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Our launch coverage began on the eve of November 18th as GameCubicle.com took to the road for midnight GameCube launch festivities. Destination... Babbage's in Natick, MA. Located in the Natick Mall, this Babbage's held more GameCube pre-orders than any other store in North America. Midnight launch sales were taking place all across the nation this night - coincidently during the most spectacular meteor shower in recent history.

With over eight hundred consoles and thousands of games reserved, the midnight launch party was a spectacular sight to see. Hundreds of Nintendo fans showed up many hours in advance of launch, eagerly awaiting the moment at which they would hold their very own GameCube.

After entering the mall, I realized this was the night I had anticipated for years. As I walked down the quiet corridors towards Babbage's, all too appropriate holiday music could be heard quietly playing from above. The music slowly became drowned out as I neared the store and a mob of gamers participating in a pre-launch contest that was drawing to an end.

Inside the store, final preparations were being made. Large brown boxes containing GameCubes were being cut open, piles of games were being shifted around, and employees were experiencing their last moment of relaxation before the start of what would be a very long night.

Finally, 12:01 AM. The doors were opened and the first gamers in line were allowed in. Each customer passed their sales receipt to a clerk at a table near the store entrance who verified the preorder and sent the customer on what was surely a memorable walk to the back of the store to have their order filled. From piles of boxed GameCubes, games, and accessories stacked to the ceiling, orders were filled and satisfied customers were turned towards the checkout registers with GameCubes in their hands. The tedious process would last many hours past midnight. All the while hundreds of customers, mostly aged from 12 to 20, were waiting patiently outside. Among those on line were a couple of parents with young children, fathers waiting alone, a few grandparents, and even one dedicated gamer with a broken leg. 

More fortunate than those still waiting in line outside store, Glen Scrima was one of the first out of Babbage's with a GameCube of his own. Glen, 20, placed his pre-order with Babbages nearly a year ago and having finally gotten his hands on one he couldn't wait to go home and play it. Asked if he objected to GameCube's label as a 'kiddy' console, Glen commented, "I think a lot of games just span many ages. Many people say 'I'll never play Mario because it looks like a little kids game' but it's really still fun for adults. It's all a matter of opinion." If he could change one thing about the system, like many of the customers we interviewed, he would have liked DVD play capabilities. As for what he most wanted out of the GameCube, Glen replied, "something that brings gaming to the next level... not just graphics wise but something new." GameCube should deliver just that.

Another satisfied customer and long time loyal Nintendo fan, Neil Boland, 18, had been waiting for GameCube since last December. Neil commented, "growing up with Nintendo, I just love all the games they come out with," as his main reason for selecting the GameCube. Neil's looking forward to playing Tony Hawk 3 as well as a number of the system's sports titles. In the long-term Neil firmly believes the GameCube will lead this console generation.

Back in the store, Phil Crawford, 18, was holding his own jet black GameCube waiting to check out when he talked with us. He most wants "quality games" from the system and is particularly looking forward to Resident Evil. Next to Phil, Shawn Keeler, 16, chose the GameCube because he liked the games and the feel of the controller. Shawn was also very impressed with the size and low cost of the system and was looking forward to Internet play. Questioned why he didn't opt for the Xbox, Shawn replied, "Bill Gates doesn't need the money. [laughs].

At the end of the night, many tired but satisfied gamers headed home to enjoy their brand new GameCube consoles for the first time. It had been a long night for many but most would agree, well worth it. GameCube has launched.


GameCubicle.com is an independent site and is in no way associated with Nintendo Co. Ltd. or NOA
Nintendo's official GameCube site can be found at http://www.nintendo.com

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