Friday, December 08, 2006

A great wiikend part 1: buying the console

(this article has been posted at a later date)

John, Kieron and I joined a queue outside HMV's back entrance at around half eight on Thursday evening. We played some Mario Kart, including a random Dan we were standing next to in the queue. Needless to say, I won. I think.

At around half nine, they started to issue people in the queue with wristbands. The majority of the queue was formed of people who hadn't preordered, and in fact we were the first ones there who already had a guaranteed Wii. We got special silver wristbands (those given to non-preorders were white) - in fact, John got wristband number 1. After getting a wristband, we were free to go and come back by half ten - but sod that, we went straight around to the front and got into the proper queue. We were in a pretty good position - around 50 from the front.

We were supposed to be in this queue until eleven, when they would let us all into the store for a party and Wii celebration. The queue was filmed and photographed quite a bit, but mainly focussing on a group of 20-somethings a little bit ahead of us who couldn't string four coherent words together. At least it meant we didn't have to answer any of the journalists' idiotic questions. Apparently, London is a long way from London.

Eleven came and went.

At half eleven, a white bus arrived and the celebrities - Pat Cash, Ian Wright, Nell McAndrew and Ricky Hatten - got off and went inside, after being photographed lots. In fact, Nell wasn't due to be there and it was actually meant to be someone else, but obviously she was available to fill in when the other person called in sick or something.

Finally at 11:40 they started to let us in, and they filtered us into the rows between the CD racks. Once we were in these rows, they put some footage up on the big screen above the stage, and people started to try to push down the rows to get closer to the front. They tried, but they didn't manage it. Kieron, John and I can make a pretty effective barrier.

The celebrities played some tennis and boxing, but it was all evidently rushed because they were late. They had a few words with the person who was at the front of the queue, then took him over to buy his Wii, and left the rest of us behind.

Finally, 15 minutes later, they started to let some of us go over to the tills. About 10 at a time, every 10 minutes. It was therefore around 12:45 when I was finally asked what I wanted. A Wii, Zelda, Monkey Ball, Rayman, Wii Play and a nunchuk, please. They were doing a special deal meaning that the Wii plus three games and an SD card was £25 less than just the Wii and three games, so I took that. And I got one of the very limited edition Zelda tins. Only 200 ever made, and 3 of them are in our hands.

The organisation was OK, if a little sterile. Security was doing their best to stop queue jumpers, but there were still some around and what with the queue being 3 people across there was a bit of ambiguity to the ordering. When we got to the tills there was only one person running around assembling the orders, which seemed a bit daft, with six tills open. Still, at least we were early in the queue. I can't see them having finished before 4 in the morning.

We got to my car by 1:05, then drove up to Cambridge, to John's house. To bed? You must be joking. We all opened our Wiis at the same time and marvelled at the tiny size of the console, the loveliness of the remote, and the stylishness of the stand. John set his up, and turned it on. He created his Mii, then Kieron replaced John's console with his and created his Mii so that it was based on the correct Wii. I repeated this with my console. Then John put his Wii back in the stand, and we loaded up Wii Sports.

Tennis - amazing fun.
Bowling - great but Kieron's just too good.
Golf - Really difficult to get the power right, but it works well.
Baseball - possibly the best game there, and it's really satisfying to hit a home run.
Boxing - absolutely knackering but great.

By this time it was six in the morning. We went to bed.

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