Howard, in a very somber, respectful and apologetic tone, told me there wouldn't be a midnight launch at the store. He explained, "It's a problem with the license. You have to have a special permit between midnight and six in the morning." Thanks, town of Dedham! Obviously, the store didn't get the permit and Howard said he'd be standing outside until about 2AM giving customers the bad news.
The bright side of this failure to launch in Dedham is that the store will open at 6AM tomorrow (today) and anyone that showed up for the midnight launch will get 10% off the game (they gave out slips as proof).
At this point it was 11:25, with still plenty of time to make it from Dedham to Cambridge for the only other midnight launch in Mass. All I could do was hope that the Cambridge store didn't have a licensing problem as well.
A to B is Dedham to Cambridge ... this is definitely not the route I drove
After driving through the pouring rain along the Jamaicaway (a windy road that isn't fun -- especially not in snow, rain or with drunks on the road), hopping across the Charles and going down the wrong way of a one way street to park (quite illegally) in the Petco across from the Best Buy at the Cambridge Side Galleria, it was quite obvious this place was having a midnight launch. The line had hundreds of people in it and stretched down the street.
GameStop Prudential line (Photo cred. Brendan)
I got in line. The guy in front of me received an image from one of his friends waiting in line at the Gamestop at the Prudential mall (above). Turns out the line was just as long there and consisted purely of pre-order folks -- and those people would probably be waiting a while because (if previous coverage holds true) there are only two registers.
The Best Buy Cambridge line was quick and efficient. Of course, some jerk in a car drove by screaming, "It's sold out." Luckily, not the case. I passed the time by talking to the guy in line behind me, Oliver, and it turned out he was another exile from the Dedham store (he even had a pre-order there). We finally hit the main door around 12:24AM. Upon entering, they had salsa music playing and a big table where you picked up your copy of the game, paid and got out. A five minute painless experience and I was back home by 1AM ...
And poor Howard, the Dedham Best Buy manager, was probably still outside turning people away.