Last week, after a long wait, the copies Iâ€™d ordered of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and WarioWares: Smoothmoves for the Nintendo Wii both turned up in the post. This was followed by my Premium quality Wii RGB SCART cable and a second controller. Awesome! All set for some swinging Wii action.
Well not quite. There was one small problem. I didnâ€™t actually have a Wii console, and to be frank, that rather put a dampner on things. All the games and accessories in the world arenâ€™t going to help you enjoy a console if you donâ€™t actually have one. Itâ€™s kind of fundamental.
I had only got myself to blame. I actually got a chance to play with a Wii at the end of October, a good month and a half before it was officially released in the UK but for some reason I didnâ€™t immediately go out and pre-order one. Big mistake.
Some two months later and my daily routine was being constantly broken up by the need to check on, what on the face of it is a thoughtful, useful web-site â€“ www.wiipreorder.co.uk. But, it is in fact an evil site whose main aim is clearly to raise peopleâ€™s Wii-owning hopes only to dash them cruelly on the rocks of poor availability.
Wii Preorder is a web site that simply lists the stock of all the companies that are selling Wiis online in the UK. Itâ€™s an amazing indication of how successful the Wii launch has been. If you're on the hunt for a Wii, you keep coming back to the site to find that, for example, you just missed out at Amazon, who had stock 10 minutes ago for 17 nanoseconds. Quite frustrating really. It seems that the second a Wii comes into stock in the UK itâ€™s snapped up quicker than a space at an NHS dentist.
So why is it a site of pure evil? One morning I had a quick check of the site on the Mac mini in the bedroom to find that it was in stock at Play.com! Yay! Moments later my order was placed and so I followed this up with orders for games and accessories. However, a couple of days later I suspected something was up â€“ orders on Play normally get sent off quickly but my Wii order was stuck firmly on â€˜Order Takenâ€™. After a week I knew that this actually should read â€˜Piss Takenâ€™. A phone call to Play revealed that as soon as an item comes into stock it gets displayed on the site as available to buy, even if there are many back orders to fulfil. I was back to square one.
There is a happy ending though. Saturday night a week ago a bundle with four games appeared at Game and even though I had two of the games, I succumbed and put the order in. It shouldnâ€™t be a problem though as I should be able to get a refund for those games if I take them to a Game store with the receipt. At least I hope so.
The console actually arrived last Tuesday but I havenâ€™t actually had a chance to unbox it yet. It arrived as I was waiting for the taxi that took me off to a Panasonic Seminar in Milan, Italy.
Entering the rather cool nHow hotel in Milan that evening and what do I see? A Nintendo Wii hooked up to 103 inches of Panasonicâ€™s finest. So letâ€™s get this clear. A device that can output no more than 576i resolution was hooked up to a huge screen that can accept a 1080p signal. And you know what? It looked damn great. All the journalists were playing and no one was complained about the graphics. Ok, one did say that it looked a bit pixelley, but that didnâ€™t stop him from getting stuck in waving that controller in the air like he just didnâ€™t care.