Yesterday, the Nintendo Wii hit the shelves once again...and left just as quickly. Nintendo's latest "relaunch" (store restocking) of the system was once again met with fairly crazy enthusiasm. The Wii might be a bit more available now in more rural areas, but if you're in a city, you should be ready for a prolonged hunt.
I finally got my Wii yesterday morning, and I was lucky. I woke up early and got to the Circuit City in Bergen, New Jersey, around 8:30 a.m., an hour and a half before the store opened. Signs were already posted warning customers that the store was getting only 22 Wiis, and that vouchers would be handed out before the store opened. Sure enough, the store manager soon appeared, accompanied by a security guard, and handed out numbered vouchers. I got voucher number nine, which ensured me a console.
With the vouchers handed out, those in line dispersed to their cars and to nearby coffee shops to get out of the cold. I popped across the street and grabbed some breakfast and returned to the Circuit City around 9:20, 40 minutes before the store opening and 25 minutes before the recommended lineup time. The signs you see on the right are the ones that greeted me when I got there. The Wii was sold out before the store even opened. Thankfully, I had my voucher and walked out of the store an hour later with a new Wii, a copy of Twilight Princess, and a wireless router to bring it online.
In my search for the Wii, I learned something surprising: It's not the only incredibly hard-to-find Nintendo system out there. The Nintendo DS Lite is also absent from most store shelves. It's been well over a year now, but the system is still highly sought after. In a few weeks both systems might be a bit more available, but for now, if you don't have a Wii or a DS Lite, you might have to do some legwork to get one.