PALMDALE, Calif.–Since Microsoft’s Zero Hour launch event for the new Xbox 360 is a non-stop, 32-hour shindig, it stands to reason that even the hardest of the hard-core gamers here might need a little sleep.
To be sure, some of the many motels and hotels in the Palmdale and nearby Lancaster areas were full up with Zero Hour attendees who needed the comfort of a real bed. But a whole lot of the 2,000 or more gamers who made their way to this desert town an hour outside Los Angeles couldn’t be bothered with leaving.
Which meant that in the middle of the night, the giant, 200,000-square-foot hangar where the event is being held was home to an untold number of gamers who just couldn’t keep their eyes open to shoot another bad guy or race their way around another sharp turn.
Melvin Harris was one of these committed gamers. A 32-year-old from L.A., Harris arrived at Zero Hour around 8 p.m. Sunday night and promptly began a marathon session of Xbox launch games like “Call of Duty 2,” “Project Gotham Racing 3,” “Need for Speed: Most Wanted” and “Kameo.”
“I slept around three hours,” Harris said. “I slept from about 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. on some of the bigger beanbags…I slept fine. I woke up at 7, and went and brushed my teeth and went out and got something to eat.”
Harris wasn’t alone. He said that all around the hangar, gamers were crashed out on the beanbags, particularly in the bleachers Microsoft had set up near the main stage area. (This reporter shamefully admits he had to partake of an actual motel bed).
By Monday mid-afternoon, most everyone was up and back at their gaming. But here and there, a gamer could be found about as passed out as possible. In many cases it looked as though they had simply fallen asleep while playing a game, as they were laying on their beanbags, still in front of the consoles where they had last been playing.