Much has been made of the "peaceful" Wii fans but I am sad to say I have something different to report.
Adriana and I waited in line for two hours yesterday for our Wii at the Nintendo Store, but the experience was anything but peaceful. The Nintendo World employees were anything but polite. Instead, they were mocking the folks in line, reporting with glee that we had little chance of getting in the store, and a friend told me that some of the employees were bragging about preferring the Xbox 360!
After we had waited in line for almost two hours, Nintendo World closed the store early (at 5:30) and instead of making the announcement themselves, the Nintendo World employees sent Rockefeller Center security out to intimidate the crowd into dispersing. It was surreal - on what should have been Nintendo World's finest day, they were closing early and sending out fake police to scare away their customers.
A little background here - Nintendo World used to be the Pokémon Store, which was primarily devoted to Pokémon games, cards and dolls. As that trend faded Nintendo made the decision to stop managing the store. They contracted a third party to run their retail operations and rebranded the location as Nintendo World. This makes a lot of sense, but the reality is that the store (which he visit 3 or 4 times a year) is simply less fun than it used to be.
There were definitely some mitigating factors. Adriana and I were polite and quiet, but we felt many of our compatriots in line were loud, disrespectful and obnoxious. It's not surprising that we've grown out of the "first day video console" crowd, but it's a little sad. I understood why the Nintendo World employees felt antagonistic about the loudmouths in line, but they handled the situation very poorly - arbitrarily letting people skip the line, and mocking people who remained in line. If Nintendo wants to be the console choice for adults, they should treat their fans as adults.
Adriana and I showed up at the store again at 9 morning, enjoyed complimentary coffee and donuts, and left with our wii, extra controllers and the choice games about thirty minutes later. It was orderly and pleasant, and most people in line were wearing pearls or a suit and tie. It was 180 degrees different than our experience on Sunday.
Make no mistake. Nintendo and Sony fans are equally capable of being loudmouthed boneheads, and fun is not necessarily written into their DNA. I am also psyched to play Zelda tonight, so no hard feelings.