See our massive photo feature
, including video of the opening.
At 5PM Pacific Standard Time on November 20, in the year of some people's lord 2005, Microsoft opened the gates to its much advertised and not so secret secret launch party, ZERO HOUR. A teeming four-figured mass of bodies slowly moved through the high security gates and into a big empty lot between two enormous aircraft hangars. Then they waited for two more hours. Thankfully for them, itís not so terribly cold in southern California, and the good people at Microsoft were kind enough to hand out free publicity in the form of sweatshirts. Along with their cosy new garb, the lucky attendees of this 'exclusive' event also received a free Xbox 360 Memory Unit. Not the free Xbox they may have been hoping for, but a $50 piece of swag nonetheless. For those attendees not content to throw around bean bag chairs while listening to painfully trendy dance/tribal music, Microsoft had set up an Xbox Live account migration tent. Those willing to hang in yet another painfully long line were able to have their existing Xbox live account moved along to the next generation and stored on their shiny new MUs. And for the few outcasts without Live accounts, MS was actually giving away free three month trial subscriptions.
Finally, a good two and a half hours after sunset, and following a brief introduction by the ever sweatshirt-clad J Allard and ex-VP of Sega, Peter Moore, the doors opened, accompanied by a soundtrack that sounded like it was lifted straight from 2010. The hangar doors slowly slid open as floodlights beamed out. First, a 30-foot banner of a 360 and the tagline 'Jump In' came into view. As the doors spread wider, a hangar about the size of a football field was exposed. Immediately upon entering, a recreation of the tree featured at origen360.com
is visible, complete with fluffy bunnies. Sadly, these bunnies have no amusing banter. Or food.
Most of the floor area is littered with a variety of 360 set-ups running every launch title and some demos of soon-to-be-released games like DOA4 and Ninety Nine Nights. The biggest crowds could immediately be found in the two VIP sections (press and origen/hex168 only) in opposing corners, which contained four screen multi-player set ups for PGR3 and PDZ, supporting 8 and 16 multi-player modes respectively. Attendees playing these - and all other full retail games - could insert their recently Live-i-fied memory units into the 360s in order to get a jumpstart on gaining points for their gamer cards.
Throughout this 31 hour X-travanganza, there will be multiple forms of entertainment to keep the full attention of those lucky enough to be here. A live performance from Kaiju Big Battle, a Quake 4 tournament (with the winner receiving a free 360) and even an 'exclusive Burlesque' show in the VIP section. Thus far, the Microsoft mega event has been hitch-free, unless of course you count Cliffy B complaining about the guys in the AV booth. That and the fact that J Allard got a split lip during a bean bag chair fight, but all in all, it's been a success so far. As J pointed out to us just minutes ago, ďIts all just supposed to be for fun, itís like the world biggest living room.Ē If that was the intention, then indeed, itís a resounding success.
Stay tuned to SPOnG as we keep you up to date with any and all interesting happenings at ZERO HOUR. And if you have any questions, we will be here through launch time, so post away, people.