Hundreds camp out to await release of Playstation II

Melinda Rogers

After a sleepless night standing outside in the rain, Heidi Borman and BriAnn Henderson knew their day could only improve.
The University sophomores were just two of hundreds of people around the Twin Cities who decided to camp out at area stores Wednesday night awaiting the arrival of Sony Computer Entertainment’s latest innovation — Playstation II.
At 7 a.m. the long wait paid off for Borman and Henderson. Each was handed a number and told that they were included in the lucky group of forty-five people who would be taking home a Playstation II.
“We got here at about 10:30 last night,” Henderson said. “Everyone who got a number this morning was here by 2 a.m.”
Henderson and Borman waited with more than 50 people at a Minneapolis Target in anticipation of the Thursday morning release of the video game machine.
Playstation II, a new version of the popular Playstation, has several new features that Carlson School of Management senior Christian Zepeda said make it a hot commodity for computer and video game lovers.
“Playstation II is supposed to have superior technology,” Zepeda said.
“Plus, you can play your old Playstation games (on the new machine). Controllers and memory cards are compatible between Sonys — that’s a big issue,” he added.
At 8 a.m., Target officials finally opened the store to the waiting crowd, which was chanting “Zelda!!” in excitement. Zelda is one of the new games released along with Playstation II.
“We’ve had calls for the last two to three weeks from people wondering how many quantities we are getting in and if people can camp out overnight,” said Target manager David Parkin. “When we handed the numbers out, the crowd was very well behaved … they knew quantities were limited.”
Parkin said Target will continue to receive more Playstation II shipments as the holiday season draws near.
The thought of selling Playstation II to desperate holiday shoppers was on the minds of a few University students Thursday morning.
“Think of how much money people will be willing to pay (for Playstation II) by Christmas,” Zepeda said.
But monetary gains weren’t the goal of computer engineering senior Nick Valentine.
“It’s about more than just the money though,” he argued. “I want it because it has a DVD player and it plays all the old and new games. I’m not selling mine,” he said.
Whatever the reason, University students hoping to be one of the first to own the new Playstation II weathered a long night to attain their prize on Thursday morning.
“(To do it again), it would have to be something I really, wanted and weather conditions would have to be a lot better,” said Henderson.
“It’s about the feeling of having a system that a lot of people want … we have it! It’s hot stuff,” concluded Zepeda.

Melinda Rogers covers science and technology and welcomes comments at [email protected]