September 14, 2010 will be a day to remember, the launch of the most anticipated game of the year Halo: Reach. Knowing that this will be the last Halo game made by Bungie, they had to celebrate the momentous occasion in a special way. They decided to have a launch party at the unofficial capital of the world, New York City. I had the privilege to be there along with the first three hundred people who were on the line at the Best Buy Theater in Time Square.
The party had quickly started in the line, not long after I arrived. They had Best Buy employees handing out t-shirts if you qualified for an upgrade on your phone. Of course I heard “free shirt” and checked. Unfortunately I wasn’t eligible for an upgrade, but they still gave me a shirt. Then after the Best Buy cell phone MOB left, the Halo giveaways started to arrive. First, a group of girls came out with t-shirts, and they didn’t hold back at all. Frankly, I can guarantee no one left without a Halo: Reach T. After a while they came back out with inflatable Energy Swords. Almost everyone had the swords on their backs pretending it was their secondary weapon. It was priceless.
Those in charge also provided entertainment while waiting. They had the radio station Hot 97 at the event providing music for us to enjoy, amping the crowd for the event. Even though rain cascaded over several Halo fans, we were all still highly entertained. Even Phil Noto, the writer of the comic “The Fall of Reach,” decided to stop by and sign copies that had been given out to us. Furthermore, while waiting in line, they had a 3V3 firefight tournament, and the three people with the highest score got to go up against the developers of the game. Every so often they would invite six people to go play in the tournament.
Two and a half hours later, when it was time for the actual event to start, everyone began to get even louder and more excited. That’s when the unfortunate news came: a Microsoft employee came to us and told everyone that the event wasn’t going to start until ten. After being soaked to the bone in the rain for an hour, that was the worst news we could have heard. However, half an hour later, everyone stopped complaining and started to party once again. The energy was just that palpable.
At about 9:30 they started to let everybody enter the store. As soon as we got in, there stood a statue of a member of the Noble team. In the hallway heading toward the main stage, they had countless XBox 360 systems installed so we could all play Reach. We were only able to play Firefight, but that didn’t matter. We still got to play earlier than the rest of the world. Upon entering the main stage, they had a huge buffet of food and drinks for us throughout the night. Spike TV was also there covering the event live: they even had UFC’s Matt Serra there in all the fun.
The best part about the whole event was that they had all the Bungie developers and people like Major Nelson walking around and playing the game with you. I was able to meet a lot of the developers and managed to get three of their autographs.
I finished everything I could do at the event by 10:30 and found myself trying to socialize while waiting for the musical guest Kid Cudi to appear. His time slot was at eleven, and he had missed it: about a quarter to twelve Major Nelson came up to the crowd to tell us that he most likely would not be able to perform. Many people were disappointed at the situation and kept on trying to start a chant to get Cudi out. After a short time almost everyone left and went to get their copy of Reach.
Still, the overall event was overwhelmingly satisfying. There were some difficulties and not everything ran as smoothly as it could have; however, I don’t think many minded. Keep a look out: soon we will be giving out some of the goodies we have received, such as a signed Halo: Reach shirt. Hope to get some game time with everyone soon.