Crammed in the corner of a hotel's banquet hall, they stood and stared silently, mesmerized by what they were seeing. They were watching a soldier gunning down a giant monster on one TV and Miami Heat's Dwayne Wade taking over an NBA game on the other screen.
What they were really experiencing was the new Sony PlayStation 3.
The much-awaited video game console comes out Nov. 17 in the U.S., although getting one will be as challenging as finding parking at the mall after Thanksgiving.
Thousands of lucky gamers tested the PS3 over the weekend at the 2007 Sony Expo in Honolulu, two weeks before the debut.
Almost all were males -- from boys with braces and baggy jeans to gray-haired baby boomers. They crowded around two gaming booths with the sleek, lean, black machine behind a plastic case.
"The graphics are crazy, way better than the second one," said Doug Morrison, a 20-year-old University of Hawaii student. "It's more realistic. It's smoother. It doesn't have any glitches.
"I'm going to get one no matter what."
Forget Elmo, the third-generation PlayStation will top many wish lists to Santa this holiday season. And hopefully Santa saved because the PS3 isn't cheap.
The system starts at $500 for a 20 GB version. The price tag on the 60 GB model is $600.
People looking to cash in on the high demand and limited supply are already selling their pre-reserved PS3 consoles on eBay for well over $2,000. Rights to one PS3 recently sold for $3,250, plus $50 for shipping.