Hideo Kojima At NYC's Metal Gear Solid 4 Midnight Launch

This was the scene outside the Metal Gear Solid 4 midnight launch at the Virgin Megastore in Times Square, New York City. The epic crowds were here to get their brand-new copy of the game signed by Hideo Kojima, who was in attendance with the lovely Yumi Kikuchi, the voice and model for the "Beauty" Raging Raven.

The real madness took place inside, of course. Hit the jump for full details.

Hideo Kojima At NYC's Metal Gear Solid 4 Midnight Launch

Kojima's signing took place on the bottom floor of the three-story megastore, and throngs of people had already started lining up long before the event had begun to kick off. When I arrived, the energy was unbelievable, with crowds periodically chanting Kojima's name or "Metal Gear! Metal Gear!"

Hideo Kojima At NYC's Metal Gear Solid 4 Midnight Launch

I chatted up some fans in line, and when one person told me he'd just bought a PS3 specifically for this game, some six or seven other people immediately chimed in that they had, too. Everyone there identified themselves as a diehard franchise fan who couldn't wait to meet the creator.

After a bit of waiting, an announcement let the crowd know that Kojima himself was about to appear. People went nuts, and began chanting his name in chorus anew, raising their fists in the air:

Hideo Kojima At NYC's Metal Gear Solid 4 Midnight Launch

When Kojima descended the escalator, a flurry of cameras, flashbulbs and cheers erupted. In this blurry little pic I took, Kojima is waving to everyone as he comes down. Sorry for the poor quality, but I actually think my hands were shaking - the high energy and anticipation were very contagious!

Hideo Kojima At NYC's Metal Gear Solid 4 Midnight Launch

Here, Kojima has taken his place at the table with Ms. Kikuchi. Forgive my finger in the frame. There was a big rush of people trying to get photos and I had to snap quickly!

Hideo Kojima At NYC's Metal Gear Solid 4 Midnight Launch

As a game journalist, I of course have to maintain a fair and balanced objectivity when writing about games. But on a personal level, I am a mammoth fan of the Metal Gear Solid series and always have been. So when I got the chance to shake Kojima's hand, I must confess I babbled like a nut, and I think I said, "Thank you I love Snake please bring him back thank you I love Metal Gear thank you!"

I've seen a few midnight launches here in New York City, but never have I seen anything game related of this scale and spectacle. There had to have been a few hundred people there, everyone buzzing with excitement. Very cool!