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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Wii are family: The things I do for the women in my life

It's now almost 2 weeks since Christmas, and Lisa is happily playing her new Nintendo Wii.

Yes folks, we have a Wii. And my sister does too!

How did it happen? The Thursday night before Christmas, I went to a GameStop store in Greensboro, where they were due to begin selling vouchers the next day for the Wii (which might have been the hottest item of Christmas 2007). The plan was that you buy the voucher, and your Wii comes in on January 25th. I figured hey, if it's 4 weeks after Christmas that's still okay.

So I got to the store, and lo and behold the nice associates told me that they had some Wiis in stock, that they were going to start selling the next morning.

"I'm not going anywhere," I told them. "I'm gonna be camping outside all night until you guys open tomorrow morning, if that's okay." They said it was fine, and after they left for the night they told me to stay warm and dry (it wasn't quite freezing, but it was cold and due to rain as the night progressed).

I was alone until about 1 a.m. that Friday morning, when another dude who'd come into the store that night arrived to also camp out so that he could get a Wii for his 9-year old son. A few hours later we were joined by two ladies (including one who was getting a Wii for her 67-year old father). Over the course of the next several hours, a few others arrived. The last on the scene before the store opened was a guy from Eden who told us that he and his wife had hit every store between Winston-Salem and Raleigh trying to find a Wii for his grandson.

Just after 8:30 a.m., the GameStop associate who had come to open the store told us that he could start taking us one at at a time, and that they had 11 Wiis that they could sell. And it just so happened that there were exactly 11 people waiting to buy a Wii in line. I was the first through the door, bought the Wii, and exited amid much cheering from my fellow campers! The grandfather from Eden bought the last one.

As soon as I had Lisa's Wii in my car trunk, I got back in line to get a voucher for my sister (they were limiting Wii purchases to one per person, the same with the vouchers). Even these were limited in number. I bought the voucher, and a few days later put it in a small box, wrapped that, and then put it in a series of several other wrapped boxes. When Anita finally got them all open on Christmas morning, there was a Wii voucher for her. But she didn't have to wait so long for it to be redeemed. A few days later, her Wii had already arrived. I delivered it to her during this past weekend.

So how is it? I haven't had much chance to use it so far, 'cuz I've been so busy with other things. But the Nintendo Wii might be the most immersive, challenging and fun video game system that I've ever played with. Lisa is absolutely loving Super Mario Galaxy, and I'm having a ball with Wii Sports (the Boxing game really gives you a strenuous workout!). The Wii also connects to the Internet via our wireless router, and you can check out news and weather when it's on, and even buy new games (that are saved on an SD flash card) through an online Nintendo store. I think Anita was really looking forward to playing with her Wii too: she's a physical therapy doctor, and she's been reading a lot of material about how the Wii is an excellent therapeutic tool.

The Wii wasn't the only video game system we ended up with for Christmas: through circumstances beyond my control (though I'm not regretting it at all), we also received an Xbox 360. So now I can finally play Halo 3 and see how that story wraps up (the ending of Halo 2 is still one of the most frustrating things I've ever seen in any video game). It also came with the Xbox 360 version of Marvel Ultimate Alliance, which I played on the original Xbox last year and it became one of my favorite video games ever. I think Lisa wants us to get Rock Band sometime so that we can jam in our living room, especially when we have friends over.

Now if I can only figure out which system I want to play Star Wars: The Force Unleashed on when it comes out in a few months. Gotta admit: the Wii's ability to swing a lightsaber makes that version pretty tempting... :-)