UNIVERSAL CITYWALK – Getting an Xbox 360 isn’t all that hard if you’ve got $400 bucks and a whole lot of free time. When the newest, fastest, most crisp, loudest whiz-bang video game gadget from Microsoft Corp. officially went on sale at midnight on Tuesday, there were officially 2 million units available for worldwide consumption. With high-definition video capabilities, sleek design and fancy wireless controllers, the home entertainment console heralds the new era of video game systems, followed next year by the Nintendo Revolution and Sony PlayStation 3. For the contingent of 200 fans who began lining up at Universal CityWalk hours before the 360 officially hit the market, waiting was not an option. “I’m here to get if before anyone else does,” said Arman Dounel, a 21-year-old who lives in West Hollywood and soups up car stereos for a living. “It’s always good to have something before anyone else. It’s the bragging rights.” These were people who’d bought the box from EB Games well in advance, so they were assured that their silver and green machines would be ready to go without having to brave lines or wait out at odd hours. And yet they still showed up. Then again, video games have an odd effect on their devoted fans. These are not the geeks you remember from high school, pale-faced and long-haired, shoveling quarters into blinking games in darkened arcades as they slugged down cans of Jolt Cola. These are people with regular lives, regular jobs, homes, girlfriends, boyfriends, spouses and kids. And they desparately, desparately want their games… as… soon… as… possible. “Remember the Cabbage Patch Kids craze in the 80s? Where the mothers were pushing and beating each other in the stores? It’s a similar thing here, but they’re being a little more mature about it,” said David Riley, a senior manager with the video game industry tracker NPD Group. “I wouldn’t want to walk out of a store in front of a few thousand people who didn’t get their Xbox. People do some crazy things – you don’t want to walk down the street with one unless you’ve got a couple friends with you.” He oughtta know, too. When the PlayStation 2 came out five years ago, he waited hours in the rain, ruining a brand new leather jacket just to get his hands on one the first day. Having already reserved his 360 in advance, he was willing to wait until the rush had died down to lay his hands on the new gadget and planned to be slumbering peacefully in bed while Dounel and his compatriots awaited their midnight reward. “Games are kind of like a drug,” said John Rosenberg, president of G-Net Media, a Culver City-based company that produces sophisticated how-to manuals for games. “if you enjoy them, you’re constantly on a search for a bigger and better one. The world that you live in when you’re playing is only limited by the technology you’re playing on and the Xbox 360 is an exponential leap forward. Your world is going to be that much more real. “For a game fan, you may already find yourself sitting down to play a quick game, then 30 hours later, you’re still sitting there, unshowered and in the same clothes. Well imagine what it’s going to be like now. it’s going to be 60 hours.” “Your drug has been taken up another level, the high is that much greater. And if you’re the first kid on the block to get a new toy, you’re going to be the most popular one around.” Brent Hopkins, 818-713-3738 [email protected] AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!