Though there were no spiritual apparitions at Gamestop at 5707 Northern Ave. in Glendale during the midnight launch of the new Ghostbusters The Video Game, there were plenty of EKG meters and "proton packs" just in case. These delicate scientific instruments belonged to none other than the AZ Ghostbusters, a charity organization based around dressing up like the iconic characters from the 198X film, who made a public appearance last night to raise money for the Salvation Army while promoting the new video game for just about every system you use to play games.
A crowd of about 100 people converge on Gamestop to watch a screening of the original Ghostbusters, toss red turtle shells at each other in Mario Kart Wii and rock out to Rock Band while waiting for the witching hour to purchase the new game. If you think you are a Rock Band god, try playing while wearing a nuclear-powered proton pack. Replica or otherwise, those things are heavy.
The Salvation Army was on hand selling drinks and containers of "slime" to raise money to send underprivileged kids on a camping trip.
"The Salvation Army in Glendale will be sending 100 kids to camp," said Salvation Army Volunteer Coordinator Christina Arnold. "Our goal is $20,000 by the end of the Summer."
AZ Ghostbusters Founder Matt Haynes said he was approached by Gamestop employee Josh Ivanoff to help promote the game and raise some money for the Salvation Army. A dozen or so Ghostbusters dressed in movie-accurate costumes lent a hand by selling Ghostbusters-related food stuffs (big twinkies and marshmallows) in addition to raffle tickets for a chance to win copies of the Ghostbusters movies and game and generally walking around with blinking traps and ghost catching equipment.
In the history of video games, bustin' has made players feel anything but good. In his reviews of the Ghostbusters games for archaic systems ranging from the Atari 2600 to the Sega Genesis, James Rolfe AKA The Angry Video Game Nerd describes games based on the widely-popular '80s movie franchise as "shitty and less shitty."
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A few generations of graphic upgrades aside, there's something this latest game interpretation of Ghostbusters has that those older versions would sacrifice their 72-pin connectors for: the actual actors. Dan Aykroyd and Harold Remis worked on the script in addition to lending their voices to the game along with Bill Murry, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts and Alyssa Milano. Then again, maybe the simple satisfaction of catching ghosts in the comfort of your own home (haunted or otherwise) is enough of a draw. Either way, Gamestop patrons lined up at midnight to purchase their copy and head home to play.
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One patron, a school kid named Giovani said he's been waiting three years to play this game. Luckily for him, Summer vacation is in full effect so there was nothing to stop him from going home and busting ghosts.
"It's a win-win situation," he said.
If you would like to help the Glendale branch of The Salvation Army send children to camp, you can donate $200 (the cost to sponsor one child) to The Salvation Army at 6010 W. Northern Ave., Glendale, AZ, 85301