If you’ve talked to me recently about video games or read “my post about trying for a Wii pre-order”:http://www.manton.org/2006/10/wii_preorders.html, you know I have become obsessed with getting a Nintendo Wii at launch. The “high scores that the new Zelda was receiving”:www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/wii/legendofzeldatwilightprincess last week pretty much sealed the deal for me: I had to have one.
Thursday and Friday if I was out doing errands and passed a store I would inquire about their launch plans. It wasn’t looking good, with mixed messages from employees about how many units they would be receiving. Saturday afternoon I stopped by Wal-mart at around 2pm and already there were 22 people in line for the midnight launch of only 29 systems for that store. They urged me to stay, but I couldn’t. I had a whole day planned already, and it didn’t include video games.
Saturday evening I made a list of a half dozen possible stores and called each one. It was clear right away that if I wanted a Wii on the launch weekend, there was only one choice.
I arrived at Target at about 9:30pm Saturday evening with a chair, blanket, Nintendo DS, and book. They would open ten and a half hours later at 8am the next day, but tickets would be passed at around 7am. Early line campers who had arrived at 3pm in the afternoon had a sign-in list to ensure there was no confusion. I was number 33 out of 60 confirmed Wii systems. By midnight, all the consoles were accounted for, and everyone who arrived afterwards was turned away.
I had a great time talking with other line waiters. It was an interesting mix of people, from John next to me who worked at Apple here in Austin, to a set of young gamers who pulled up with a truck and unloaded two couches, a rug, and a coffee table.
Around 4 in the morning I realized how unprepared I was. It was in the 40s that night and my blanket was completely insufficient. If I ever do something crazy like this again, I’m packing several blankets, a sleeping bag, and pillows. By 6am I considered the few hours of uncomfortable sleep I got a success and took a jog around the parking lot to get my blood flowing and stop from shivering.
The sun rose and tickets were passed out. The excitement of the night before was back as a Target manager confirmed that they would indeed have a full 60 copies of Zelda, and almost as many for other games. Not everyone is going to get a Wii the first week, but from where I’m standing Nintendo has done a great job of shipping out as many systems as possible and making sure the games and controllers are there to go along with it.
I’ll post again next week about my impressions on Wii Sports and Zelda, but so far I am not disappointed. I make no apologies for being a Nintendo fan, but the Wii is neither over-hyped nor a gimmick, and I think the system will live up to its original codename.