If you happen to find yourself driving around at 11pm tonight, you'll likely see long lines of (mostly) men standing outside of Best Buys, EB Games and Gamestops all over greater Los Angeles. Do not be alarmed. It's just the hardcore gaming faithful lining up to claim their midnight copies of Halo 3, the biggest video game of the year. For the completely uninitiated, Halo is the sci-fi shooter franchise that is basically the reason why Microsoft's Xbox became a competitor to Sony and Nintendo's game consoles and not a casualty in the game console graveyard, alongside the Atari Jaguar, the Sega Dreamcast and the 3DO. If the release of Halo 2 several years ago is any indicator, it is also safe to say that Halo 3 is going to be the culprit behind the severe lack of Tuesday productivity among the city's male population.
The game is expected to ring up $150 million in sales within its first 24 hours of release, eclipsing the then record $125 million of its predecessor over the same period of time. It's also expected to convince on the fence buyers to finally take the plunge and purchase an Xbox 360, which is in danger of being overtaken by Nintendo's upstart Wii, the game console that has grandmother's in living rooms all over the word wildly waving their arms as they play air-tennis.
Based on the advertising campaign that has plastered Halo's hero, Master Chief, onto everything from billboards to soda cans, you would think Halo 3 is going to be a Mario-like cultural phenomenon enjoyable by all the masses who love video games. Please kill those thoughts immediately, Wii heads, because this game is not for grandma. In fact, Halo 3 is the Holy Grail for the verbally-abusive, hardcore shooter fans who have been the bread and butter of Microsoft's ascent to console dominance.
Allow me to explain. Before the advent of the "enjoyable by everyone and all-ages" hits the Nintendo Wii and Guitar Hero, most video game players fell into three general categories. They are as follows:
Image by Bobby Solomon for LAist