Ultimate video game

  • KARL SCHWEIZER / Herald Writer
  • Thursday, October 26, 2000 9:00pm
  • Local News

Lines form and mouths foam as PlayStation2 debuts in the U.S.

By KARL SCHWEIZER

Herald Writer

EVERETT — If you don’t already have a Sony PlayStation2, you’re too late, at least for now.

Shoppers camped overnight at area department stores in order to be first to pay $300 for the latest invention in video-game consoles, which are in short supply. They snatched up the state-of-the-art video-game machines within minutes after stores opened Thursday.

It was that way all across the country as hard-core video-game players rushed to get the machine, which has been available in Japan for months.

Target employee Tyler Kemp camped out with several dozen other shoppers at an Everett Target store Wednesday night, waiting for Thursday’s 8 a.m. opening. Most were bundled up against the cold. Some sat in lawn chairs.

"I’m a freak about things like this. I’m the kind of guy who waits for World Series tickets a week before they go on sale," Kemp said. "I’m devoted to what I like."

Although Kemp works at the Lynnwood store, he said he had heard that only the Everett store would let people stay overnight, so he went there rather than try to buy a machine where he worked. A national shortage of Sony consoles convinced him that his only chance to get one would be to wait in line with everyone else.

"About 6 months ago, we started getting e-mails saying Sony was shipping 1 million units to the U.S. Then it became 800,000. Then it was 500,000. That’s when we started hearing about the sales rules: only one per customer," Kemp said.

A parts shortage has kept the units in short supply. While the company promised it would be on target to deliver a total of 1.3 million units in North America by Christmas, many consumers will not be able to buy one until at least next spring.

Marysville resident Stuart George was determined to be among the lucky few. He led the line at Target, hoping to be the first to buy one of the store’s 39 consoles. George made up tickets to assign to others in the line to discourage people from cutting in.

George, 21, said he took two days off work so he could enjoy the machine. He had no regrets as he played it Thursday.

"Everything was as I expected," he said. "It rocks!"

Other shoppers at area stores told similar stories. University of Washington engineering student Andre Evans skipped class Thursday so he could sleep in after spending all night on the curb outside Sears at the Everett Mall.

Aaron Smith of Lake Stevens waited behind him.

"I really didn’t want to wait two or three months to get my hands on one. That’s what happened to me with Nintendo 64," Smith said.

They were two of only nine people who were able to buy the systems at Sears. Another dozen or so hopefuls were turned away, said store employee Ron Howell.

"We had quite a few people out there and only nine PlayStation2s. So we handed out tickets and let nine people in. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it was going to be," Howell said. "They all had numbers."

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