How I Spent November 4th: Standing Outside Nintendo World
As Soccer Moms Played With The Wii
Peter Tatara - November 5, 2006
I don't start a day without visiting my pretend internet friends at Kotaku.com. It's a fine video game blog filled with breaking news, in-depth interviews, and lots and lots of cussing. A few days back, Kotaku mentioned the Manhattan Nintendo World Store would have playable Wiis starting November 4th. I immediately canceled my very important weekend plans and started packing to head down to Nintendo World.
Well, November 4th was yesterday. Clad in a suit coat and knit hat and armed with a digital camera, I went to the Nintendo World Store to try to get a look at and perhaps even play the Wii. I had done both a few weeks prior at New York City's DigitalLife Expo, playing Elebits for a few minutes, but found the experience fell far short of what early previews had promised. (Which was, basically, that playing with the Wii is like sex with your girlfriend on your birthday -- when, you know, she does that thing you like.) I blamed the way the unit was set up at DigitalLife and headed to the Nintendo World Store for, I hoped, some 29MHz fellatio. Silly me, expecting to be able to just walk into the store, found a line wrapped around the building and down the street -- easily 200 or more people long. Actually, "people" is too general a term. As I headed toward the back of the line, I couldn't help but notice everyone standing outside was a rather portly guy with either an anime or video game T-Shirt clinging tightly to his gut.
Wasn't Nintendo's aim with the Wii to bring video gaming back to the masses? Why weren't kids, moms, and dads in this line? How come there wasn't a single girl? (Kotaku told me girls played games now -- often in only a pink bra and panties!) After I asked a guy holding a DS Lite clearly closer than he's ever held a woman how long he'd been waiting, he let me know he'd been outside the store for over an hour and hadn't really moved more than a step or two.
I went to the Nintendo Store with a non-gamer friend who was interested in the Wii, but he had no desire in camping out to play the thing for a few seconds. We started to head back. I noticed, then, looking through the store's windows, the line extended into Nintendo World, a snake of people twisting up and down the store's floor for a chance to spend a few moments with Wii Sports. I sighed. Wii Sports? Come on, Nintendo, there are people lining up in the cold to play with your new toy -- and after their wait you let 'em try out Wii Sports? I sighed again.
(In Nintendo's defense, they did have some monitors showing Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess -- a single, static screenshot of Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.)
Then, as I approached the front of the line and a Nintendo World worker, I saw something. A mom. With two kids. She asked if this was where they were displaying the Wii. The worker nodded. He let her in. I looked back inside at the folks playing Wii Sports. While there were some stereotypical gamers in there, I realized there were also women and children. Was Nintendo forcing gamers -- guys who they had no need to pitch the Wii to -- to wait outside while they were letting soccer moms and other potential new customers right into the store?
I walked up to the Nintendo World worker to ask if this was the case, but felt being accusatory would mean no Wii for me today. I pondered telling him I was with Kotaku, but figured the Kotaku crew already hit up the store at 9 AM. Ultimately, I told the worker I didn't want to play the Wii, instead wanting to go in to buy a DS game. It didn't work. I said the game was for my girlfriend. He didn't care. I said I'd call her up to prove that she's real. The worker told me to wait at the end of the line.
I thanked the man and saw Borat instead.