Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Halo 4: The Great Journey

Today, I spent several hours of my morning in search of a copy of Halo 4. Specifically, the Limited Edition, not the Standard edition.


The LE has a bunch of extra stuff and comes in a nice metal case. For a hardcore fan like myself, the Standard edition just isn't an option.

For various reasons, I wasn't able to pre-order the LE before suddenly, about a month before release, every retailer announced that the LE was completely unavailable for pre-order due to a lack of supply. But there isn't any way that literally every copy of the LE was accounted for; that's not how the retail system works with games. Someone had to have a copy of the LE available on launch day, I just wasn't going to be able to pre-order it. Therefore, my only option was to drive around to various stores and try to find an unreserved copy.

This was the route I ended up taking in order to find an LE copy.

I knew ahead of time to avoid Gamestops; they would be the only store that actually would be completely sold out of LEs, and even if they weren't, every other gamer in the area would be heading there looking for the same thing, so it wasn't worth the risk. Better to head to larger stores with less of an emphasis on pre-orders, like Wal-Mart and Target.

Point A: Home
At 7:30 AM, I left the house (Point A) and headed toward Point B, a Wal-Mart. I had one class at school that I needed to get to at 9:30, so it was best to head in that direction.

Point B: Wal-Mart
I found plenty of standard editions, but no LEs.

Point C: Target
Target was the only other store selling electronics that was open at 8 AM, so I headed there. They only had two copies of the game left unreserved, both of them Standards. Someone there told me they were expecting some LEs either later in the day or the next day. I wasn't about to wait around in the hopes that one might show up at some point; I needed to move on.

Point D: TCC
I had to pause my search and go to school for a little over an hour.

Point E: Best Buy
Now that it was after 10 AM and all stores were open, I backtracked to the same general area as the Target that I'd been to earlier and checked Best Buy. I figured they might have more stock than preorders. As it turned out, they didn't. Boatloads of standards, no LEs.

Point F: Toys R Us
It occurred to me that Toys R Us us a store that always gets massive shipments of games, but is mostly separate from the "gaming culture" that focuses on pre-orders. Unfortunately, I didn't consider that they're also not part of the culture that buys special editions of games either. I found dozens of standard-editions, no LEs.

Point G: Best Buy
My second Best Buy trip was no more productive than my first.

Point H: Target
There were literally no copies of Halo 4 at all. I overheard a conversation between an employee and another customer; in the employee's words, "if you didn't get a pre-order, you can't get it."

Point I: Wal-Mart
I'd skipped past this Wal-Mart in my journey previously, mostly because I actually forgot it existed. It's been surrounded and blocked by so much highway construction for so long that I somewhat mentally wrote it off as an actual store. But as I worked my way back towards another group of stores Northwest of my then-location, I remembered that Wal-Mart and decided to quickly check it. As I scanned the lower shelf behind the glass, what did I find?


After securing my prize, I got lunch, went by Haslet City Hall to vote (Gary Johnson, if you're wondering), and spent the entire afternoon playing Halo 4.

I can't explain just how happy I am with the game. It actually lives up to the hype and even goes beyond it. More on that later.

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