I went to the same place I bought a PS3 at three weeks earlier, a Yodobashi Camera in Shinjuku. I arrived at around the same time I did for the PS3 (5pm Friday) but to a completely different atmosphere from the scene three weeks ago. There were maybe 20 people or so hanging around the PS3 demo kiosks and not a hint of disorder or excitement that increased exponentially thoughout the night for the PS3. I walk into the store, find the lone Wii kiosk and read the sign: "Wii will be sold at 7am 12/2. For those who will be lining up, we will begin at 8pm." Ahh so that's why! There was no such system used for the PS3 launch so everyone was kind of forced to stick around until the white-vested Yodobashi minions planted a stake into the cement to officially commence the all night geek out.
So I scurried along to go kill a few hours (and that's a whole 'nother story in itself) and arrive back at 7:45. The crowd has increased...but only by about 20 people. What the fuck? Ads on every damn train station, every commercial break and the power of the DS lite couldn't draw more than 40 people to stay out overnight? The white-vest says to go to the other side of the building and start the line. I praddle along with my Big Mac value meal and watch as a few make a valiant sprint for the starting line. As I turn the corner, however, I see a line bigger than 40 people. In fact quite a packed line it was and as I walk by it and its size increased, my feet picked up the pace and the mutterings of "fucking damnit!" began. Where were all these people before? Why'd they get to line up so early? Rather than assault a white-vest with a greasy big mac I decide to just let it go and rest it all on the fact that this place should be getting thousands of Wii's.
What didn't hurt were the two cute Japanese girls in front of me in the line. DS's in hand playing Pokemon and Mario Kart on and off, these girls hinted at that wider demographic Nintendo's all about fellating nowadays. In fact there were quite a lot of girls...and they weren't even Chinese girls standing next to one Chinese dude hoping to make a killing off of Yahoo Auctioning this shit (which, yes, were the people I was next to for the PS3 launch, and no I don't mean to be racist by mentioning this). There were old people and a lot of middle aged women. Still a fair share of otaku-geeks but nowhere near the cock rockin' line of the PS3.
I load up the DS and hit the pictochat to see if anyone is on. There are a couple and unlike three weeks ago they're excited and talking about stuff. People wanted Zelda and Wii Sports it seemed. They were also raving about Blue Dragon and how they wanted a 360, I shit you not. When I told them I had a 360 they freaked out and told me how cool that is. Maybe these were just the hardcore gamers but I still found it quite a shock to hear this. Watch out next week for 360 console and Blue Dragon sales, it's the last push MIcrosoft is gonna have here before its fate is sealed...maybe.
Around 10:30 the line starts moving....huh? Moving? Midnight launch surprise, ftw? No actually, they were passing out the Wii tickets and launch item stock list; grab your ticket and come back tomorrow and pick it up. Anytime tomorrow. Sleep all fucking day if you want, your Wii will be protected in our Trojan guarded defense facilities. Fuck yes! No delusional 4am twitching, no MacDonald's bathroom runs! It turns out the reasoning might have to do with the changing weather. 3 weeks ago I braved the Tokyo fall with only a light sweater but last night despite the addition of a long sleeved shirt and a beanie I was getting the shivering shakes real bad. Frozen customers can't buy nothing as Matt and Trey taught us.
I return the next day at 10pm. Maybe about 4 or 5 people waiting in line. I hand them the list of the stuff I want (apparently the Nunchuk, Classic Controller, and Wii Remote w/o Wii Play aren't on sale yet) and get the machine, a Remote and COMPONENT CABLES(haha!) for about $300. No pushing, no sleeplessness. The fun and simple theme of the Wii carried on through to the Japan launch.
And if you're wondering why I got not games, well this isn't my system you see. I bought it for a friend and only the remote and component cables are mine. I get to stand in yet another line in a few days when I return to the states to get myself an ass hauling, freedom fighting, American Wii. I can only hope it'll go this smoothly.