The frenzy surrounding the Nintendo Wii for its initial Holiday season made for the best Christmas I will ever experience.
“You’ll each get one ticket and one ticket only.” The Nintendo Wii had just released, and I was lined up with my dad outside a Target for 6 a.m. while we waited for the ticketgiver to open up the store doors. “Your ticket is the only way you’ll get a Wii. Don’t lose your ticket or move from your spot in line, because we have a limited supply and we want to make sure that you each get one.”
It was my Thanksgiving break in 9th grade, and I knew that if I wanted to get a Wii, this was the only way. I had been waking up every day of my break, sometimes around 4 or 5 a.m., calling and asking the local Target stockroom team if they had received a restocking shipment of their Nintendo Wii consoles yet.
See for many, this Holiday frenzy took place in 1996 with the Nintendo 64. I was a mere four years old at the time, and although I do remember being enamored with games like Super Smash Bros., The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Super Mario 64, I never dreamed I would ever be one of the lucky kids to get an N64.
The GameCube was a hard “NO” from my parents, likely because I was glued 24/7 to every iteration of GameBoy and DS that I could get my hands on. When the Nintendo Wii, then called the Revolution, was announced at a summer 2004 E3 conference, I just knew I was going to get my hands on the first ever motion-control based console.
The tech demos showed off The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and Super Mario games in ways that I never could have imagined! Although a lot of it turned out to be a tad bit hyperbole (we never did get to hop into a small ball while holding the Wii Remote and Nunchuck to go into Samus’ morph ball animation), a lot of what the Nintendo Wii had to offer at launch was enough to blow my 14-year-old mind.
I didn’t dream of getting a console at launch, because I knew that if asked my parents to wait in line with me for 12+ hours to get it, that there would be no shot of me getting the Wii ever. After all, if I was willing to wait for over half a day to buy a Nintendo Wii, how unhealthily obsessed with it was I going to be when I actually got it?
I had to play my cards right.
Through Nintendo forums and whispers on AOL Instant Messenger, maaaaybe even a MySpace post or two, I had heard that Target was going to be restocking their Nintendo Wii supplies through the holiday season. Let us now pick back up on where the opening of this piece left off: outside a New York State Target in November of 2006.
It was frigid, as temperatures that early in the morning in Upstate NY range from a “feels like” 10-20 degrees Farenheight. I had no clue what possessed my father to wake up that early with me to wait for three or so hours to pick up a gaming console, but I wasn’t going to complain.
Waiting in the cold was not grueling, all due to the fiery burning passion I had running through my veins to get the next Nintendo console for Christmas. When the doors finally opened, I expected the seven or so other groups I was with to start running toward the electronics department. Instead, my father had struck up a pleasant small talk with many of them as we all calmly proceeded to the back of the store.
The cashier was so friendly for that time of morning, likely being hopped up on all sorts of java and holiday joy. Each group gave their ticket, bought the Nintendo Wii console then and there, and that was that.
Before we left, I realized there was still one Nintendo Wii console left behind the counter. I quickly formulated a plan to surprise my best friend with one by having my father buy it, to be later paid back by my friend’s parents. And WOW was this a thrilling thing. Not only had I gotten my own Christmas present; I’d also snagged one for my friend so we could play online together.
In what must be some sort of twisted commentary on capitalism, I feel that looking back, obtaining the Wii was more exciting than unwrapping it on Christmas day. I still have the same Nintendo Wii hooked up to my TV to this day, and while it may not get as much use as it did back in the Twilight Princess and Super Smash Bros. Brawl days, that magical release month of the Wii will forever live on in my heart.
With any luck, I’ll have children of my own one day that will be so excited about a gift that they have me up at the crack of dawn to get one of the limited supplies. If they’re anything like their father, they will experience the same Christmas magic as I did with the Nintendo Wii.
As for children getting a Nintendo Switch this year, I can only imagine that they’d be just as excited as I was with my Nintendo Wii to own their first ever high-end gaming console. Nintendo seems to have that sort of magical hold over us all, and I wouldn’t change a thing.