Hundreds head for Halo 2

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    By Megan Stoker

    In a frenzy to rival that of Harry Potter fans, video gamers poured into local stores by the hundreds last week at the premier of Xbox game Halo 2, leading to a record $125 million in national sales on the first day of the game”s release.

    “It was absolutely crazy, there wasn”t a time throughout that night and the next day that we didn”t have a line through the whole store,” said Jen Wilson, manager at the Game Stop in the University Mall, who opened the store Tuesday at midnight for the antipated Halo 2”s premier. “We had hundreds of people waiting outside and tons of activities inside. There was a line all the way out of the store and even after the original people left new ones kept coming.”

    The $125 million premier profit generated by the game is one of the highest opening profits in the game industry. Some analysts suggest that Halo 2”s continual sales may dwarf even Hollywood box-office hits, such as Titanic.

    Along with national record sales of over 2 million units in 24 hours, local stores also reported record Halo 2 sales. Game Stop sold over 600 units of the game in the opening night alone.

    Employers are seeing the effects of the popularity of Halo.

    “Throughout the [previous] week I”ve had numerous amounts of people coming in and saying that they”ve gotten the day off work to play, or kids saying that their mom”s going to let them take the next day off of school to play,” said Noel Redford, a shift leader at Game Stop in the University Mall. “It”s a very anticipated game, arguably the most anticipated game yet.”

    Halo fans are also seeing this effect.

    “There are four guys that I work with that haven”t been to work in two days because of the game,” said University of Utah student Kenton Mcdaniels. “They”re not even taking paid time off, they”re just not coming in.”

    Not all Halo fans are impressed with the new game, however. Some, including Mcdaniels, feel that the new version is not all that it was hyped up to be.

    “The game”s fun but it”s not the best game ever,” Mcdaniels said. “It just didn”t live up to the hype. The hype was that it was going to be the best game ever and it just isn”t. The story”s way too weak for the best game ever.”

    However, fans are excited about the multiplayer features of Halo 2. With the first Halo, players had to be in the same house or use tunneling software like XBconnect, which was an unofficial way to play online. The multiplayer could only be seen on a split screen. But with Halo 2, up to 16 players can play online simultaneously with individual screens through Xbox Live, Microsoft”s official gaming service.

    “I don”t think the graphics are any better but it”s still an improvement over the first Halo,” added Adam Bennett, a senior from Lake Shore, Wash., majoring in sociology. “The fact that you can play it on the internet with other people is awesome.”

    Another aspect of the game that has driven sales is a new soundtrack featuring popular artists such as Incubus, Breaking Benjamin and Hoobastank. Such big-named bands have made the Halo 2 soundtrack one of the most anticipated video game soundtracks in the history of the industry, according to a Microsoft pres release.

    Some Halo fans who have purchased the soundtrack, however, say that music from the original composer is better than the music from the big-named bands.

    “I”ve already bought the soundtrack,” Bennett said. “They got some big artists to write some of the songs for it but I don”t really like those. What I really like is the new songs from the actual Halo artist who wrote the songs for the other soundtrack.”

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