The Wii hours

At 2:30 a.m. on December 6, my boyfriend and I started the line in front of a local Wal-Mart to wait for our Nintendo Wii. The store wasn’t to open for another five and a half hours, but we had to be sure.

As the line slowly grew, we met our fellow Wii-wanters—primarily devoted, willingly sleep-deprived parents talking with us through chattering teeth—and realized that of everybody present, only we were fortunate enough ever actually to have played one.

Three weeks earlier, a friend bought a Wii from a scalper and invited us over to play. At the time I couldn’t have cared less, but—I kid you not—it took all of 30 seconds with those two motion-sensor controllers in my hands for me to look over at my boyfriend with a big grin and say, “Honey, we have to get one of these!” I was like a 6-year-old seeing Disneyland for the first time, or like an adult seeing The Matrix for the first time. It was unexpectedly, shockingly entertaining.

The Wii takes your standard two-handed controller and splits it in half; its fairly accurate motion sensors allow you to punch, swing and throw for yourself. You can actually break a sweat playing virtual versions of tennis, baseball, bowling and boxing. You can consider the 250 bucks a personal-fitness investment.

We weren’t comfortable with the ethics of scalping, but without money to throw around, a scalper was not an option anyway. We had considered waiting in line, though, assuming we could sleep in until at least 8 a.m. and then rush to a store. Easy enough, right? I refused to be one of those people who stood in line all night.

Well, “rushing” to the store failed twice, and as time went on and my desire to play “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess” grew stronger, I reconsidered just how early I was willing to get up. And on the fifth, while searching through his favorite gamer Internet forums (where friends of friends of store employees leak tips about impending local sales), my boyfriend learned that Wal-Mart guaranteed that at least three Wiis would be available the next morning.

At 11 p.m., we decided that if we were going to wait in line, we were going to get our Wii. Which meant we were going to be first in line. So there we sat, from 2:30 a.m. until almost 8 a.m., wrapped in blankets and several layers of clothing. And we got our Wii.

Two, actually. At the last minute, we decided to buy another and scalp it ourselves. After sitting in the cold for almost six hours and staying up all night, we figured that asking someone to pay us an extra $100 for the convenience of not having to do that wouldn’t seem at all unethical.