Friday, September 26, 2008

These Aren't the Fanboys You're Looking For

Rather than spend last Friday night drinking like a good, upstanding individual, I opted instead to go to a "video game pre-release event" at the artist-formerly-known-as-Sony Metreon in downtown San Francisco. Really, what the heck was I thinking.

Companies occasionally like to promote their upcoming games to rabid fans with these sort of events where a bunch of nerds obediently stand in line, hoping to get a chance to play an upcoming game, and otherwise demonstrate their fanboy resolve. I've never gone to one of these marketing-laden hype-fests, probably for good reason, but I figured that this particular game (made by We-Killed-Sonic Sega) was so obscure, that I might be the only one at the event. I was wrong, but only off by about 40 people.

I arrived about ten minutes late at the Sony Playstation store, saw a line, and got in it. I asked the person in front of me what the deal was, and he responded, enthusiastically, "I don’t know man, I just got here myself!" Fortunately, an unusually perky saleswoman showed up a couple minutes later to explain that I was in the correct line for the event, and that everyone in line would get the privilege of having something autographed by the game's producer (eh?). She then handed me a large stack of large "Sega" stickers (I still have no idea what I’m supposed to do with these) and vanished.

I waited for about 15 minutes as the line slowly shambled forward. Several people queued behind me, including a father-daughter pair (I suppose it was a family-friendly event). A quick look around verified that 90% of the people there were young Asian males in glasses, so I blended in well. Eventually, I got to the head of the line, where I could finally see what everyone was waiting for (apologies for the horrible picture).

Yes, I think that is some cosplay woman on the left. At least, it seemed like the employees at the store didn't know her. Maybe she came with the guy who was signing autographs, who was some producer I've never heard of. Maybe she just forced her way into the store with that plastic gun of hers.

Anyway, I got a signed game cover (for a game I cannot even purchase for another month or two) and a plastic grenade. Whoopee. Oh, and some raffle ticket for various items I did not win, or otherwise lacked the patience to hang around for three hours to find out if I won or not.

The evening was not a total loss, as I got to actually play the game for a bit, which was my actual objective. It was interesting, probably because it didn't have any references to hedgehogs, of any color. Also, I got the opportunity to roam around the Metreon for a bit, and found it more abandoned and lifeless than ever before, populated mostly by glum-looking security guards who, with subtle head-nods, convinced me to go about my business somewhere else.

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