As someone who still enjoys video games, I was interested and intrigued by the recent launches of the Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3 "next-generation" video game systems. I wanted to track the events, but ideally from the warmth of my home and my laptop, rather than from the front lines. Enter Flickr and Google Blog Search. I watched and searched the sites to hear (and see) the success and horror stories of gamers (and eBay profiteers) who were standing in line to secure their systems. I was really impressed with the results. On the days of and shortly after the systems were released, Google Blog Search included stories from gamers who blogged their experiences, from successful purchases to retail store snafus. Even better was Flickr, which via cell phone cameras and wireless broadband-enabled laptops, delivered photos right from the waiting lines themselves, including the launch events here in New York City.
While this "news" is not as refined as what comes off the wires via the online news sites, it's much more immediate and incredibly more real. Hearing about the Sony Store experience in Boston and seeing gamers in line live from the Toys R Us in Times Square was much more compelling than the boiled-down stories from the mainstream media. There was a lot more to wade through, but I got a real sense of the launch experience fandom and fanaticism from actual gamers - more than just an article.