Wii Whee!

Friday, June 6, 2008

While an annoying combination of Things That Happen have kept me from this blog for days and days and days, it's a Personal Triumph that returns me to it.

I decided that Wednesday would be the beginning of investigations that will eventually lead to a revamped home-entertainment environment. The whole digital-to-analog broadcast-television thing coming up in February has goaded me to visiting TV set replacement and the like. So I eyeballed (almost literally: I put my eye about two inches away from an assortment of LCD screens to look at details) sets, read descriptions of what different TVs had to offer, stood at varying distances from displays to decide what would be "too big," and so on.

At the same time, I decided to begin the process of trying to purchase something I'd mulled buying for months: a Nintendo Wii. I don't play most games. Life is short enough without activities that leave you where you began. But a few games provide a bonus that makes worthwhile the time you've invested. I've found Out of the Box's Apples to Apples and Cineplexity are not only fun but also enriching. (The former consists of thought-provoking non-embarrassing social interaction with friends; the latter has led to movie recommendations for films I hadn't encountered. But I digress.)

But, as is widely known, You Can't Find a Wii. So I went online to see what eBay prices looked like. And I Googled online vendors to do the same. Best price seemed to be about $375. Ouch. But, hey, my goal is to find something that makes it, if not pleasant, at least bearable to exercise. If I'm going to have a fancy environment for passive entertainment, how much better if it gets me off my duff from time to time? So I asked at the Appleton Best Buy (after deciding that a 40-42-inch LCD was probably what my goal TV should be) how one went about finding a Wii there. Can I put my name on a waiting list? How does it work?

"We advertise the console and say there are limited quantities available." Oh. So I need to watch the ads and it's first come first served? Yep.

So yesterday I asked The Invaluable Brent (who pays attention to Best Buy ads) to let me know the next time he saw a Wii advertised. Having decided to buy one, I figured I would simply make a concerted effort to acquire it. Brent said, "When I was at the Best Buy in Plover last night, there were a bunch of them on a table at the front of the store." The console? Not a bunch of add-ons? No way? Way. When did you see them? Last night. What time does the store open this morning? 10 a.m. -- and it was just after 9.

Surely, there'll be none left after a day on sale, but what the heck. (Brent, as we talked, made a list of area information of other possibilities, in case this didn't pan out.) Hopped in car, drove to Plover, found about a dozen consoles sitting on a table at the front of the store, grabbed one (limit was one per family, by the way), headed to the Other Wii Things to Buy display, chatted with a friendly Best Buy clerk about what good additions would be (second remote controller), threw stuff in the cart, and made for the checkout with a smile. Price was list for the item: $249.

I returned to the office to spread the word to an assortment of buddies -- and the reaction was interesting, ranging from several people who'd acquired consoles already, several people who didn't care, one person (John Jackson Miller, creator of this very website) who expressed revulsion at the idea of playing indoors when one should be active outdoors, and one person who immediately grabbed the phone to give the news to a relative who'd been looking for a console for months.

Mind you, it's now almost 24 hours later, and I still haven't opened the box. But, in the meantime, I've got two extra discs: Hudson's Deca Sports (wow, curling! woo hoo!), which seems to have enough variety of movement that I'll find something entertaining enough to stick with (remembering that the goal is exercise), and Electronic Arts' The Simpsons Game because, well, because. Hey, Maggie, life is short enough without activities that leave you where you began. D'oh!


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