Of all the things that could have dragged me into the blagosphere...
I just don't get it. I'm not much of a gamer. Why did I have such a debilitating case of Wii-envy last week? No matter... Target had plenty Sunday morning, if you were willing to get there a little early. I got up at 3, feeling a little silly about the whole thing. My vague goal was to get there before 5, but I couldn't really imagine not being the first one there. After all, it's two weeks since launch! I took my borrowed copy of Godel, Escher, Bach, figuring I'd spend most of the morning sitting in the car reading. Well, there were plenty there. Some folks had been there since 10 the previous night. I ended up getting ticket 19. 18 was an employee from that Target who knew that there were 42 systems, which was reassuring.
Met some cool folks in line (and a friendly but somewhat intense fellow who writes for GamePolitics.com). One guy a few places back declared "OK, this is officially the nerdiest thing I've ever done." I've made one too many math jokes to agree with that, but I understood the sentiment. He couldn't convince any of his friends to accompany him, but I'll bet he'll have no trouble getting them to play with the system. ;-)
Got my system + Zelda by about 8:30. They didn't have any controllers, which was a real bummer. I bought a nunchuck on Friday because I saw one and was getting really paranoid, which ended up being a good idea. No store that I'd called had Wiimotes (yes, I'm going to say Wiimote, Mr. GamePolitics.com guy!). My new line buddy Scott (number 21) suggested Toys-R-Us a little ways away. Seemed like a good idea, considering they opened a 9 so we might have a chance of sneaking past the console line to get to the accessories before they sold out.
What struck me about Toys-R-Us was how little they cared about the people in the line. At Target, we had a guy come out some time between 5:30 and 6 to let us know exactly how many systems there were, that there were plenty of games, and that they had no extra controllers. This allowed us to plan. He came out periodically (even after he handed the tickets out at 7 so we could all go grab coffee) to check on us, and to let people at the end of the line know that if they were number 43 or later, they wouldn't be getting a Wii. When it was time to get our systems at 8, we all lined up outside in numerical order. He let us in 10-12 at a time, and once he got word that the previous group had their systems and was out of the electronics department, the rest of us could go. It was very smooth and controlled.
Scott and I got to Toys-R-Us a little after 8:30. The line was long, and growing. The people up front told us that they had already handed out tickets (for 30ish systems). But nobody was letting the 20+ folks at the back of the line know this. I went back there and told them, but about half stayed (probably didn't trust a random guy hanging out at the front of the line -- without being in the line). At 9 :05 Toys-R-Us finally opened, and they basically just opened the doors and let us all rush back to the video game department. I got there pretty quick and grabbed two Wiimotes (there were only 4 sitting on the table, and I didn't want to risk anything). Scott got there an instant after me, and was glad I'd snagged him a Wiimote since the others had already disappeared. As he was reaching for the last nunchuck somebody else snatched it. Nobody was really interested in the classic controllers (I have GameCube controllers, personally).
I felt bad about grabbing controllers that probably should have gone to the folks who were waiting in that line, but this is a social system, and it would be useless to me if I couldn't play my wife in Wii Sports tennis. Incidentally, Ellery really enjoyed it. She destroyed me in boxing. Now if only I could figure out how the hell to catch a fish in Zelda...
If anyone knows me and wants to be Wii friends, my code is 3586 5381 2329 2184.