TORONTO – Anxious video-gamers began lining up early Monday evening for the midnight launch of Grand Theft Auto 5.
To celebrate the latest release of the billion-dollar video game franchise, a launch party was held outside the Best Buy store on Bay and Dundas Streets in downtown Toronto.
By shortly after 10 p.m. about 40 gamers, mostly 20-something males, were waiting in the roped-off area in front of the store.
And the crowd continued to grow until the 12:01 a.m. release of the much-anticipated video game.
First in the line was 26-year-old software developer Aubrey Cottle who said he also lined up hours for the last Grand Theft Auto release in 2008.
“This is very much a regular occurrence for me and it doesn’t get any less exciting. My wife encouraged me to come do this actually,” laughed Cottle, who often camps out for game releases or new video game systems.
“I once had a tent right over there,” he said pointing to the sidewalk in front of the store.
Cottle plans to take Tuesday off work to play with his new toy.
University of Toronto student, Vishnu Habi went to the midnight launch in Singapore in 2008.
“I’ve been playing since I was 11 or so and to be honest what attracted me as a kid was the mindless violence. Just like all little boys I loved it,” he said.
“Today I wanted to line up again in my new home in Canada. I wanted to be a part of the experience.”
The lone female gamer in line, Ashleigh Alexander, 23, credits the game’s open-world freedom for its tremendous popularity. “It’s fun to just play a bad guy, because in real life you’re a good guy. So I like letting some steam out at the end of the day and just robbing people,” she said laughing.
Another gamer, Drew Beaulieu, said he just moved to Toronto and came to the launch party to see what all the fuss was about.
“Why not spend a few hours taking in some city time and getting the game?” he said.
“It’s one of those games you really just have to play.”
Best Buy employees said the Dundas store sold over 200 copies of the game during its pre-sale.