The alarm clock blared from the bedroom. I started to get up then wisely decided against it. Shit. I’d fallen asleep. I turned my head to the TV, from where I lay on the couch I could see that Slither was still playing. In my blurry vision Grant Grant sliced a man in half with a tentacle.

It was 5:30.

The alarm clock rang a few more times.

She’s gotta get it, I thought. But it didn’t turn off. Finally, I jumped up, cursed my aching head, and jumped over my sleeping girlfriend to slap the alarm off.

Baby- I gently murmured. Babes- you gotta get up.

Huh?

He’s gonna be here in 10 minutes to pick us up.

Huh?

We’re going to get the Wii!

(groan)

Yes, I woke up at 5:30 on a Sunday to get a Nintendo Wii.


Waking up early to get a new system isn’t the brightest idea in the world when you’ve just thrown a party the night before. The night consisted of Guitar Hero 2, Donkey Konga, and 42nd Street Forever Volume 2- and was a blast, as the 2 bags full of bottles of beer, wine, and liquor that were leaking onto my kitchen floor attested to. I laid down after my last friend left at 4:30 after watching a few Tales from The Crypt episodes, planning on just watching Slither till it was time to leave in the morning but didn’t make it. The half hour I slept only made me more tired.

Still half-drunk, exhausted, but still somehow excited- we piled into my friend’s car and headed to Target.

We got there around 6:20 to find a big line already started. Walking to the back we were approached by a typical looking nerdock who asked us how many systems we planned on getting. 2, we replied. He stared upwards a second as if computing something and said "Uh, that’s 90!" – walking onwards and thankfully out of our lives.

We secured our place on line and my girl got us something to eat and drink while my friend played DS and exchanged pleasantries with the inquisitive people in line on Pictochat (Do you want to touch my Wii!? Are you gay? etc.) In the dreamlike stupor of the morning I’d forgotten to bring my system, so I smoked cigarettes and talked to the people around us about all manner of fun things- from the Preacher comics to DS games to the PS3 riots. My girl shook her head and wondered how she ended up with this guy who took her to such geeky things- video game lines and horror conventions. She loves it, though. Everyone on line was very chill, even more so when a rep from the store came out and handed out tickets. There were 110 systems for Target, and over a hundred more for Best Buy. There was one line, so most people were in luck. We were numbers 90 and 91 on line.

As they started bringing people in by the 10s to buy systems more and more people tried to get to the line- it was pretty enormous at this point. We’d now been waiting on the line almost 2 hours- and were almost to the front. We finally got to leave the outside cold and go into the store- only to wait on another line in there. That one went fast though, although there was a moment of horror when a man walked by crying, exclaiming "Zelda! There’s no Zelda!" The crowd grabbed him by the shoulders and shouted "Good God man, what happened!" while he shook his head and tried to quell his tears. Alright, it didn’t happen like that, but the guy was right- there was no more Zelda. For some inane reason they only had a couple dozen copies of it for their 110 systems. Damn. Luckily I’d bought Rayman the day before, so I’d have something to tide me over between Wii Sports matches.

We bought the system and an extra controller and nunchuck, courtesy my girl’s credit card. Ahhh, credit cards.

The box is pretty tiny- maybe about the size of an Xbox system and 1/4 the weight. I couldn’t help it and ripped it open in the car, checking out all of the little pieces and dreaming of the goodness within.

At this point it was around 10 in the morning. We were all beat, I had said repeatedly how I was going to go home and pass out- but when I got there- the little Wii called to me. I hurriedly set it up, putting it on its cute little stand and placing the sensor bar on top of my TV- before going into all the Internet options.

It’s a little disappointing that Nintendo doesn’t have its shit together as far as the internet is concerned. The much anticipated (hah!) weather and news channels have been pushed back (December and January, respectively), and the Opera web browser that’s supposed to let us access the internet for free has been delayed indefinitely. It’s not such a bad deal since if you’ve got a computer (you do have a computer, right?) you can do all of these things- but it still would’ve been nice.


The Virtual Console is up and running though, and you do have the option to download classic videogames into your system to play them right away- classics from the NES, SNES, Genesis and N64- so far. Turbografx 16 is on the way (Bonk!) along with lots more titles- supposedly they’ll be updating them every week. You can use the Wii Remote (I’d sooner be fucked in the ass than say Wiimote) and turn it sideways to play NES and TG-16 titles- but for the rest you’re going to need something else. If you’ve already got a gamecube controller it’ll work fine- but if you want something special you can buy the classic controller for the Wii, which’ll run you 20 bucks. I didn’t get one since I don’t really care about downloading too many games (I’ve still got the originals of most of those!) but it’s an option for those of you passionate about playing these games. The one fault I can see immediately is that it has to be connected to the Remote- much like the Nunchuck. Lame.

Besides the VC, one other thing that made it is the option to enter friends into your address book. If you do some searching in your little message center, you’ll notice that your Wii has a unique ID, similar to those goddamn friend codes on the DS. Thankfully this system doesn’t have a different one for each game. Enter a friend’s code, and you’ll be able to message him once he adds you. One problem with this is that there’s no notification when someone adds you, and the organization of it on a whole is a little clunky, but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed in new firmware updates. I didn’t get a chance to try out the message system till my friend woke up hours later, but we were able to all send each other messages and even our Miis.

Miis? Yep. A Mii is a little character you can create through the cleverly titled Mii Channel. You can use them as your avatar, and create pretty much anyone you can think of- there’s literally thousands of combinations you can use to make someone’s face. The look of the Miis is very simplistic, but it’s entirely possibly to make one that looks like you. Mine does.


No, that’s not mine. Smartass.


You can trade them with your friends either by shooting them over the internet or by locking them genie-style into your remote so you can bring them (up to 10) over to a friend’s house. You have a stable of Miis that you can view in the channel- and you can collect up to a hundred of them. There’s also a Mii parade section where people’s Mii’s who’re allowed to travel (there’s an option when you create them) show up once in a while. See, the Wii is always online. Every once in a while the disc drive will flash blue light and you’ll scream and try to destroy the machine with a sledgehammer because it’s becoming self-aware, but it’s really just accessing the internet. Good ol’ Wifi. The internet connection setup was painless, by the way- especially since the Wifi USB card I bought for my DS also worked for my Wii. In any case, the Mii’s are a fun option- especially because they’ll randomly show up in Wii Sports. This might lead to some stressed relationships though, because one of my friends seems to always fuck up when he’s batting….

It’s probably around the time that I turned on Wii Sports that I realized that I wasn’t tired any more, and yeah, I was going to keep playing this system.

The rest of the day consisted of Wii Sports and Rayman, and for those who say gamers are too lazy to enjoy the Wii- well, let’s hope that’s not the case. I went to bed utterly exhausted, sore from playing, and thoroughly entertained. I can’t remember the last time a system has captured my interest for this long after getting it- I played it for 10 hours straight- having friends come over and indulging in the awesome multiplayer modes of both games.


A couple notes about this- yes, I own most every Nintendo system that’s come out- but I’m no fanboy. I might’ve waited on line early, but at least I didn’t camp out. That’s my reasoning, at least. I’ve wanted to play the Wii since I heard about it, but I’m honest with my words- and if I didn’t enjoy my experience with the system you’d have heard about it. I’ve never been this excited about the future of a system, ever, and even though I’ve only had it for 2 days as of this writing, I don’t see an end to this. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the future- and just can’t wait till Nintendo draws the rest of its plans to a close- so we can get some honest to god online multiplayer games and all the capabilities finally unlocked.

It’s a good time to be a gamer. Good luck getting a Wii- and if you do- maybe I’ll see you (or your Mii) online.