Console Launch Line Survival Guide


Hot Pockets: Cannibalism Deterrent

There’s something special about camping out for a launch, whether it be for a new game, console…or a new line of baby diapers that allegedly soak up 3 pints of water (I wish). The point is that people are willing to wait for hours on end, as long as at the end of that wait, they’re able to get their mitts on what they want.

When it comes to console launches, the line can be a dangerous place. Sweaty teenagers, over-eager enthusiasts spouting inane pre-release product knowledge, the food moocher checking around for another hit of granola bars…it’s wild, man.

So you can’t just walk into a waiting line all willy-nilly, without some handy tip’n’tricks to prepare yourself for the awkward, smelly, and uncomfortable situations you’ll find yourself in. I’ve been there, I’ve done that. I’m the bonafide Bear Grylls of the launch line, my friend, and I’ve drank the lemonade to prove it

Without further ado, let me present to you my Launch Line Survival Guide.

1. The Folding Chair


The first thing you have to do is grab yourself a nice, comfortable folding chair. You don’t want to stand the entire time, or sit on dirty or possibly wet pavement. This chair also helps others know that “Hey, I’ve been waiting in line sure, but am I uncomfortable? No! I’m living it large in a canvas folding chair that digs into my back! But hey, it beats standing and getting leg cramps.” At this point you slurp on the end of your drink and maintain eye contact until they are sufficiently creeped out, and leave you to your sitting glory. Being in line with multiple people also helps, and if one of you needs to vacate the chair in order to relieve yourself, they can point out to others that a bum used to be comfortably adorning said sitting device, and that he would be back momentarily. Works every time.

watercat12. Water

What’s Bruce Lee’s favorite thing to drink? WATAAA!!

(…sorry about that)

Water is essential to one’s existence…in the lineup. Becoming dehydrated could cost you significant consciousness, and much more importantly, your spot in line. Water is pretty self-explanatory, but none the less crucial. Especially if you loaded up on water guns and ran out of fuel for the people trying to cut in line.

caffeine13. Caffeine

Shotgunning caffeine. In those last few hours before the store opens, you are going to be at your most vulnerable at the time you’ll need to have the most wits about you. This is where mass amounts of energy need to be injected into your system via caffeine intravenously, or through more traditional ingestion methods (Note: I am not actually telling you to hook up an intravenous drip, which would probably give you an infection, or worse, an embolism that will likely kill you…and most importantly cost you your spot in line – though the paramedics might be a good distraction…hmmm). Nevertheless, staying conscious is your key to getting your hands on that hardware first. I mean, that’s why we’re here right?

4. Optional: Canvas + Projector


A cool thing that my friends did when they were in a two-day lineup, was to get a large canvas that they could set up. Grab a projector and a game system, as well as an extension cord or three (make sure that the cord is at least 500 feet long to go around the block to an adequate electrical socket), and you could have yourself a nice game of Slayer to distract yourselves while time flies by. Be careful though, as M rated games won’t be good for the other kids who are in line pretending to be older than they really are, or cause a shimmer of joy beneath the skins of 40-somethings pretending to stand in line for their “kids”.

5. Dress Appropriately


Whether you are cosplaying in line (because everyone wants to see your muffins hanging out from that obviously kick-ass, form-fitting Batman Arkham Origins costume), or you’re just going as plain old you because you’re awesome (or desperate), you should bring attire that fits the weather. In Canada right now for instance, the southernmost part of the country is already experiencing temperatures below zero Celsius. Bring sweaters, umbrellas, or even heat packs that you can shove down your pants (these work well with Hot Pockets. Don’t ask. You’ll find out later). You don’t want to freeze or over heat. Be smart, think ahead.

Conversely, the added benefit of not dressing appropriately is that once you do have your console of choice in hand, no one will be able to wrench it from your frozen kung-fu grip of your cold, dead hands. Have your next-of-kin sitting nearby to drag your body into the car, in this case.

sneakers16. Comfortable Footwear

It’s enough to be said that you will be walking, standing or leaning a lot (unless you listened to tip number 1), so comfortable footwear is a must. The main reason this is in the survival guide though, is because of certain infamous internet videos. The ones where someone buys a new console and smashes it in front of the line up with a sledge hammer. IF THIS HAPPENS TO YOU, you now have comfy new hi-tops in which to swoop in like Michael Jordan, avoid the sledgehammer like a ninja, and make off with a shiny new something or another. Be quick and shame them! Hey, they were going to smash it anyways, right?

pen-and-paper7.Pen, Paper…and Friends(!)

You will meet countless enthusiasts like yourself at athe line up. These could be potential coop team members or the profanity-laced enemies you face in Call of Duty. Either way, you should take down their information on paper, or use a trusty app. Oh look at that, now you actually have their information written down, instead of promising to add them and forgetting what their odd screen name was!

Why go through this trouble? Anyone already in line probably doesn’t have friends of the physical kind, if at all, so this is a perfect opportunity to get your anti-social self out there and make some!

Receipts8. Obvious: Receipts

If you pre-order and don’t have an electronically-logged membership, you will not be able to pick up your game or console if you forget your receipt. DO NOT FORGET THIS SMALL PIECE OF PAPER. Your wait in line will have been futile and you will have to acquire the tech another time…and wasn’t standing in line for the new console/game the whole point? Again: DON’T FORGET THE  RECEIPT!

Another option is if you have forgotten the receipt, grab the nearest Dunkin Donuts napkin, write down the math, and pass it off as a receipt. The proper way to execute this is always look up to the left and right, and make sure to whistle all the while as if you can’t hear the clerk say back to you “what is…I don’t even…SECURITY!!!”

9. Extra Cash


Extra cash is always nice. Things such as extra merchandise, another game that’s for sale, or even an upgrade to your pre-order can be made possible with the sight of a few extra Benjamins. Extra cash comes in handy with the alcohol-infused after-parties, cab fare home, and even paying for snacks and water if you run out.

So please make sure to bring some extra cash. Very important. And if you’re afraid of pickpockets, refer to Tip#6 and get chummy with the sledgehammer freak to help you out while you chase down the almost-certain-to-be-crushed-in-5-minutes thief.

warranty110. Finally: Grab a Warranty

You’ve gotten past the launch lineup, grabbed your console or game, and are asked a series of questions as to whether or not you want to buy extra stuff, sign up for memberships, or bend over and spill extra cash (usually, we’d like to be taken to a dinner and movie first, before we get f&*$’ed, but I digress).

Here’s a tip, if you just picked up a console, get the bloody warranty. I’ve had too many occasions where I’ve grabbed a game or console, hadn’t gotten the warranty, and had my Xbox or PC chew the game up, spit it out, and flip me the bird. Or the console went tits up on its own.

If this happens and you already have a warranty, you’re okay. Just return and get a new copy/console. If you didn’t buy a warranty, I hope you didn’t spend all your extra cash because you’re going to have to stand in another longer line dealing with customer service and/or dishing out money for repairs or worse (which might mean waiting in other, even longer lines…unless, y’know, waiting in lines is your thing).

hotpockets1Optional Items to Bring:

Snuggie – you can’t go wrong with this one.

Raggedy Clothing – if you can’t bag a console, at least you made 35 cents in alms and 3 Mountain Dew contest-code bottlecaps.

Sob Story – always have one. Anything to make the girl/guy ahead of you burst into tears and leave the line out of sheer heartbreak is the best way to jump ahead a spot. My “dog dying by self-sexual-asphyxiation” story usually works well.

Sledgehammer – be that guy and watch the line part like the Red Sea.

Hot Pockets – you don’t need a damn microwave. Place that sucker at the core of your body (your crotch) for 5 minutes, and have a nice warm, stanky, lava-free meal. If you have extra Hot Pockets, heat as directed above and pass them around to the other members of the line who didn’t bring anything to eat. And please do so before you see signs of cannibalism occurring at the non-lighted parts of the line. Be the hero.

In Conclusion:

Be smart, take care of yourself. Have fun, and be safe. It’s a new release and yes it’s definitely an exciting time to be a gamer, but don’t get overly carried away (by the Police. It’ll happen. A lot.).

And more importantly; don’t pick fights unless they can be settled online with a good amount of profanities and things about your mutual mothers.

Don’t cut the line, and remember, your life is the most important thing you have, before you get that shiny new console, that is. Priorities change dynamically.

And the Sledgehammer Guy: he’s always there. You can find him pretty easily as he’s the one with the crazy eyes and the ear-to-ear smile, nodding his head furiously at an invisible friend.