Monday, November 27, 2006

Weee! I mean, Wii!

So my mother has some crazy awesome instant karma. (Instant in that she is rewarded in this life rather than the next.) I swear to God, she must have saved a bus load of attractive orphans or something. But first, some back story...

Mom listens to a lot of NPR, as does anyone I know with a long commute. On NPR last week they interviewed some guy about the new Nintendo Wii. Mom listened intently and was first intrigued, then interested, then finally, by the time she got home, intent on owning one of her very own. "I want to get a Wii," she said. "Where can we get one?" Aren and Pete and I explained that they were all sold out everywhere. Maybe she heard this on NPR as well, but we kept repeating ourselves that as much as she might want one, there was not one to be had. She checked the websites of Best Buy, Costco, Amazon and others but to no avail. I pointed out that for a little over retail (or sometimes a lot over retail) she could get one via eBay or Craig's List. But the eBay ones were all going for way too much money and the Craig's List ones were all probably stolen. Mom seemed to give up.

But in fact that was a facade! She spent her Friday morning rechecking websites and reading forums to see if she could get the fabled product. On one forum she found a lead: Toys'R'Us was rumored to have consoles, but the poster wasn't sure if that was true or if they had any left. Mom asked if I'd like to accompany her on a fool's errand and trek out to the Toys'R'Us at Jansen Beach on the busiest shopping day of the year. I said, "Sure," because I didn't have anything else to do, and chatting with my mother in the car for a couple of hours stuck in traffic seemed like more fun than watching my brother and Pete play Halo 2.

Jansen Beach was surprisingly calm. There was a lot of traffic - backed up almost to Delta Park on that long roller-coastery road that runs to the North of the shopping center - and getting into the main parking area was kind of a bear, but we found parking easily enough. Toys'R'Us wasn't even completely insane. This is probably mostly because it was 11 am and they'd already had their rush of bargain-hunting-crazies. We found a Wii-related product display pretty quickly, but there was no mention of the availablility of the actual consoles. Mom grabbed the first staff person she saw and asked if they had any Wiis left, and the girl looked hesitant and said, "I don't know. Hold on, I'll ask. Um, follow me." She walked us back to the video game section, all the while trying to get an answer to our question on her headset. When we got to the video game section - which those of you familiar with Toys'R'Us may recall is just vast walls covered in video game cover pictures in little vinyl covers below which hang little vinyl pockets filled with paper tickets baring the name of the game, the console it's for and the price - the girl we were following accosted another lady who worked that section specifically and asked if they had any Wiis left. The woman held out two pages of tickets - about six per page - that she was about to tear apart along their perferated lines. "Right here - just got 'em out! You want one?"
Mom: "Yes!"
Toys'R'Us Lady: "They're a package deal - you have to buy a game."
Mom: "That's okay!"

I guess that Toys'R'Us had extra Wiis that they were initially going to hold in reserve but then decided to release. One employee said that they had "just gotten them in," while another said that they were pre-ordered Wiis whose orderers had flaked. All I know is that Mom's crazy amazing timing got her the first tear off the ticket sheet.

Toys'R'Us did not have any extra Wiimotes (which Pete claims is their actual name, although I think he's making it up). We went to the Hollywood Fred Meyer (bust) and its adjacent Game Crazy where it was suggested that although they were all out, Target had had the remotes that morning. So, from NE Portland we headed out to the only non-crappy Target we could think of, in Beaverton. The Beaverton Target did indeed have remotes, and we got one and the last nunchuk controller too. When we went to pay for them, the girl at the counter said, "Oh, we must have gotten more in! We were all sold out like two hours ago." Again, Mom's crazy instant karma! Right place, right time!

While we were out, Mom got three games - Zelda, Excite Truck and Rayman & the Rabbids. And of course the Wii comes with Wii Sports. After trying out Wii Sports, Pete and I headed out to get two more remotes because it was obvious to everyone that we must play doubles tennis. And that's what I've been doing ever since. Aren and Pete and I were up until 2 or 3 in the morning Friday night/Saturday morning. When I got up around 11 on Saturday, my right arm ached like you wouldn't believe. But did that stop me? Hell no! I spent most of Saturday playing Wii sports or watching various other games be played. Today, much similar, except that I'm pretty sure I can no longer lift my right arm.

I highly recommend the Wii. You could buy two of them for the cost of a PS3. Sure, there are no hi-def graphics, but who the hell cares? You can play tennis, baseball or golf by making a real swinging motion! You can bowl! You can do all of this without leaving your house! Everyone should own one. Or two. Yeah... two... Then I could have a Mii on each one and do the Wii Fitness twice a day...


Anonymous said...

I seethe with jealousy! Seethe!
I found out that the Wiis are regional encoded (boo!) which means that if I were to acquire one here in the Distant Orient, it would not play Eigo no video game. I think that's how you say "English language video games." I think. I could be totally off base here.
Anyway, I hope you have fun playing with your Wii. (hehe... "playing with your Wii..." hehe) Don't be like the idiots who have apparently lost their grip on the controller and accidentally hurled it at their television screen.
Ok, back to seething.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I heard that NPR Wii story too! On my long commute. They did make it sound pretty fun, but they didn't mention the nunchuck controller!

Anonymous said...

I just played one for the first time last night. By gods is that thing fun. I'm apparently a natural at boxing, which I suppose means I have some useful skills in life. :-)

Anonymous said...

My envy is only that you will get to play Zelda by actually swinging your remote as a sword. How cool is that? And now people can no longer make fun when you lean over as you move characters around - it actually helps!