A Geek Odyssey: My Scars Tell a Story

I'm the Geek King, and I've got the scars (both physical and mental) to prove it.

If my previous rantings on topics as geek-approved as "Heroes," "Star Wars" etc., I was prepared this weekend to prove my geekitude once and for all. I was getting a Nintendo Wii. Nothing would be allowed to get in my way, by 2am Sunday morning I would be playing the newest creation from the house that Mario built (or is that the house that built Mario?).

There were supposedly plenty to go around for launch day, and I live in semi-rural north Louisiana, so the plan was to get in line at my local Wal-Mart at 9PM Saturday night. I had worked early Saturday morning, so at six o'clock I laid down and tried to nap. After attempting to sleep for an hour and a half, I was too excited to continue to lay there. I called my friend Kyle to come pick me up and go to Wal-Mart. If there was already a line formed we'd join it, if not we'd play some "Guitar Hero" in the electronics department for an hour or so and then join the line.

Kyle happened to be at Wal-Mart already, so he was going to check on the line for us and call me back. He did, and it was bad news. There were 22 systems for sale in Ruston, there were 22 chairs sat out for those waiting on them, and there were 25 people in line. I told Kyle to head to my house and I'd start making phone calls. I called five Wal-Marts in small towns in the area and came up with the following results, two no answers, one non-24 hour a day store (therefore no midnight launch), one with 20 units and 15 people already in line, and one with 20 units and 17 people in line. The 15 person line was thirty minutes away so we hit the road.

Ella decided that to ensure we get a Wii at midnight, she will go to the Jonesboro Wal-Mart. Whichever one snags a spot in line will wait and the other one can head home (have I mentioned that my wife is the coolest woman ever?). Kyle informed me that our friend Casey Franklin was waiting on his Wii in Minden and we decided to call him. Casey was in line at Gamestop across the street from Wal-Mart, but since he already had his Wii fully paid for (therefore, he didn't have to wait in line) he headed to Wal-Mart with Tim Makin to snag us a couple of spots. During all this hubbub, my brother-in-law decides that he should also get a Wii (anticipation and excitement are contagious).

Kyle and I arrive at the Minden Super Wal-Mart at 8:30. Tim has been holding my spot, I take over thanking him profusely and Kyle grabs spot number eighteen for Boyd (my brother-in-law, the new Wii convert). The line of people waiting there couldn't have been nicer. There were a couple of parents (and one grandparent) picking it up for Christmas presents, there were two young boys (12ish) that had saved their own money to pick up the new system, and the rest of the line consisted of people like me guys (and a few girls) in their mid-twenties that had grown up on Nintendo, that were thrilled with the prospect of new adventures with Mario and co.

The folks at Wal-Mart could not have been nicer. They checked (and re-checked) the number of systems, games, and controllers so that everyone could figure out what they needed to purchase. About 9:30 they even gave out bottled water for everyone. There was no animosity (even from those that came late and ended up emptyhanded). Everyone was friendly, and the seasoned gamers (us 20-somethings) gave the Mom's and Grandmom's pointers on what games and accessories to pick up. It was actually a fun way to spend a Saturday night.

By the time midnight rolled around the anticipation could not have been any higher. It took quite a while for all the purchases to be made as there was only one cashier working the line. By the time all 21 systems had been purchased it was after 1:30. My total purchases: One Wii System (including a remote, nunchuck attachment, and Wii Sports), one extra remote, and one extra nunchuck. Kyle picked up a Wii system for Boyd, and for himself got an extra remote and a copy of "Red Steel" a first person shooter. See, that's a really committed friend. Not only did he go along for the ride (and wait) without planning on picking up a system, but he got his own remote for multiplayer gaming and an extra game for us to play together.

The ride back to Ruston from Minden has never been longer than it was that night with, not one, but two Wii systems in my lap. I think if I had any friends that lived in Minden, we just would have went to their house to hook it up immediately. As it turned out I wouldn't get to play immediately when I got home either. While was plugging it up and adjusting the television, my dog decided to run away from Ella. So, at 2am Sunday morning with tempatures hovering around freezing, the Drunken Rogue chased a pit bull/catahoula cur mutt around the cemetery in Ruston, all while the Wii waited patiently in the living room.

We did eventually find Otis, who was very proud of himself for being such a good hider. I completed the setup process, and turned on the Wii. Of course we couldn't play right away, we all had to create our own Mii's (cartoon versions of ourselves to represent us in Wii Sports), as well as download a system update from WiiConnect24.

All the grunt work done, we got down to the business of having fun, and literally played until we fell out, or most of us did anyway. Ella made it until about 5am, Kyle crapped out at 6:30, but the Rogue held strong all night. I met the sun with a Wiimote in my hand, slamming backhands and overhead shots at my computer opponent in Wii Tennis.

We had family responsibilities Sunday, as Boyd was having a special recognition during his Church service, so at 7am I woke Ella up and we started getting ready to head to Bossier. Since Boyd had his own Wii, we didn't have to take it, but we did take both our Wiimotes (if two or three player Tennis is fun, shouldn't four player tennis be even better?).

The service was nice, but my mind kept going over the best strategy for getting a strike in Wii bowling, or what celebrity we should turn into a Mii (Harry Potter was first non-personal creation). Boyd, Tara, Ella and I spent most of the afternoon taking turns at all that Wii Sports has to offer (and it is pretty exhaustive). It was somewhere around 5:30 Sunday afternoon that I started to notice my arm was sore. It felt like tennis elbow at first, but eventually moved into my shoulder as well (I'm sure the eight rounds of Wii Baseball that Boyd and played didn't help).

By the time Ella and I left Bossier it was clear that I was going to be sore the next day. I had no idea exactly how sore. Monday morning the small (and relatively essential) act of raising my right arm was almost impossible. I could move it, but I got pain for my troubles, and it was fairly useless as far as lifting things. It became clear that I would have to limit my playtime Monday night. I did just that. I got in a little time with Madden (still motion controlled, but not quite the workout of Wii Sports) and played a single game of Wii Bowling (I just couldn't help myself). I thought for sure I'd be good as new today, but if anything it was actually worse this morning.

I'm literally so sore that I can't really play the thing today, but I'd have it no other way. It's even more fun than I thought it would be and the potential for the system is incredible. I have a copy of The Legend of Zelda reserved, and as soon as my local store gets a new shipment I'll give you my thoughts on that. Right now I can tell you I'm the most excited I've been about video games since the release of the Super Nintendo (and Super Mario World, which I can now download on my Wii!). The Drunken Rogue is right now, the Deliriously Happy Rogue.