Wii Hunting

Shhh… be vewy vewy quiet. I’m hunting Wiimotes…

It was, admittedly, funnier in my head. Still, you should laugh; I’ll wait.

This post is about how weak I am. How easily I cave. How unable I am to withstand temptation. I admit it up front.

The Nintendo Wii was released on Sunday. Mandrina and I, as previously mentioned, went antiquing all day; I had decided I didn’t want to go Wii-hunting in the AM, despite some rather clever suggestions from Jeremy as to where I should go to look. Antiquing was frustrating and depressing. I elected on our way home to try to find a Wii.

Mandrina had never sought out a console on release day. She couldn’t understand exactly how hard finding one was going to be. Fortunately, after a certain point, she started thinking it was a fun adventure, rather than as frustrating as I did. We started in Bothell, at the Fred Meyer near where our old apartment was. Mandrina insisted I ask after we couldn’t find it just by looking. I could tell the sales girl was trying hard not to laugh when I asked: they, of course, were sold out.

We hit effectively every store going north from Lynnwood to Everett. Gamestops, Toys ‘R Us, Fred Meyer’s, Target’s — all visited with equal levels of success: none. There was a bit of laughter. Mind you, this was, on top of everything, at about 7:00pm on a SUNDAY. Very few stores were open, to begin with, and no one — of course — had any Wiis left. Most places had sold out at preorder — a few thought they would be getting some in before Friday, but that was it. The only Wii accessory I could find was the Wiimote cover. Makes it easier to grasp, or some such. More important for me going forward would be the fact that it would end up color coded, to make it clear which was which.

It was somewhat irritating; I regretted getting my hopes up. Mandrina couldn’t understand the fascination; she was surprised that it had sold out. Intellectually she had accepted that the PS3 was sold out, and the Tickle-Me-Elmo fiasco from a few years back; she just hadn’t quite grasped just what that meant (tune in for my next post in which she expresses surprise over how much video games cost). I knew what it meant; I had let myself get somewhat hopeful that I might “get lucky” — find the one store no one else in the area had thought of.

I live in Geek Central. No way there was such a place.

So we went home; I decided I would not buy a Wii anyway until I had finished the games I already had in the house; or, rather, those I deemed important: beat Ganon in both Wind Waker and Ocarina of Time (I’m lazy, I know), beat Prince of Persia: The Warrior Within and Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, at least play the remaining games I own and have never played — I wasn’t even including my glut of PC games. Oh, and put in a good showing on Ninja Gaiden. Not the revised version, the original.

I sent a few emails back and forth with the one person who I knew had been successful in finding a Wii on release date — Jamie and her boyfriend Jeremy. They had apparently picked up one of a few non-reserved Wiis at a random mall Gamestop — but in the course of finding it, they had uncovered that CostCo was supposed to be receiving them the following day, and putting them out around 7pm. *gasp*!

I decided we didn’t need one; Mandrina agreed, even though she thought it would be really neat. She offered to buy it for me as a Christmas gift, even, when I brought up the cost issue (it’s not that we’re broke, we’re just trying to pay for a wedding! (ie, we will be broke)).

Fast foward to the next day. It was a Monday. I was waiting for a build to finish at work. I brought up CostCo.com’s website, and discovered their Wii selection was sold out (big surprise). They were selling it in a bundle with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (aka, the big reason I want a Wii) and Excite Truck (aka, a game to reward Mandrina for twisting her controller while playing a driving game)… they were sold out, though, so big deal.

I hit the store locator to find out if the ones nearest me were going to be putting Wiis out at 7. Just in case. The one near my house? Nope. They might be getting them the next day (aka, Today). On a lark, I then called the original CostCo, in Kirkland, WA. “We just got them in ten minute ago. We have 48 left.” “Okay. Thanks.”

Picture me sitting at my desk. Having nothing immediate to do. Picture me scribbling “BBS” (Be Back Soon, not Bulletin Board System, just to be clear) on a Post-It note. Picture me leaving my office at a fast walk, trying to figure out which route would be best at 1:50 in the afternoon to get to Kirkland as fast as possible.

I took it as a sign, okay?

I got there, and it was PACKED. Apparently, the week before Thanksgiving on a Monday afternoon is a popular time to be shopping for food, or some such. Okay, I get it, it’s good when you have massive amounts of guests. Yay quantity!

I took the first parking spot I found; about as far away as you could get from the door while still in the main parking lot. I walked across, trying to avoid becoming a victim of vehicular manslaughter — it was, for the record, harder than one might think. People are idiots. I’m sure you’ve all heard this before.

I got into the store, and cut diagonally to where video games are.

Were. Where video games were.

Instead, there were lines of DVD players, some fancy-schmancy TVs, a Verizon wireless booth, and some printer supplies (I didn’t see any printers, oddly enough). I also didn’t see any signs for the Wii, nor anyone carrying one.

So I accosted an employee, who pointed me back towards the front entrance. There was a group of pallets defining their own row in the store — I would have walked right by them if I hadn’t tried to be smart. The first pallet I came to? Empty of Wiis. Some packing materials still littered it. It took me a moment to notice the almost full pallet behind it.

I grabbed me a Wii. No line, no crowd — no one had known they were coming in, including the store! It hadn’t shown up on the shipping manifest of what they were expecting, it just came in.

I asked after accessories (a second controller, as there’s a second person in my house), and was told CostCo wasn’t carrying any. So I got into line to checkout, where I finally found other Wii-fans. Two people in front of me both had Nintendo Wii’s — and that was it. At which point I remembered something else, and got out of line to go find Wii games — namely, Red Steel, where the Wiimote becomes a SWORD. Dude, I was all over that action — CostCo, of course, had it cheaper than anywhere else today.

I got back into line — in a substantially longer line, but that’s okay, and paid. I got asked by a — what do you call someone who’s doing “Greeter” type work at the exit? — exiter advertising custom holiday cards; she suggested that I might want to send out holiday cards with a picture of me and my Wii. Funny.

So yay! I got a Wii! I just don’t have the wireless network working yet; it may be because I have a wireless access point hooked up to a far more powerful router, rather than just a unified unit. I’ll figure it out. I still need to post on my experiences trying to find a second Wiimote and nunchuck, as well as my review of the Wii itself.

(Edited 11/21/06 6:39pm – splitting out part of the entry behind a “More” (it was too long), and tagging it for the Wii category.)

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