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Wii Report from Bloomington

November 17th might have been the launch of Sony’s PlayStation 3, but it was also the day that Bloomingtonians started getting ready for the big Wiikend. Best Buy was surrounded by PlayStation 3 hopefuls in tents as early as Wednesday night, and the only time throughout the weekend that the store wasn’t seized was very early Saturday morning. Slowly Nintendo fans started flooding the sidewalk out front with tents, chairs, blankets, and Nintendo DSs. Before it was all said and done on November 19th, more than 60 people were stationed out front to get their hands on a Nintendo Wii.

Bloomington’s Target also saw a huge showing, with about 25 people lining up outside. Interestingly, Bloomington’s College Mall doesn’t allow tents or similar structures, so these Nintendo fans were sitting on the cold ground with nothing but blankets to keep them warm from the brisk 35 degree wind. Inside College Mall, where it was much warmer, almost 30 people flooded Electronics Boutique, despite the local store’s allocation of 12 Nintendo Wii units. Customers brought friends to the big event and the atmosphere was as excited as Christmas morning.

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Midnight, November 19th rolled around and cash registers began cha-chinging as happy Wii owners began heading back home with their $249.99 next-generation console. At Electronics Boutique, where I purchased my unit, games were flying off of the shelves and all but one accessory was pre-purchased, leaving nothing but a $5.99 rubber pink Wiimote cover hanging on a lone metal hanger. Virtual Console (“Classic”) controllers, Virtual Point cards, component cables, and SD Memory Cards were nowhere to be found.

Almost all of the units were pre-purchased and pre-bagged by the Electronics Boutique staff, and it was interesting to note that most customers walked out of the store with more than one piece of Wii software. Hot titles included Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess, which was purchased by almost everyone; Red Steel, Rayman: Raving Rabbids, Call Of Duty 3, and Excite Truck. Trauma Center: Second Opinion was in such low stock that only a handful of copies were available, and as the fourth person in line, I made sure to snag one.

An interesting note is that Best Buy and Target didn’t open their doors at midnight and devoted customers had to wait almost eight more hours to recieve their new console than customers who pre-ordered from the Electronics Boutique and GameStop stores located in College Mall. Though these are unconfirmed figures, Best Buy sold all of their 45 units, Target all of their 30 units, EB and GameStop all of their 12 pre-ordered units, and Wal-Mart all of their 20 units. All stores were sold out within minutes of opening. In conclusion, it’s safe to say that in Bloomington alone on November 19th, at least 100 people were playing their Nintendo Wii before dawn.