I picked up my Wii on launch day after a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to camp out and wait in line for one. I agreed because I had never done the whole camping out all night thing before for a console or even movie tickets. I wasn’t too concerned about getting the Wii right away, as at the time I figured they would be widely available in shops just a few weeks later. So I went along for the adventure, and to sit on the street drinking lots of beer (perfectly legal here). We met a couple of cool Canadians, and spent hours playing four player Mario Kart on our DS’s. Was a good time, though pretty mellow. One news crew asked my friend a few questions, then we got our Wii’s and headed home to wash off the grit and get some sleep. Little did I know at that time that it would be over 7 months later before I actually saw a Wii again in a shop.
I found myself in a new area that I hadn’t been to before, and saw a Toys ‘R Us. I decided to go in and see if they had any good deals on Xbox 360 games. One advantage of the 360 selling so few units in Japan, is that Toys ‘R Us sometimes significantly reduces prices on older games! Though the selection is not great, as they won’t carry “Z” rated games, which is the same as an “AO” rating in North America. And a good amount of 360 games like Gears Of War and Crackdown get this rating. As I enter the store just as they are opening, the very first thing I see out front is an Xbox 360 display case featuring a 360 proudly pulsing with a red ring of death. Nice. I wonder how many days it’s been like that without the staff noticing.
So I get to the games section after very briefly debating on buying one of those ultra mini remote control helicopters. The first thing I notice is that the Wii display doesn’t have a prominent sold out sign slapped across it. “How odd” I muse to myself. Closer examination reveals yellow slips in the pouch suggesting the store might actually have Wii’s in stock. Then I spot her. A fairly young mother at the pickup counter scowling and tapping a copy of Wii Play. Then suddenly a clerk emerges from the back room carrying a brand new Wii. He plops if down on the counter and begins stamping some receipts. The woman give the box a once over, and goes back to tapping her game on the counter. Well I am sure some little boy or girl will be having a great time racing cows at her house tonight. To top off this odd day, I even spotted DS Lites in stock! Another wild animal I had yet to see until today. They even had the new colours, Metallic Rose and Gloss Silver.
Is this the turn? Will Nintendo actually have stock on store shelves in Japan over the summer? Maybe a bit early to say. Only every second person I see is carrying a DS Lite, so there is a way to go yet! After seeing my first Wii in the wild since launch day, I get home and brush the dust off my own. I look at it for a moment, and think about booting it up. Naw.. Maybe tomorrow.