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Who queues 13 hours for Black Ops?

"I've never been first in anything."

Shortly before midnight last night, 350 people stood queuing outside the flagship HMV store on Oxford Street, London.

Why were they there? To buy Call of Duty: Black Ops, an 8/10 game.

Imran Chowdhury was first in line. He doesn't normally do this kind of thing, but he happened upon a newspaper ad that day for the midnight launch and thought he'd pop along "early in the morning" - 11am - to see what was what.

"To my surprise, I was first," he told Eurogamer. "I've never been first in anything, so I thought I would tough it out no matter how cold it was outside and wait until midnight.

"We waited until 10pm at the back off the building and then they moved us to the front," he went on to recall. "A truck came with a big monster logo on it a short cute girl came out with another skinny guy and they start blasting rock music and giving away cans of this high energy drink.

"I drank loads and started getting high on sugar and then some guys in army clothes with guns, knives and rocket launchers came and told the people to shout 'hoo raa!!' and then started throwing goody-bags in to the crowd with COD: Black Ops t-shirts, 12-month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions and 2100 Microsoft Points in them," he gushed.

"I didn't manage to catch one but a friend of mine gave me his - he knew I was waiting for such a long time."

Chowdhury's efforts were rewarded with a Prestige Edition of Call of Duty: Black Ops - a product HMV usually sells for £130. These come with a remote controlled surveillance vehicle.

He's well chuffed, is Imran.

"It has volume control and speed control - high and low," Chowdhury informed us. "The camera is great: feels like it's for actually spying on someone in a secret op, and the microphone is sharp - I can hear what a person is saying quite clearly. The car isn't super fast but decent.

"It's fun to play with and I am definitely gonna experiment on what I can do with this bad boy," he said.

Despite having queued out in the crisp London air for 13 hours, Chowdury was so pumped when he got back home that he played Call of Duty: Black Ops for seven hours straight. He said he woke up at 11am and started playing again. "At one point I was dreaming about playing COD," he laughed.

It's probably safe to presume that he likes the game, then.

"It's brilliant," he critiqued. "I couldn't put it down after playing it. The zombie mode was fun; the online play and using the perks was even more fun - it has new perks to try out and new guns that were influenced by Counter-Strike. I loved the new game modes like Wager match and Gun Game where you can upgrade your gun with each kill.

"The only disappointing thing is the graphics," Chowdhury added. "I feel the previous Modern Warfare [2] had much better graphics, but besides that the gameplay is still fun as hell."

Chowdury's dedication no doubt means he'll have a headstart on anyone who didn't queue up all through the day and then stay up all night playing. He's confident of his own ability at COD: Black Ops, too.

"I am quite good at Black Ops. I say quite good as in I would pawn any noob and give an average gamer a run for their money," he puffed, "but I don't think I am as good as hardcore gamers who play 24/7 and get nukes all the time, say - like my brother."

There are photos of Imran Chowdhury at the HMV event on Flickr. He looks surprisingly alert - must be all those free energy drinks.

Call of Duty: Black Ops is expected to be the best-selling game of the year and perhaps of all time. Modern Warfare 2 smashed records last year and all signs point to Black Ops doing the same.

Chowdhury's first 15 minutes of Black Ops would have been like this.

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About the Author

Robert Purchese avatar

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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