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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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RE: why
By rushfan2006 on 11/17/2006 8:58:07 AM , Rating: 4
I agree with the guy who summed it basically by saying to each their own.

Hey what you do with your time is what you do with your time. You think its worth chewing up your vacation time, sick time or personal time on something like getting a PS3 - that's your business. I have to allow you that right, because this is a free country...doesn't mean I have to endorse it or even like it.

I enjoy movies, and concerts and I'm diehard PC gamer for many years (probably more years than some of you have been alive)....only one time in my entire life did I ever wait at midnight for a game to be released...I was like 14 years old and it was 11:30 at night anyway when we finally pasted by the Electronics Boutique and figured "what the hell"....can't even remember the game it was anymore (this would make more sense if you seen how many games are in my collection).

Anyway...I only think perspective is strange when....

1) Folks will CAMP out in torrential rain with high winds blowing for a game system, but less and less folks turn out to vote (and it doesn't matter what you are -- dem, lib, con, rep, whatever).....or how last month I went to donate blood and the line was hideously small.

2) People fighting huge brawls over a game system...then hearing the legit buyers having to have security escorts to their cars.......that's just screwed up.

3) 90% of everyone is hoping to flip the system....for supposedly $500-1000 profit....A) the people who pay that much for the system are either filthy rotten rich or B) out right insane. So anyway people say for their reasoning "dude because I'm gonna make $1000 on the system" they get all excited for months and months leading up to the event that is launch day...they probably organize with their friends on when/where they are going to camp out....use up time from work or play hookey from school....for $1000 profit potential....which does sound tempting.

I think to myself "funny if these guys put as much energy into savings and investing that $1000 profit would look like child's play"... ;)

Anyway to each their own...

RE: why
By Kanti on 11/17/2006 4:33:41 PM , Rating: 2
To each their own...until it starts to hurt others. These scalpers ruin the launches of systems, and force actual buyers to pay huge sums. That is predatory and exploitive, and NOT okay. There should be nation-wide laws against scalping (if we can agree that spamming should be outlawed, then scalping should be outlawed, these bastards will just have to actually work or create something to make their money).

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