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Grand Line Auto: Waiting for GTA IV (Baltimore suburbs edition)

Kyle Orland

Believe it or not, the police car in that photo actually belongs to an off-duty Anne Arundel County police officer looking to pick up a copy of the anticipated crime simulator for himself. But that doesn't mean there wasn't active law enforcement involved with the Grand Theft Auto 4 launch festivities at this Laurel, MD Gamestop. Keep reading for more pictures and a full account of the line-waiting experience as GTA4-eve finally bled into GTA4-day.

By 11:45, there were 50 people waiting in the 55 degree weather of the strip mall parking lot to get their copy of the game as soon as possible. By midnight, the crowd had swelled to about 70, and late stragglers brought the total pick up count closer to 100. Store management opened the doors at around 11:30 to start processing payments and get receipts cleared so the handouts would go smoothly at the stroke of midnight. Still, the line wasn't fully cleared until about 12:30.

Federal officer Kevin McMurtry was on hand to make sure the line behaved in an orderly fashion. Store management called him in at around 9 p.m., he said, to keep an eye on things and prevent confusion over the the two-line system the store had set up (one to get your receipt marked, one to wait to pick up the game). McMurtry said that the crowd was nothing compared to the Halo 3 launch, which reached around the block, and that everyone was on their best behavior. "Everybody knows if you make trouble, you're not getting the game," he said.

Ryan Wilhite, Charley Kingsley and Jon Gomez (right to left) were the first ones to line up for the game at 4 p.m. Monday. Simon Rojas (far left) and Julian Richardson (not pictured) joined the line around 8 p.m. Asked why they got there so early, Kingsley gestured towards the line and said they "thought it would be like this, then." The group agreed that the multiplayer mode was the main draw for No. 4, but granted that they'd be blasting through the single-player mode all night tonight. "We might not be going to school tomorrow," Gomez offered. Might? "Maybe it's definite," Wilhite added.

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