“Halo 3,” the third in a series of wildly popular video games, is the entertainment story of the week all around the world. Its sales are expected to be above $125 million in its first 24 hours.
If you notice a co-worker or student yawning today, and said yawner is a male in his teens or early 20s, don’t assume he was out carousing last night.
There’s a good chance he picked up “Halo 3,” the Xbox game that went on sale at midnight, and spent the early morning hours in 2552, trying to save humanity from the murderous alien force called the Covenant.
“Halo 3,” the third in a series of wildly popular video games, is the entertainment story of the week all around the world. With sales above $125 million expected before midnight tonight, it’s a business story, too.
None of that matters to Frank Pobjecky of Rockford, who reserved a copy of “3” six months ago and planned to pick it up at midnight.
The four-year veteran of the U.S. Army got into “Halo 2” during a long stint in Germany.
Now he’s at Rock Valley College, with his first class at noon. So guess what he planned to do for most of the night?
“I’m fine with five hours of sleep. That’s something I learned in the military,” the 25-year-old said.
“When ‘Halo 2’ came out, I played for a week-and-a-half straight every day after work. I probably spent at least 200 hours on that game. My buddy and I would get together every Friday night and do split-screen battle.”
Pobjecky says part of his fascination with “Halo” is its use of military tactics, although the weapons go way beyond what’s been invented in 2007. He also likes the excellent graphics, the ease of use of the weapons and the fun of hiding and surprising the enemy.
“You get an adrenaline rush,” Pobjecky said.
Microsoft, manufacturer of the Xbox and “Halo,” is expecting its own adrenaline rush, too, as the retail sales pour in — for electronics retailers, it’s the equivalent of a new Harry Potter book.
Game Stop in Rockford planned to open just before midnight to sell the games at $60 a pop for the regular version to anyone who showed up.
Circuit City was to close at its usual 9 p.m. time but expects to sell lots of copies today.
“It’s going to be crazy,” store director Aaron Reeves said. “We’ve had people coming in and buying big-screen TVs just to play ‘Halo 3.’”
Reeves, who expects to take a game home for himself, is eager to play. The graphics, he said, will be “insanely improved” from “2.”
Josh Tillotson, 24, of Rockford used to win “Halo 2” tournaments and play the game weekends with friends until “we had to go to sleep because we were so tired.” These days, he spends less time with video games and more time outdoors mountain biking and kayaking.
But he planned to pick up “Halo 3” early this morning and, since his shift at Woodward Governor doesn’t start until 3 p.m., get well-acquainted with the new game.
One of the attractions is that you can play against strangers online, and that gets “extremely competitive,” Tillotson said.
He believes he can finish the straight game in a day, but going online and switching characters will make for hours more of entertainment.
“People who have played the game, they understand why we like it,” he said. “It’s real easy to lose track of time. This can get real addictive.”
Staff writer Geri Nikolai can be reached at 815-987-1337 or email@example.com.