Where the Hell Were YOU? - Hell Week Edition

Posted by Marino (5569 posts) -

Guess what?  It's the week before Thanksgiving here in America.  In the world of video games, that means it's publishers' last chance to get games out before the all-important Black Friday next week.  This year we've got Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, Sonic Colors, Harry Potter, NBA Jam, and... Shawn Johnson Gymnastics?  Who would you guess would be the top editor on that page?  Anyway...


Featuring "The Duke"
The last couple years haven't been as crazy, but back when I worked retail (2000-2005), I not-so-affectionantely referred to this week as Hell Week.  Tuesday specifically was always a ridiculous day since that's when most of the games would come into the store.  They aren't all AAA titles, but for just about every game, several people had pre-orders on it, which meant a lot of work organizing everything.  Typically the UPS guy had to make several trips in an out of the store to bring in all the boxes.  But in the last ten years, there have been two Hell Weeks that have set the standard for ridiculous amounts of consumer spending.  I'm talking about 2001 and 2006.  Both of these years involved not only a slew of games coming out, but also two brand new consoles.

In 2001, just nine short years ago today, we had the debut of Microsoft in the console market with the Xbox, which featured the first-ever built-in hard drive for a console.  And just three days later, we had Nintendo's first disc-based system with the GameCube.  For me personally, this was the last time I did not purchase a new system at or around launch.  The PlayStation 2 was just getting into full swing with games like Metal Gear Solid 2, Jak & Daxter, Final Fantasy X, Devil May Cry, Frequency, Grand Theft Auto III, and ICO.  So, buying a new system at that point was a pretty tough sell for someone in college with a limited budget.  Truthfully though, I was hardcore into EverQuest at the time and didn't really care about anything else.  Shadows of Luclin was about to come out and that's all that mattered.

Purple was an definitely an interesting choice.
Like any new console launches, there weren't a ton of great games available for either system.  The big story with the GameCube was the lack of a proper Mario title, which left many people trying to figure out what they were supposed to be playing on their purple box.  The popular choices were Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II, Wave Race: Blue Storm, and Luigi's Mansion.  Super Monkey Ball created a decent following by word of mouth as well.  It was until a few weeks later with the release of Super Smash Bros. Melee that there was a truly must-have game for the GameCube.

As for the Xbox, the story was the aforementioned hard drive and a little game called Halo.  Often people forget that Xbox Live didn't exist until a full year after the launch of the Xbox.  Being the new kid on the block brought a good amount of curiosity from consumers, but many were also wary after seeing the Dreamcast's lifespan cut short in the wake of the juggernaut known as PS2.  Can you blame them though?  Sega couldn't survive, so how was a newcomer going to do it?  The short answer is simply Halo.  Aside from Halo, the Xbox had several other noteworthy launch titles including Dead or Alive 3, Jet Set Radio Future, Max Payne, and Project Gotham Racing.  Although, some would argue that the best racing game out of the bunch was RalliSport Challenge.

$600 is alot.
Then, in 2006 we had the launch of Sony's PlayStation 3 and just two days later, the Nintendo Wii.  I'm sure most of the Giant Bomb community remembers that week a bit more clearly than the 2001 version.  After the complete and utter dominance by PlayStation 2 in the previous generation, what could possibly go wrong with the next iteration?  Well, having a starting price of $600 doesn't help.  Combined with the fact that the Wii was innovating, the Xbox 360 had a head start, and both were cheaper, it was a rough start for the PS3.  Over the years we've seen a fair share of great games on PS3, but on launch day, excellent games were tough to come by.  Resistance: Fall of Man seemed to be the default go-to game for most people (aside from sports games).  Those that did take the hit in the wallet by adopting early were rewarded with the ability to play any PS2 games thanks to the full backwards compatibility of the 60GB version, which was removed in later models.  I was lucky enough to get a 60GB system a couple weeks after launch thanks to a friend.  I was only able to afford it because we worked out a payment plan so that I didn't have to throw down $600 all at once.

A Revolution
For the launch of Wii, it seemed like a mass hysteria of everyone and their mother (literally) trying to get one.  The word of mouth on the Wii was pretty crazy.  Aside from Wii Sports, the must-have for most people was probably still The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.  The cavalcade of minigame collections started early with the likes of Rayman Raving Rabbids and Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz.  I was able to pick one up on day one at midnight by getting on the pre-order list before they quit taking deposits.  It's always weird being in an otherwise empty mall in the middle of the night.  Especially with that walk through the parking lot carrying a highly sought after item.

So, I ask... Where the hell you YOU during any of these four console launches?


Hell Weeks of the Past

Being able to go back and figure out what games came out between November 15-21 through history proved to be more difficult than I had originally thought.  This list isn't complete of course.  Thanks to ZombiePie for pointing me in the right direction, which helped fill out the list quite a bit. 


  • Assassin's Creed II
  • God of War Collection
  • Left 4 Dead 2
  • LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues
  • New Super Mario Bros. Wii
  • Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles


  • Animal Crossing: City Folk
  • Left 4 Dead
  • Lips
  • Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe
  • Need for Speed Undercover
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir
  • skate it
  • Sonic Unleashed


  • Assassin's Creed
  • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
  • Crysis
  • Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings
  • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
  • Link's Crossbow Training
  • Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games
  • Mario Party DS
  • Mass Effect
  • Rayman Raving Rabbids 2
  • Rock Band
  • Super Mario Galaxy
  • Uncharted: Drake's Fortune
  • Unreal Tournament 3


  • Nintendo Wii
  • Sony PlayStation 3
  • Excite Truck
  • Final Fantasy III
  • Gothic 3
  • The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
  • Medieval II: Total War
  • Need for Speed Carbon
  • Rainbow Six: Vegas
  • Rayman Raving Rabbids
  • Red Steel
  • Resistance: Fall of Man
  • Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom
  • Wii Sports


  • 50 Cent: Bulletproof
  • Aeon Flux
  • America's Army: Rise of a Soldier
  • Battlefield 2: Special Forces
  • Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Infected
  • Magna Carta: Tears of Blood
  • Need for Speed: Most Wanted
  • Pac-Man World 3
  • Peter Jackson's King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie
  • Shadow the Hedgehog
  • Sonic Rush
  • True Crime: New York City
  • Viewtiful Joe: Double Trouble!
  • Wild Arms: Alter Code F

I forgot to mention this in the actual blog.


  • Nintendo DS
  • Alien Hominid
  • Backyard Wrestling 2: There Goes the Neighborhood
  • Baten Kaitos
  • Blinx 2: Masters of Time and Space
  • Call of Duty: Finest Hour
  • Capcom Fighting Evolution
  • Counter-Strike: Source
  • Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 3
  • Feel the Magic
  • Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone
  • Half-Life 2
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
  • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes
  • Need for Speed Underground 2
  • Super Mario 64 DS
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines
  • Viewtiful Joe 2

I have no shame in loving this game.


  • Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing
  • EverQuest Online Adventures: Frontiers
  • Final Fantasy X-2
  • I-Ninja
  • Kya: Dark Lineage
  • Legacy of Kain: Defiance
  • The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition
  • Magic: The Gathering - Battlegrounds
  • Manhunt
  • Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
  • Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
  • Metal Arms: Glitch in the System
  • Need for Speed Underground
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
  • Secret Weapons Over Normandy
  • Spawn Armageddon
  • Star Wars: Jedi Knight - Jedi Academy
  • Warhammer 40,000: Fire Warrior
  • Whiplash

Xbox Live Starter Kit


  • 007 Nightfire
  • Dead to Rights
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • MechAssault
  • Metroid Fusion
  • Metroid Prime
  • Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance
  • Star Wars: Jedi Knight - Jedi Outcast
  • Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell
  • Unreal Championship


  • Microsoft Xbox
  • Nintendo GameCube
  • 007 Agent Under Fire
  • Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding
  • Batman: Vengeance
  • Dead or Alive 3
  • Gothic
  • Halo: Combat Evolved
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
  • Luigi's Mansion
  • Mad Dash Racing
  • Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee
  • Project Gotham Racing
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein
  • The Simpsons: Road Rage
  • Splashdown
  • Star Trek: Armada II
  • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron II - Rogue Leader
  • Super Monkey Ball
  • Wario Land 4
  • Wave Race: Blue Storm
  • Wizardry 8
  • WWF SmackDown! Just Bring It


  • 007 Racing
  • Banjo-Tooie
  • Driver 2
  • Hitman: Codename 47
  • NFL GameDay 2001
  • Star Wars Demolition
  • Super Bust-A-Move
  • WWF SmackDown! 2: Know Your Role


  • 007 Tomorrow Never Dies
  • Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned
  • Half-Life
  • NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC
  • Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
  • Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation
  • Twisted Metal 4
  • WWF WrestleMania 2000


  • Apocalypse
  • Buck Bumble
  • A Bug's Life
  • FIFA 99
  • Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus
  • Psybadek
  • Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf 99
  • Tomb Raider II
  • WCW/nWo Revenge


  • Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero
  • Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee
  • PaRappa the Rapper
  • Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha
  • WCW vs. nWo: World Tour


  • Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain
  • Descent II: The Infinite Abyss
  • Destruction Derby
  • Discworld
  • Disruptor
  • WWF In Your House
#2 Posted by Yanngc33 (4551 posts) -

I was getting a gamecube, buying a DS and a Wii. I was also getting Nightfire man, they don't make Bond games like that anymore...
#3 Posted by Unchained (1091 posts) -

In 2001, I was there day 1 for the xbox. First time I stood in line for a console I'd pre-ordered. I passed on the gamecube, as my girlfriend at the time (now my wife) was buying one for me for Christmas.  
In 2002, I was in an isolated location far in the north of Canada and had to do most of my shopping online (satellite internet - gah). Due to the remoteness of my location, items usually took months to arrive from the order date.  
2004-2007 I was deep in World of Warcraft and missed out on all the gaming events in the real world. I quit wow shortly before Q3 2007, so I was able to get really into the games that game out that year. Holy crap, this week was nuts in 2007. I'd forgotten how crazy it was until I look at your list.   

#4 Posted by LordAndrew (14591 posts) -

I hadn't really paid any of the three a lot of attention back in 2001. It wasn't until two years later that I got a GameCube. That seems totally crazy when I think about it now, because I didn't have any of the consoles from the previous generation either.

#5 Posted by nintendoeats (6150 posts) -

I was at home and broke, or in the Middle East for all of these launches.

#6 Posted by billnyethesciencepie (1537 posts) -

Was probably trolling playstation fans when i was an xbot

#7 Posted by Marino (5569 posts) -
@Unchained said:
" 2004-2007 I was deep in World of Warcraft and missed out on all the gaming events in the real world. I quit wow shortly before Q3 2007, so I was able to get really into the games that game out that year. Holy crap, this week was nuts in 2007. I'd forgotten how crazy it was until I look at your list.    "
Sounds like you were in the same situation as I was with EQ from 2000-2003.  And yeah, 2007 was pretty ridiculous.
#8 Posted by Winternet (8264 posts) -

That 07 week was crazy! Mad crazy. Wonder what's the revenue of those games combined only in that week. 1 billion? 2 billion? 
This week is pretty much the same throughout the years. I get hype and drunk. And celebrate. Because, yay it's my birthday (Nov. 19 and really you shouldn't bother with all these gifts. It's nothing really. Ok I can keep them)

#9 Posted by supermike6 (3776 posts) -

I was six when the Xbox and GameCube released, but I eventually got a Gamecube.  
And during the Wii release, I was trying feverishly to buy one online, and I think I even lined up at a Futureshop one morning. I got a 360 the next March, and then a whole year later I finally got my hands on the Wii.

#10 Posted by WJist (328 posts) -

I remember when people were really into EQ at school and that was all they talked about at lunch. I still had dial-up/Netzero at the time : (
On topic, the only launch date I've really been around for was the N64, when I bought it Day One getting the last one at the KB Toys. I can't imagine the nightmare of working in retail during Hell Week and dealing with the people who are calling the store for when exactly the trucks are stocking the store. My experience buying a Wii almost a year after its launch was actually still like that, with a strong lady elbowing me for a Wii.
And dude, "The Duke!" Quite possible the least new gamer-friendly controller to come in a launch console ever.

#11 Posted by Inf225 (512 posts) -

I remember the 07 hell week, so much money was spent, mass effect, cod4, rock band. I was a freshman in college too, so my grades died to.

#12 Posted by melcene (3214 posts) -

This Week in 1996 - I was begging my friend to teach me to play the MUD I always saw him playing.  Little did I know this would lead to my awful gaming habit. 
This week in 1998 - I conceived my daughter (at least, it was hereabouts).
November 23, 2004.  The "official" release date of WoW.  Though we had gotten in on the early release, so we had our copy for a few days already and had been playing on the Lightbringer server.  When release hit, though, and the servers got swamped to all hell, we ended up transferring to another server, only to transfer back to Lightbringer a year or two ago. 
November 22, 2005.  I had left work early the day before to join my husband in line at our local Best Buy.  He spent a total of 21 hours in line, I spent a total of 14 hours with him.  We brought our lawn chairs, go mugs, etc.  Had quite the little set up.  In the wee hours of the morning on the 22nd, we went home with a spanky new Xbox 360.  Someone in the parking lot offered us $1k for it on our way to the car.  We kindly declined... though we had wished we had bought 2 so we could keep one and jack up the price of the other.   Kameo came with the console, and we picked up Perfect Dark Zero and Oblivion.
This week in 2006 - picking up Medieval II: Total War preorder for the hubby. 
This week in 2007 - picking up Rock Band and Modern Warfare preorders.  (can't remember if we also preordered ME)

#13 Edited by Brendan (8821 posts) -

Dude, I remembered that 2007 was crazy, but I forgot the scope of it's craziness until now.  That year truly was a '98 all over again.  Four games in one week for me.  My wallet needed life support for a month.   
#14 Posted by Marino (5569 posts) -
@melcene: Glad I'm not the only one that remembers stuff like this.  I worked as holiday help at Best Buy in 2005 during 360 launch and the scene was pretty similar to your description.  Except that it started raining and people began parking their cars "in line" from the entrance wrapping around the building.  It was quite ridiculous. 
@WJist: I played EQ on dial-up in college for close to a year.  It worked fine most of the time.  
#15 Posted by melcene (3214 posts) -
@Marino: I'll admit, the preorders I totally didn't remember until I saw them on the list for this week, and I knew that those were ones we'd preordered.  But the release of WoW and campout for the 360 are things that would be difficult to forget :)
#16 Posted by CitizenKane (10789 posts) -

I was getting the Xbox bundle that came with Halo, PGR and an extra controller.

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