The midnight release is an event where all the people who pre-ordered a game get together and get the game right at midnight from their retailer. It’s somewhat a relic of the past with the future of digital downloads and pre-loading being the way of the future, but I still find there to be something special about these events.
By no means do I think this is a practical way to get the game. Like I said, with pre-loading and things of that nature being so quick and instant, a midnight release is pretty silly. Even if you don’t pre-load it, getting it at midnight only guarantees you play it a few hours before you either pass out, or have to go to work / school.
With that said, there’s just something so inherently special about a midnight release event for me. Maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe it’s because I don’t do it as much as I used to, but hitting a midnight release is just such a beautiful experience for me.
Being in a place where you’re surrounded by people that love gaming as much as you and the same genre of those games is awesome. Not to mention, seeing a physical manifestation of a usual internet-based community is something that I will never get sick of.
My first midnight release was back in the early 2000’s, I want to say 2004, with a Madden title. I still remember showing up to this small GameStop in my local mall, that I frequented way too often mind you, and seeing a small handful of Madden fans wearing their favorite teams’ jerseys.
I think this was the moment that I first got a real sense of a physical community in gaming. I had known other people liked video games, hell G4TV was huge back then, but to actually see people up at midnight for a Madden release was a real eye opener.
By far the biggest release I can remember was back when Halo 3 came out. I knew this would be a huge release, but when I got there, it was just insane. With over an hour left until it even hit midnight, the line was bursting out of GameStop and was wrapping around the inside of the mall.
I’ll never forget the feeling in the air that night. There was this electricity and excitement that comic con and other conventions I’ve been to haven’t even came close to. There were people bonding and laughing that didn’t even know each other, but because of this game were exchanging gamertags and online names to play later that night.
As time moves on, these midnight releases have gotten smaller, but recently the Watch_Dogs and NBA 2K15 midnight releases are two that I have really enjoyed being at. The excitement was there and conversing with the people waiting about the game was a blast.
I know that eventually midnight releases will be a thing of the past, and that really bums me out, but I look back on the great memories they have brought me int he past and wish that future generations of the gaming community could experience moments like that too.