to make sure people in line stay safe. Click here to read and watch the news report from WKYT. 

In another incident at West Bend, Wisconsin, a person was injured outside Wal-Mart racing for a chance to buy one of 10 PS3s available. According to the local police, an assistant manager announced to a crowd of about 50 people that the store was only going to receive about 10 systems and placed 10 chairs outside of the store. Customers were told to run on signal to try to occupy one of the chairs to secure themselves a PS3 when it goes on sale at midnight.

Sadly, a 19-year-old man with perhaps a bit too much exuberance ran into a pole and struck his head, injuring himself. He was taken to the hospital for treatment, reports the AP.

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Future Shop XB360 deal
By ninjit on 11/17/2006 3:48:51 AM , Rating: 2
The Canadian retailer announced that every store would carry a minimum of 10 PS3s, and those who wish to buy an Xbox 360 on November 17 instead of a PS3 would receive a $50 discount plus free copies of Gears of War and Ridge Racer 6 .

That's a pretty friggin sweet deal, considering the games alone are worth $60 a pop: So you're basically getting a $170 discount if you opt for a 360 instead of a PS3?

That would be a no-brainer for me, especially if you don't already have a 360 - and then just wait till all the PS3 holiday mayhem has blow over before even thinking of one of those

RE: Future Shop XB360 deal
By aos007 on 11/17/2006 11:00:57 AM , Rating: 2
And you know what... YOU ARE RIGHT. I live 5 minutes on Skytrain away from that Metrotown Future Shop featured there (I saw the line myself yesterday as I go to that shop several times a week) and today I woke up and went to their
website and saw the deal. It is a no-brainer (I wish the friggin' thing was
quieter but I am tired of waiting for a die-shrink refresh). I am just about to
go buy a coffee at Starbucks, wait a bit until those liners clear oup
(it opens right now) and then I'm getting my Xbiox360, go back home,
and I'll even be at work on time.

I am going Wii hunting on Sunday though.

RE: Future Shop XB360 deal
By glennpratt on 11/17/2006 3:26:51 PM , Rating: 2
I've had a 360 since Febuary and hears my opinion on the noise. It has everything to do with a loud disc drive, a little to do with loud fans and and nothing to do with heat.

Granted it's gotten down into the 60's here in Texas lately :), but my 360 isn't that warm after playing Gears of War all day. It's just the disc drive drones and the fans are louder then you'd expect for the amount of air they move. I almost think they would be less annoying at a higher speed. But overall, it's not that bad, any level of ambient noise drowns it out. And it quiets down while playing DVDs.

RE: Future Shop XB360 deal
By aos007 on 11/18/2006 2:43:05 AM , Rating: 2
And so I got it (360). Man, is this thing LOUD! It is borderline acceptable when not
playing a game, but when in a game... there's a reason most good games for this thing are FPS's, with many lound bangs and explosions... it's so that you can't hear the bloody thing itself.

As I was setting it up I noticed it lacks a lot of polish (batteries get in the way - and what's with using alkalines? no rechargeables?? DC-DC can work from 2.4V too, you know, Microsoft), a few counter-intuitive menu settings ("unrated videos are controlled separately" - yeah, except the setting is grayed out!), and an INCREDIBLY long user agreement for Live - I gave an honest attempt to read it all, and gave up after about 15 minutes - with probably 80% still left to read. You start the Gears of War, it claims it cannot save game because you're not logged into a profile - what's that, you MUST be online and have a live account to save a game in single-player (maybe not but that's what is sais)?! Wow, did this thing ever get out of the door way too early... I wonder how PS3 compares - based on some info this week, not too good (compatibilty, no 1080i etc.).

Here's hoping that Wii got it right. Hopefully they concentrated on USING the thing rather than cramming every feature under the sun in there (jack of all trades, master of none).

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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