Release dates are funny things. For the most part, one can expect to pick up a game the day after the publisher’s announced release date. The reason usually given for this is satisfactory: the “release date” is actually the date that the game is shipped to retailers, so they can’t reasonably be expected to have the game on shelves nationwide the very same day. However, for high profile games, publishers will sometimes ship their copies to the retailers early and inexplicably require the retailers to delay sales until some arbitrary date. On occasion, this can lead to awkward situations wherein certain retailers will break the street date, causing all of geekdom to get up in arms that we might be able to get our paws on the game a few days before anyone else, but more often it just means that you can swing by your local Gamestapo and walk out with the game on the official release date itself.
On the other hand, sometimes you’ll run into a situation such as I did earlier this week. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption had a release date of 8/27/2007, which is a little strange to start with (being a Monday, when most games release on Tuesdays). After eating dinner on this Monday, on a whim, I decided to head across the parking lot to the EBGames to see if Metroid Prime 3 was a big enough release to warrant the early shipping treatment. While acknowledging that it was a long-shot, I lobbed my question at the clerk, who predictably informed me that they would have the game the next day and tried to get me to put down a pre-order. I naturally declined (to this day, the only game I can recall pre-ordering was Quake III Arena, and that’s because I wanted the fancy metal box the pre-ordered version came in), and went on about my business. All that was left before heading home, then, was a trip to Target for some groceries. Now, whenever I enter Target, I always end up swinging past the game section, just on the off chance that they may have some gem of a game on a ridiculous sale. It never happens, but the habit has ingrained itself. On this particular Monday, however, it served me well. Where EBGames didn’t have any copies of Metroid, Target was inundated with them. They were practically falling out of the display case.
Despite not having finished Metroid Prime 2 yet, I tossed Corruption in when my wife and I finally returned home, just to check out the controls. I didn’t spend enough time with it to form an opinion, but early indications are good. It is going to take some getting used to after the arcane-yet-strangely-good setup of the first two Primes. Meanwhile, I’m tearing through Metroid Prime 2 in order to feel comfortable playing through the new one. Even though Metroid titles aren’t usually the most story-intensive, I don’t really feel right skipping an installment of a series. On the plus side, I’m a lot closer to the end than I had originally suspected. I’m not going to be finishing it tonight or anything, but I had forgotten that the percentage reported on the saved games is including every power-up and missile/power-bomb expansion, which I do not, by any means, intend to track down. In other words, while I’m only around the mid 50s on it, I don’t have to reach 100% to mark it off the list.