(NECN: Peter Howe, Dedham, Mass.) - It's a week made in heaven for videogame fanatics, with the launch of the newest "Call of Duty" video game and the arrival of the hands-free XBox Kinect system that lets you control the action on the screen using just your own body and voice.
Around the world, many game stores opened specially at 12:01 a.m. to offer "Call of Duty: Black Ops" a vivid shoot-'em-up game set during the Cold War in Vietnam, Cuba, and Russia.
"There's no game that's better,'' said Evan Murphy of Boston's Hyde Park, who came into the Dedham GameStop hours after the game went on sale and happily put down $60 to buy it. "It's the best game play, best online, this is everything you want in a videogame right here.''
The game is this season's follow up to "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare," which last year set a record when it grossed $401 million in sales the very first day it went on sale. That is widely estimated to be the single biggest opening-day gross for any entertainment medium ever, including music albums and Hollywood hits.
Gamers say Call of Duty is the gold standard of make-believe warfare. "It's realistic -- you know, three bullets to take a guy down,'' said Joe Mouhanna of Westwood, who came in to buy the newest one Tuesday morning.
It's also a way for parents to get their kids to love them. Selena Bethoney of Dedham came in to buy a copy of Black Ops, saying, "I'm only playing because my son wants me to ... I am a great mom!"
Andrew McSherry of Needham said he was out making some sales calls and agreed to come by and wait 20 minutes to buy Black Ops for his son. "I was out doing some sales calls and said I'd come by and pick it up for him 00 and look at the lines,'' McSherry said after successfully buying a copy.
Alongside the new Call of Duty, what's also making big headlines this week in the world of videogames is the long-awaited arrival of Microsoft's $150 XBox Kinect, the first widely-available, mass-marketed game system you can play with nothing in yourself. Sensors on the unit see your body movements and hear your voice, and with games like "Rally Ball," you can use your hands, torso, feet, and head to try to volley back a deluge of imaginary balls flying out of the screen at you. Technically, Kinect isn't the very first system like this -- but the first widely purchased one that actually seems to work. Take a look at this article in PC magazine for an interesting history of previous efforts at hands-free gaming.
You can imagine true Nirvana for some gamers would be a Kinect version of Call Of Duty.
But given the response to the newest version -- the 7th in a series of Call of Duty games that have collectively grossed over $4 billion -- it seems certain the next edition will be another blockbuster.
Evan Murphy's a great example of the loyalty the game commands. "How many versions do I own? I own all of them. Every single one. Every exact single one since the beginning of the franchise.''
With videographer Mike Bellwin