Wii pre-orders

Two weeks ago I casually showed up to EB Games 5 minutes before they opened, hoping to luck out with a “Nintendo Wii”:us.wii.com pre-order. Unfortunately the last slot was taken by someone who was there over two hours earlier, and at least a couple dozen people (including me) were turned away before the store even opened.

I’m determined to get one of these consoles, and there’s something interesting about trying to get one at launch. Every day new reviews flow in to gaming blogs. I don’t see myself as a hardcore gamer, but the Wii looks like an innovative system with several fun games available at launch or shortly after.

So I called Toys R Us last night to inquire about pre-orders opening up today at 10am. He said they had 10 Wii and only 3 PS3s. Furthermore, mall security wouldn’t let anyone on the property until 4am. This would seem to limit the opportunity for all-night campers, so I was pretty hopeful as I left for the store shortly after 4am this morning.

Yes, you read that right. I have become so obsessed with this that I was willing to spend 6 hours in line. Luckily, the weather is beautiful this weekend. I packed a book, iPod, and sketchpad into my bag and left feeling pretty good, that at the least I would have some time alone to read or write or listen to music.

Wii line from phone There were already at least 20 people there when I arrived. Several in line were hoping to reserve both Wii and PS3. One made the comment that they would be selling the PS3 on Ebay, but keep the Wii for themselves. There was even someone waiting for the new Elmo doll, which made the whole scene even more bizarre.

Apparently some of the folks had been there well before 4am, probably closer to midnight or earlier. The details are sketchy, but the story I heard involves a bewildered security officer, two police cars, threat of jail time, and a mad dash at 4am to the front door. By the time I got there, the last Wii pre-order slots were being decided by a foot race across the parking lot. Seriously. Meanwhile, a second line at the exit door was setup in a futile effort by those too stubborn to admit defeat.

I finished the banana I had brought for breakfast, played a little multiplayer Nintendo DS, and left before 5am with a “good luck” and a wave to those crazy enough to get there before me. I guess I’ll try again at Best Buy or Target next month. Rumor points to “as much as 120 units available”:gonintendo.com at some stores.

Manton Reece @manton