Madden Launch: It Happens Every YearS

Last night the Springfield, Ore., Game Crazy treated about a dozen people to tailgate food and a Madden tournament. Despite the hype, the launch memories many of them shared had little to do with the highest-selling franchise of all time.

Resident Evil 5 was bigger, said Travis Wade, 27, a store employee. Halo 3 was, of course, a week-long affair; he expects Modern Warfare 2's launch will completely obliterate what they saw during Halo 3.

But those series are every-other-year at most. Madden comes out every year, and whether you're a sports gamer or not, there's always a launch event, and the news trucks always show up, and it helps push the lifestyle further into the mainstream. Indeed, Eugene's KVAL-TV van rolled up just as I was leaving the scene.

And the launch delivers for non-sports gamers too. Reader Skaarg, who works at a GameStop, took advantage of his store's used-games sale, picking up four titles for less than $50.

So here's a gallery of midnight launch pics and gameplay sent in by readers. Feel free to share your own pics or anecdotes in the comments. And again, if you are looking to start Online Franchises among the commenter community here, by all means, use this thread to swap info.

Madden Launch: It Happens Every YearS


Marietta, Ga. GameStop - Reader Brian S. and his friend.

Madden Launch: It Happens Every YearS


Madden tournament at the Marietta GameStop. Sent by Reader Brian S.

Madden Launch: It Happens Every YearS


Reader gfrank and his freshly-purchased copy.

Madden Launch: It Happens Every YearS


Reader newbootgoofin42 fires up his game and immediately selects his fave team. "The Mountain Dew is stocked and the Cheetos are at the ready."

Madden Launch: It Happens Every YearS


Madden tournament during launch night, Plano, Texas, GameStop. Sent by Reader saysay.

Madden Launch: It Happens Every YearS


West Caldwell, N.J. Play N Trade event, sent by reader Matt G.

Madden Launch: It Happens Every YearS


The line at Best Buy, Fort Wayne, Ind. In other words, there wasn't one. Reader Adam W. was first to pick up the game there.