So I've been checking various stores this week for signs of war and rumors of war ... errr, for the Nintendo Wii. I have been successful exactly zero times, but I certainly heard a lot of stories, tall-tales, half-truths, guesses and estimates. Black Friday was going to be a nightmare, and I wisely skipped it - more people camped out that night and walked away with bare handfuls of restocked Wiis. The motto of past week seemed to be: "If you don't camp, you don't get a Wii," which was just fine by mii.
My interest in checking out Best Buy this Sunday morning was piqued when a persistent rumour made its presence known in 3 different forums I follow - BB was holding back a shipment so that they could honor their Sunday ad. Tricksy hobbitses! I decided to follow up on this one, and got there at 7:40 in the morning - this is about 40 minutes later than I tend to get up on weekdays anyway, so no biggie. The store was due to open at 10:00am. I figured either there was going to be a huge line and I'd leave, nobody there and I'd hang around for a while in the car, or a small line and I'd stay. It was a crisp 30 degrees Fahrenheit, so I would have been happy about any of those outcomes.
Turned out it was scenario 3 - small line, less than 20 people. I debated briefly with myself and decided to stay, based on my phone call the day before which promised "around 20 units"; it appeared I was right around that limit. I chatted with the folks around me, but no one else had any concrete info - the ad in the paper promised a dozen, but I remained hopeful that my information wasn't completely made up.
Around 8:15 (so not too long at all), the manager showed up and made the announcement: there were 42 Wiis in the store, and vouchers would be handed out at 9. The store would open at 10, at which point we'd be able to get our purchases done. The line continued to grow to about 60 people, hopeful despite themselves, but of course right at 9 about 20 left, disappointed. I was #21 out of those 42. Woo!
The rest of the time waiting passed fairly fast, as we were buoyed by our vouchers and the hot brews I made a run to Caribou Coffee for. The line was ver civil, and the folks around me were very easy to talk to. I must say that being able to pick up a unit only a week after launch was a very pleasant surprise. Kudos to Nintendo for decent quantities, and to Best Buy for a well-handled sale.
I picked up Zelda: Twilight Princess as my only launch title, and have been enjoying Wii Sports after a bit of adjustment to the controls. I think I like it, but I'll need more hands-on time to form a more solid, write-up worthy opinion.
Edit: Oh yeah, damn you Best Buy salespeople to hell for blatantly lying about Wii's internal memory in order to sell your overpriced 60 dollar 1GB SD cards. Seriously, that is low even for you. The Wii has ample space to save Wii Sports stats and Zelda progress, built-in. I'm not sure how much, but you certainly do not need a memory card right away. Sixty bucks!!!
I didn't buy one of course, but several people did. It made me sad for them. :(