It is officially February 7th, 2012, and for one of the all time pitching greats in Major League Baseball history, it is a new kind of opening day. Curt Schilling won three World Series as a member of both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Soxs, but that type of resume doesn’t mean that much in the world of gaming. Fortunately for Mr. Schilling, he was able to amass a small army of gaming veterans in the creation of his 38 Studios, and today marks the beginning of their journey with the release of Kingdom Of Amalur: Reckoning.
In celebration, Schilling, writer RA Salvatore and anywhere from 30-50 employees from 38 Studios hit the Gamestop in Bellingham, Massachusetts for a special release night event and they made one thing abundantly clear: they were excited to see this day finally come. Seeing as though Curt Schilling is probably my favorite baseball player of all time and I was genuinely excited for Kingdom Of Amalur: Reckoning by it’s own right, it was pretty much a no-brainer that I would take the 10 mile trek down to Bellingham from work and I am not sure that it could have been a better event.
The line rivaled just about every midnight release I have been to recently outside of Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, as nearly 300 fans filled an otherwise empty shopping center and waited patiently in mid-40 degree temperature for the opportunity to meet Schilling and Salvatore. I got to the store around 10:30 and the line was already about 150 deep in high spirits and anticipation. Since there are clearly not that many gaming studios in Massachusetts, it’s pretty safe to say that I have never been to an event quite like this, so I don’t know if this is normal or not, but I couldn’t help but be impressed by the employees of 38 Studios, who came out in droves. My guesstimation is that there were as many as 50 or more employees of the studio milling about, talking to people in line and giving out free swag like t-shirts, destiny cards and even messenger bags. Even RA Salvatore himself walked up and down the line thanking each person for coming out to the event, with an enormous smile across his face.
Then midnight hit and the real fun began and I have no doubt it was memorable for absolutely everyone involved. For fans, the wait was worth it as we all had our moment to chat with Curt and RA and get our copy of the game signed (or whatever else you may have brought). I thanked Curt for being here on this night and thanked him for bringing two World Series to Boston. He smiled and thanked me for being there. He was wearing one of his World Series rings, no doubt the one from 2004, and it was awesome. As cool as it was to meet Curt, I didn’t really expect the best part of the evening to be when I left the store. As they did for absolutely every single person that walked out the door after having their moment with Schilling and Salvatore, those same 38 Studios employees that had been present throughout the whole event congregated at the door to cheer and high five every single person that purchased their game. They were genuinely interested in hearing everyone’s story, so I stopped for a moment and told them of my intentions of pulling an all nighter and having the next two days off to dedicate to the game. I could tell hearing words like that made their day, as this was no doubt been an anxious journey that has finally reached it’s new beginning. Because now Kingdom Of Amalur: Reckoning is in stores, and I can safely say that it will now officially be known as the first great game of 2012.
After experiencing a night like this, it’s tough not to root for the people at 38 Studios. Sharing their special night with them was as much an experience for me as it was meeting one of my favorite baseball players of all time, and I think that speaks volumes for the amount of passion they exuded. So to Curt Schilling, RA Salvatore and the cast of characters involved with the making of Kingdom Of Amalur: Reckoning, thank you for sharing your special night with people like me.
As someone that has had a number of photos published in magazines over the years, I felt super lame resorting to a cell phone camera, but I somehow managed to leave my flash card at home and of course didn’t realize it until I was sitting in a parking lot in front of Gamestop at 10:30 PM with everything closed. Oh well. Below are some photos from the event. I was interviewed by the Boston Globe and I am currently staking out their website for them to upload the video. I’ll link it when it is up. Kingdom Of Amalur: Reckoning is in stores now and is worth every penny, so check it out.
Update: And just like that, here I am in the Boston Globe!
My video of the opening of the game: