It is fall, that magical time of year when game publishers open the floodgates and inundate the waiting masses with the nutrient-rich sludge we call “the release season.” As the weather turns nippy, gamers leave their flickering dens of iniquity and horror to shamble mindlessly along the streets to such havens of the corrupt and vile as Gamestop and Best Buy to pick up copies of their favorite games. Midnight releases remain popular, where idiots will spend hours in the cold, shuffling along behind some prodigiously fat man who has not bathed since LCD TVs became standard, barely holding on to their sanity as a gaggle of teenage nerd girls babble endlessly behind him about the Lightning/Cloud slashfiction they have just written and posted to their FaceBook page.
Why, an enterprising reader and student of humanity will ask, do we do this to ourselves? In the grand scheme, a midnight release represents six to eight hours of play time wherein the gamer will have (presumably) more time to enjoy the game. However, as any adept of the midnight launch is aware, those six hours will be spent with installation, zero-day patching, and frantically attempting to activate online components of gameplay.
The only valid reason this writer can imagine for attending a midnight release is to preserve an actual copy of the game. I have bought precisely two games as midnight releases within the past five years: World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King (though I did not even bother installing it until the following day) and Fable II, because I was bored and the local Gamestop was walking distance from my apartment.
Still, it is apparent that whatever my prophetic warnings of the dire conditions of such events, many of my readers will venture out heedless of the danger. Where I cannot prevent such folly, I shall at least endeavor to minimize one’s peril at such events. Given that, I humbly present Messer. Haygood’s Guide to Gamer Etiquette, Chapter 7: Midnight Releases.
Hot water, surfactants, and light scents are, contrary to popular gamer belief, not potent corrosives that will erode one’s skin and expose the bone beneath. In all of my many travels, I have ever only met one necromancer that used an enchanted shower as a way of obtaining cheap and easy bones for his rituals, so the danger of this happening is (statistically, at least, rather low; I make no promises what will happen at youth hostels in France). The regular employment of such substances in a daily, perhaps even twice daily, ritual of ablution is not only kind to other humans that one may involuntarily come into contact with, but also preserves one’s own peace of mind.
Proper bathing technique is easy. First, you must prepare the ritual bathing chamber (sometimes called a “shower” or “bathtub”) by making sure its surfaces are clean. A gentle, bleach-based cleaner swabbed over those surfaces weekly should remove any lingering impurities. Then, you must adequately stock the chamber. At a minimum, some form of face wash, shampoo, and soap are necessary as raw materials for the ritual. A clean, dry cloth, known as a “wash cloth,” is recommended over more arcane methods such as sponges or the “loofah.”
Face wash is, naturally, applied to the face to remove dirt and oil (let us not kid anyone about make-up). Shampoo is applied to the hair, quite vigorously, to remove build-up of dirt, oil and sweat. Soap should be applied liberally to the washcloth, and then used all over the remaining surface of the body, including any cracks, crevices, or folds therein. After soap is applied with the washcloth, it must be rinsed off using warm water. Once the body is rinsed and all foreign contaminants (including Cheeto dust) are removed, exit the ritual chamber and use a large, dry cloth known as a “towel” to remove all vestiges of moisture from the body. Great evil can hide on skin left moist.
Doing this daily, and particularly, before attending a midnight launch, can substantially improve the experience for everyone involved. Failure to do so might result in my declaring such a person a biohazard and having that person sealed in translucent plastic.
DO NOT: Wear The Same Clothing
It makes little sense after a ritual ablution to clothe oneself again in the sackcloth and ashes normally preferred by gamers. Instead, many commercial establishments provide a “laundering” service for clothing. More modern gamers may even realize that these actions can be performed in-house through the use of specialized machinery, or in the “old-fashioned” way of using a sink or tub and taut piece of rope to achieve the same results.
Clothing should be washed on at least as regular a basis as the body and hair, for what ill befalls the body also befalls the clothes that cover it. Cheap and natural detergent can be had at any greengrocer’s, and not much more than this is needed to clean clothing, whatever method one chooses.
Although it is tempting to remove rats and other vermin from one’s path and simply pick up whatever clothing happens to be handy before venturing out to a midnight release, this is not advisable. Instead, there are many cheap and serviceable “chests of drawers” or “armoires,” perhaps even built-in “closets,” that will serve to hold freshly-cleaned clothing. This clothing can be organized by type, color, or any category of preference, and is easily accessible when fresh clothing, unsoiled by various activities, is required.
DO: Bring Something To Pass The Time Quietly
As gamers, we should always be prepared for lengthy waits in which we must pass the time quietly. Books, personal video players, portable gaming systems, and even laptop computers can provide hours of private entertainment that will prevent us from annoying our neighbors in line.
A good, serviceable pair of headphones is a must. Although one might think that his array of finely-produced digeridoo music is highly palatable, I assure my readers, it is not. Similarly, always sit or stand so that whatever one’s choice of entertainment is kept private. Nothing is more gauche than seeing the sweaty blob-kin in front of you reading furry porn comics, or worse, playing The Sims on an iphone.
DO NOT: Become Inebriated And Then Pick A Fight With Police
Police are better able to handle an intoxicated person than that person is able to handle themselves. While intoxicating liquors are fun and legal for those of age, those underage or those partaking of other intoxicants besides alcohol should do well to avoid public situations where others, particularly those with the ability to call the authorities, will be present. While the intoxicated person might find themselves amusing, rest assured that the rest of us labor under no such delusion. One can only hear, “Is this the real life? Or is this just fantasy?” while watching some burnout staring at the knuckles on the back of his hand for so long before the entire spectacle becomes blase.
If you should find yourself in such a situation, where the bobbies have arrived and are asking you to kindly step away from the Lara Croft cutout you were attempting to hit on, the proper response is to say, “yes (sir or ma’am)” and comply without hesitation. Doing so will likely result in a mutually beneficial ending where Ms. Croft is freed from your clumsy advances and you remain blissfully unaware of the horrors of a holding cell.
Should you fail to comply, consider the object lesson in the linked article. Cops are like sanctimonious video game columnists that do not like the words “bitch” or “fag” being used as pejoratives, particularly pejoratives directed at their persons. The proper response from a police officer in this situation is referred to in Texas an “ass-whuppin’,” which, in an uncharacteristic act of mercy, the above-referenced police officer did not liberally apply to the intoxicated Halo-Bro.
The lesson we should all take from this is that Halo and Xbox Live users are all uncouth, bigoted savages that can neither hold their liquor nor put up a decent fight to the cops. Under no circumstances should men and women of decent breeding interact with these people, preferring to leave them to their sad, pitiful existence of lamely whispering, “Boom, headshot!” into the microphone when they achieve yet another meaningless team deathmatch kill.
Following these simple rules will help make everyone’s midnight release experience better. Remember: be clean, live clean, act clean, do not smell, scrupously respect your own privacy, and above all, do not fuck with the police, because they are under no obligation not to body-slam your drunk ass into the pavement if you charge at them.