James Iannotto once waited five hours at Best Buy on Black Friday to buy a half-price netbook. He lined up at midnight the night Call of Duty was released last November – and that was a school night.
The August 10 midnight release of Madden NFL 11 was no different for Iannotto, who was among a crowd of around 60 fans who lined up at GameStop in East Setauket before midnight to purchase the new video game.
"I have to work tomorrow so I want to play a little bit before I go," said Iannotto, 17, of South Setauket. "When they released Call of Duty last year I stayed up until it was time to go to school the next day."
Madden NFL 11 features a system called GameFlow, which is said to improve the experience for casual players of the game by offering simpler play selection and faster action without dumbing down the game for more hardcore players. Game play has also been accelerated, with 60-minute games able to be played in 30 minutes. The game of course includes new players, and uses an upgraded incarnation of the Pro-Tak animation system, which made previous editions of the game so popular.
"I always like the new rosters," said Chris H., 18, of Setauket. "I kind of want to test out the rookies."
Erick Campell, 21, of Coram, has Madden games from 2004 on, and said the graphics improve with each release.
"I'm excited for this game," he said. "I'm looking forward to kicking someone's butt in the game."
Teresa Barone of Port Jefferson Station was among a handful of parents who lined up with their kids Monday night.
"This is nuts," she said. "I've never done this before."
Her son Paul, 12, had to get the game because he's a big football fan.
"Every other year it's something new," he said. "It's better and all the new people who got drafted are in the game."
Kaitlin Mahoney of Port Jefferson Station was one of just a few ladies who lined up to buy the game.
"I'm not even going to play it," she said. "It's for my dad. His birthday was two days ago."
GameStop was an unexpected stop for Philip Sayegh, 21, and Issa Khoury, 21, two Stony Brook University students who recently moved to Setauket from Westchester. The night started out with a beer run, but they noticed the lights on in GameStop – and wound up buying a refurbished Xbox 360 console, remote, FIFA World Cup game and Madden 11 game for their new apartment.
"We have beer in the car getting warm," Sayegh said as he waited on line. "We have two more guys in the house who have no idea we're coming home with this."