Doom 3 was officially released on Tuesday, August 3, 2004. Unfortunately for Activision, the game's publisher, thousands of copies of the game were illegally downloaded during the prior weekend. This was frustrating for GameSpot as well, since we still didn't have a copy of the game in hand as of Monday, August 2.
We tasked our intrepid data producer, Adam Buchen, with tracking down a retail copy of Doom 3. The following timeline illustrates Adam's big adventure and the lengths we went to in order to get a copy of Doom 3 before the official release.
August 2, 2004
10:00am--Unable to obtain a copy of that elusive game, we began a massive hunt for just one copy of Doom 3 in the San Francisco area. We had made numerous visits to various retail outlets over the previous weekend, but to no avail. So I canvassed the city by phone. Unfortunately, 45 precious minutes were wasted while I called one of the large electronics stores, which eventually informed me, "No, we don't carry that movie."
1:00pm--No luck in the retail department. And it appeared that some stores were going to be stocking this game at midnight, but none were in the San Francisco area. I volunteered to do whatever had to be done to get my hands on this one game. If that meant a Cacodemon tattoo on my back, so be it.
4:00pm--We had a solution! A contact in Los Angeles was holding a copy of the game for us. Two lengthy cab rides and a 75-minute flight, just to pick up a single copy of a game? Of course we were going to do it.
And so like a disabled runner I sprinted out of the office, nothing in my hands but directions and a camera. But I had hope, and that should count for something. I hopped in the first cab I saw and quickly realized that I should only hop in cabs that are empty. The next cab I jumped into was driven by a grizzled bear of a man. He sensed the desperation in my voice and got me to the airport in record time.
4:24pm--I was now at the airport, ready to make my departure! Well, except for that line of like a thousand people all waiting to check in their luggage. I waited impatiently, knowing that in just a matter of hours we'd be saving Mars from its hellish invasion. And that's what matters.
4:48pm--Finally I got to the front of the line, where I purchased my ticket. The agent was about to make me wait for the next flight, scheduled two hours later, but when I explained to him why the trip mattered so much, he somehow squeezed me on to a flight that was boarding in just 12 minutes! I got my extremely overpriced ticket and ran to the security checkpoint, where they tried to slow me down with an extensive "pull-you-off-to-the-side" kind of search. But much to their chagrin, I had no luggage. After a few pat-downs and hurried explanations of my need for a BFG, I was on my way.
5:00pm--I was at the gate! But the airplane was not! You see, apparently the airline I was on forgot they needed an airplane for my trip. So we had to wait an excruciating half hour before we could board and be on our way.
7:04pm--Touchdown in Los Angeles. I placed a call immediately to my contact, letting him know I was in the area. I rushed out of the airport and grabbed a cab.
7:25pm--In what was probably the most anticlimactic event of the night, my contact shook my hand, handed me a copy of the game, talked to me for a couple of minutes, and was on his way. No matter. I had Doom 3! Now it was just a matter of getting back to the office...
8:00pm--Arrived back at LAX, prepared to fly out in just an hour. I was making good time. But then, wouldn't you know it, there was another delay, this time of two hours. Once again, there wasn't a plane available to fly my route. How annoying. Stuck in an airport terminal for three hours with a copy of Doom 3 and no computer!
August 3, 2004
12:04am--Finally we got in the air, and I was something of a nervous wreck. I wanted so badly to get my demon-slaying on. The flight attendant looked at me strangely when I scoffed at the plane's "bad textures."
1:05am--We were finally on the ground in San Francisco. I rushed to a cab and called up Greg, the executive editor, letting him know the code was on the way.
1:25am--Arrived at the office, handed off the copy to Greg, and relaxed...for about five minutes, while he installed it. Then we got cracking. Craig Beers put up more than 20 movies, and I helped Greg get up about 130 screens. This was all before the working day had started.
10:00am--Greg is eight hours into Doom 3. Another official day of work commences. Sleep would be nice. Why can't they make a decent flashlight in the future?
Do you have any funny stories about what you went through to find a copy of Doom 3? Share them in our forums!