It's less than two hours until area stores begin to sell what's anticipated to be the biggest videogame of all time, Halo 3.
A recent price cut has helped sales of the Xbox 360 spike and this release could push an even bigger sales spike for Microsoft.
"Halo 2" generated a record $125 million in U.S. sales in the first day. "Halo 3," created by Bungie Studios and exclusive to the Xbox 360, is expected to easily top that.
I've heard that more than a few of you, um, older gamers are planning to take vacation days or sick days to accommodate some marathon "Halo 3" sessions tonight and tomorrow.
More than 10,000 U.S. retailers are planning to open their doors at midnight Sept. 25 to allow early birds to get their game first.
Other advance events:
• Pontiac is teaming with Microsoft to provide 1,000 lucky winners a copy of "Halo 3" before it's available in stores. To participate, visit www.pontiac.com/halo3.
• David Stremme will drive the No. 40 Target/"Halo 3"-inspired race car at the NASCAR Dover 400 on Sept. 23. Select NASCAR drivers will have a chance to test-drive "Halo 3" during a private event before the race.
• Best Buy stores will give free Xbox LIVE Gold subscriptions to customers Sept. 25-27. The company also will give away 8,000 Microsoft Points to 144 randomly selected people.
• Microsoft will release a $399 Xbox 360 "Halo 3" Special Edition Console, featuring an authentic Spartan green and gold finish. The unit will come with a matching Xbox 360 Wireless Controller, a 20-gigabyte hard drive, a headset and a Play & Charge Kit.
Simpson in the news again
O.J. Simpson was named a suspect in a confrontation at a Las Vegas casino hotel room involving sports memorabilia last week. Simpson denied breaking into a hotel room to get sports memorabilia he said belonged to him.News also broke last week that Simpson received $50,000 from 2K Sports to lend his likeness to its "All Pro Football'' title released in July. Simpson was ordered to surrender his earnings to the estate of Ron Goldman, who was slain along with Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, 13 years ago.
The Goldmans won a $33.5 million judgment against Simpson in a wrongful death lawsuit. Simpson was acquitted of criminal charges in 1995 but was found legally responsible for their deaths in a civil court two years later.
Madden Challenges kick off
The new year of Madden Challenges -- designed to find the best Madden players in the world -- kicked off Sept. 15 in Dallas, Texas.
This year, there will be competitions on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2. Regional winners will take home $1,000 plus other prizes and advance to the national finals later this year in California.
There will be no regional in Charlotte, though events will be held in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 27 and Atlanta on Nov. 10. For a complete list of locations and more details, visit www.maddenchallenge.com.