SOME drove an hour to make the midnight release of blockbuster video game Grand Theft Auto V and some even took days off work to make the most of it.
An estimated 400 people attended EB Games Warrnambool's midnight launch yesterday morning, each leaving as proud new owners of the game, which has received universal acclaim and is already on its way to being the biggest selling game ever.
EB Games store manager Paul Hayward said about 270 of the more than 700 pre-ordered copies of GTA V were picked up at midnight, creating two lengthy queues — one for Playstation 3 owners and one for XBox 360 gamers.
“We had people coming in and pre-ordering this game two-and-a-half years ago,” Mr Hayward said, adding it was the most pre-orders and biggest first night sales the store had seen in its six-and-a-half years.
21-year-old Bray Wright drove from Woorndoo especially for the midnight launch.
“I come here for every single midnight launch, but this is the biggest,” Mr Wright said.
“I have to be up at 5.30am so I won’t get a chance to play it until tomorrow night, but I’ll be thinking about it all day.”
Like many of the gamers The Standard spoke to, Mr Wright has been playing games for as long as he can remember. His first console was the Sega Megadrive.
“I play about two or three hours a night. It’s relaxing ... and it’s good to hang with a few mates and do a bit of co-op (co-operative playing),” he said.
Tim Brown, 35, also travelled almost an hour to line-up at EB Games Warrnambool, arriving from Tandarook near Camperdown around 11pm.
“I’m buying one for my son ... and for myself,” Mr Brown said.
He said he had no problem letting his 14-year-old son play the R-rated game, saying his son was smart enough to differentiate between the fantasy of the game and the morality of the real world.
While most of the gamers at the launch were male and aged in their 20s and 30s, there were a few young women among the throng who were just as excited about a new GTA game as their male counterparts.
Kaylee Jones, 21, of Warrnambool waited in the Playstation line while her boyfriend stood in the XBox line.
“I love my gaming — my boyfriend and I are massive gamers,” she said.
“It’s cool that my boyfriend is into the same sort of stuff — we’re perfect for each other.
“Most of my friends are into partying and clubbing and they say I’m such a nerd.”
A gamer since the age of five, when the Super Nintendo introduced her to Mario, Ms Jones said she works split shifts in the hospitality industry, which made it hard to get out.
“You don’t get much time to socialise,” she said.
The Grand Theft Auto franchise is considered a "tent-pole" of the video game industry, holding up and balancing out the financial performances of games made on the PS3 and XBox consoles.