This weekend a co-worker and I met outside the local Best Buy around 4:30
Saturday afternoon to set up his tent. You see, Saturday was
Nintendo Wii launch eve, and we were determined to leave Sunday
morning with one for each of us. It turns out that at 4:30 we
were already as far back as number 17 in a quickly growing line.
The evening started out fair enough; the temperatures were running a balmy
38 and a light breeze was helping to keep the large collection of
nerds free from the scents of cigarette smoke and eagerness.
Occasionally, families would drive by the assembled tents to, in theory, illustrate to their children what happens when you play too many video
What was more interesting, by far, was the people who drove by after
midnight, asking those of us at the front of the line whether we knew
the status of lines at other retailers about town. Apparently these people
assumed that the act of standing in line outside a building empowered us
with us with abilities akin to super powers and could ask our fellow
brethren how their lines were looking. But strangely, we did manage to
have information for them, thanks to other visitors who seemed to get a
kick outta driving around town to drop off information – they’d stop by, ask how we were doing, and then share the status of the lines over at
Target, or Wal-Mart.
All of these visits were nice for us, as anything that could take our
minds off the now sub-30 temps (with a wind chill, I don’t even want to
think about) was definitely a positive thing. Eventually, the visitors
stopped showing up, and the wind (and snow!) started to really punish
The line was now wrapped around the corner of the building, but it was beginning to get difficult to find
people to interact with. Most of the batteries on our DS systems had
either died, or fingers were now too cold to even pretend to enjoy
playing the games. Cards had similarly lost their appeal, and we had
already run through all the fun ‘I spy’ objects we could find. The Hard
Wait, had begun. Most of us either pulled up our cars to sit in and
enjoy some heat, or huddled in tents, wrapped up in assortments of
blankets and sleeping bags. Morning couldn’t come fast enough.
Inevitably morning did manage to grace us with her presence. As the sun
came up, and employees started to arrive; cold and exhausted campers
started to emerge from nylon fortresses, blinking into the snowy
morning. A couple hours, later Best Buy representatives braved the
morning chill to come outside and hand out our official Wii tickets, the
thin piece of paper that granted everyone present the chance to purchase
their object of desire. The final hour of waiting passed like molasses
running down a block of dry-ice.
Eventually the hour struck, and unceremoniously the herd was allowed
entrance, with a terse, but unfelt, “Come on in.” the
game was afoot. One by one we entered, and picked up the implements we
had talked about all night: controllers, games, and other accessories.
At the end of the line, we were each handed our very own system. Newest
toy firmly in my hands, I bid fairwell to the friends I had made over
the last 18 hours and hurried home to test it out.
As I sat on my couch, slowly warming back up, I began to wonder if it
was all worth it. I only managed to stay awake and play for another hour, but now
that the whole experience is behind me, I can only wonder how I could
have ever doubted not only the value of a story that I’ll forever get to
tell friends and family, but also the joy of playing with a
system that I am now convinced is very revolutionary.