Christmas fun and games

Sony Playstation 4
Sony Playstation 4
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SO there I am, unwashed, unshaven, staring down the enemy and weighing up my options at the foot of the escalators in Eldon Square.

An hour had passed and tensions were rising. I could out-run the fat lad in the headphones, no problem, and, at a push, could probably out-muscle the housewife in the jogging bottoms, but the three-strong gang of university students were likely to pose the biggest threat.

A throat strike would take out the first, an elbow the second, but did I have time for a groin shot before the third could react?

Welcome to Christmas shopping 2013 … Night of the PlayStation 4.

For those parents of under-sevens, breezing through Toys R Us piling up your shopping trolleys with plentiful Cabbage Patch dolls and Ben 10 action figures, the video game playing device known as the PlayStation 4 will probably mean little.

For those, like me, with two boys aged 10 and 13, it’s the holy grail of Christmas gifts.

How considerate then of the console-maker Sony to produce fewer devices than demand exists … and to bring them out on November 29!

That gives you 26 days to come up with an excuse as to why your children haven’t got a PlayStation 4 (PS4) this Christmas.

We could, of course, had pre-ordered the game, in August! But hey, we like to live dangerously.

And living dangerously involved heading out into Asda for the midnight launch in a desperate bid to secure a game.

Given the PS4 is one of the most eagerly-anticipated games in Christendom, how many did they have in Asda Benton? Why, 18, of course.

They went in the blink of an eye. Game, the computer game shop, also opened at midnight to satisfy PS4 demand.

They were really geared up for action. The Benton store had the grand total of, erm, none for sale to general public.

I returned home at midnight to be told by my wife that she’d heard from a secret source that five PS4s would be in the Whitley Bay Sainsbury’s store when they opened the following morning.

My alarm went off at 6am. I was out of the house and heading to Sainsbury’s at 6.15am. There were eight men already queuing up in the driving rain outside the supermarket.

“I’ve heard they only have five PlayStations,” I said.

“We’ve heard there may be more,” one told me. But there was a distinct air of desperation in his voice. I reported back to base.

Another source had told my wife John Lewis in Newcastle may have as many as 25. How reliable was this source?

“Enter by the Northumberland Street entrance,” she said. “They’re opening up at 8am.”

She didn’t say whether I was to abseil down the side of the building but it did feel like a military operation. It should be a video game. Call of Duty 5: Modern Christmas Shopping.

The Northumberland Street entrance was closed. Was I to blow the doors?

I took another way in to find myself at the rear of a queue at the cordoned-off escalators.

It all seemed very orderly, until security opened the lifts.

The queue panicked, everyone bolted for the lift. I was right, I could outrun the fat lad and out-muscle the housewife, luckily, the students stayed put. They were still drunk.

We burst out of the lift and began running. The fat lad was ahead of me. I followed him.

He was heading to Game … he was after the Xbox! Damn. I was heading in the wrong direction.

I heard a cry. “This way,” the voice said. It was one of my fellow queue-masters. “The John Lewis perfume counter entrance,” he bellowed.

We ran like the wind. The gang were all there. We numbered 25, dishevelled and breathless.

By 8.10am, we’d bonded. John, a dad-of-two, had it on reliable authority that the shutters would be open at 8.15am. The lucky first few would be given tickets. The golden tickets.

“I was there for the PlayStation 2 Christmas launch,” he said.

“Madness,” he whispered. “Madness...”

We didn’t pry any further. His eyes said it all. The scars can’t be seen. They run deeper than any flesh wound.

The university boys had been out clubbing until 3am, gone home, changed, and headed out for John Lewis to queue. They hadn’t slept.

The housewife, Margaret, had seen the look in the eye of her son when she told him she hadn’t pre-ordered the PS4.

He would never forgive her if she didn’t get it. That woman would kill for the console, make no mistake.

When the John Lewis shop manager appeared, flanked by security, you could sense he was about three words from being torn limb from limb.

Instead, he was hailed a hero. Producing from his pocket, incredibly, 25 tickets guaranteeing those in the queue a PS4.

He was, quite literally, the middle manager who saved Christmas.

We were the John Lewis 25. We may hold a reunion, reminiscing about the good old days.

In fact, we’re likely to meet up next year, outside John Lewis, queuing up for the next big thing with, as is the new Christmas tradition, murder in our eyes.

An hour had passed and tensions were rising. I could out-run the fat lad in the headphones, no problem, and, at a push, could probably out-muscle the housewife in the jogging bottoms, but the three-strong gang of university students were likely to pose the biggest threat.

A throat strike would take out the first, an elbow the second, but did I have time for a groin shot before the third could react?

Welcome to Christmas shopping 2013 … Night of the PlayStation 4.

For those parents of under-sevens, breezing through Toys R Us piling up your shopping trolleys with plentiful Cabbage Patch dolls and Ben 10 action figures, the video game playing device known as the PlayStation 4 will probably mean little.

For those, like me, with two boys aged 10 and 13, it’s the holy grail of Christmas gifts.

How considerate then of the console-maker Sony to produce fewer devices than demand exists … and to bring them out on November 29!

That gives you 26 days to come up with an excuse as to why your children haven’t got a PlayStation 4 (PS4) this Christmas.

We could, of course, had pre-ordered the game, in August! But hey, we like to live dangerously.

And living dangerously involved heading out into Asda for the midnight launch in a desperate bid to secure a game.

Given the PS4 is one of the most eagerly-anticipated games in Christendom, how many did they have in Asda Benton? Why, 18, of course.

They went in the blink of an eye. Game, the computer game shop, also opened at midnight to satisfy PS4 demand.

They were really geared up for action. The Benton store had the grand total of, erm, none for sale to general public.

I returned home at midnight to be told by my wife that she’d heard from a secret source that five PS4s would be in the Whitley Bay Sainsbury’s store when they opened the following morning.

My alarm went off at 6am. I was out of the house and heading to Sainsbury’s at 6.15am. There were eight men already queuing up in the driving rain outside the supermarket.

“I’ve heard they only have five PlayStations,” I said.

“We’ve heard there may be more,” one told me. But there was a distinct air of desperation in his voice. I reported back to base.

Another source had told my wife John Lewis in Newcastle may have as many as 25. How reliable was this source?

“Enter by the Northumberland Street entrance,” she said. “They’re opening up at 8am.”

She didn’t say whether I was to abseil down the side of the building but it did feel like a military operation. It should be a video game. Call of Duty 5: Modern Christmas Shopping.

The Northumberland Street entrance was closed. Was I to blow the doors?

I took another way in to find myself at the rear of a queue at the cordoned-off escalators.

It all seemed very orderly, until security opened the lifts.

The queue panicked, everyone bolted for the lift. I was right, I could outrun the fat lad and out-muscle the housewife, luckily, the students stayed put. They were still drunk.

We burst out of the lift and began running. The fat lad was ahead of me. I followed him.

He was heading to Game … he was after the Xbox! Damn. I was heading in the wrong direction.

I heard a cry. “This way,” the voice said. It was one of my fellow queue-masters. “The John Lewis perfume counter entrance,” he bellowed.

We ran like the wind. The gang were all there. We numbered 25, dishevelled and breathless.

By 8.10am, we’d bonded. John, a dad-of-two, had it on reliable authority that the shutters would be open at 8.15am. The lucky first few would be given tickets. The golden tickets.

“I was there for the PlayStation 2 Christmas launch,” he said.

“Madness,” he whispered. “Madness...”

We didn’t pry any further. His eyes said it all. The scars can’t be seen. They run deeper than any flesh wound.

The university boys had been out clubbing until 3am, gone home, changed, and headed out for John Lewis to queue. They hadn’t slept.

The housewife, Margaret, had seen the look in the eye of her son when she told him she hadn’t pre-ordered the PS4.

He would never forgive her if she didn’t get it. That woman would kill for the console, make no mistake.

When the John Lewis shop manager appeared, flanked by security, you could sense he was about three words from being torn limb from limb.

Instead, he was hailed a hero. Producing from his pocket, incredibly, 25 tickets guaranteeing those in the queue a PS4.

He was, quite literally, the middle manager who saved Christmas.

We were the John Lewis 25. We may hold a reunion, reminiscing about the good old days.

In fact, we’re likely to meet up next year, outside John Lewis, queuing up for the next big thing with, as is the new Christmas tradition, murder in our eyes.