Reggie launches Wii in NYC

Midnight launch of Wii at Times Square Toys "R" Us draws thousands; Fils-Aime is big hit with the Nintendo faithful.

NEW YORK--Isaiah "Triforce" Johnson's eyes were feeling heavy, but even after getting little to no sleep over the past few days, the man could not help but smile very early on Sunday morning.

Johnson was sold the first Nintendo Wii at the Toys "R" Us in Times Square after waiting several days outside the retail giant's flagship store. And it wasn't just any normal store employee who rang the register; Reggie Fils-Aime, president of Nintendo of America, did the honors of handing out the first system.

It was the conclusion to a four-hour long launch event staged by Nintendo and officially marked the first time all three next-gen consoles were available at retail.

Susie Castillo talks to some "nongamers" who were entranced by the Wii.

Earlier that evening, the line of gamers waiting to purchase a console hit the corner of the street and wrapped around all four sides of the city block.

Nintendo started its launch festivities at 8 p.m. on 44th Street, which was partially closed off to traffic. A stage was set up in the street, where entertainment ranged from drummer/disc jockey DJ Ravidrums, acrobats AntiGravity, and MTV veejay Susie Castillo.

But the real hit was Fils-Aime, who was welcomed to the stage with chants of "Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!" and "We love you Reggie!" While gamers professed their love for the exec, Fils-Aime gave the usual rah-rah pep talk, and even made a reference to his famous "taking names, making games" speech from the Electronic Entertainment Expo 2005.

Reggie hyped the crowd up.

Unlike the PlayStation 3 launch party--which was limited to a few hundred who lined up for days, each one competing fiercely for a place in line--Nintendo welcomed everyone to their block party. The crowd was incredibly diverse, featuring the mix of people that Fils-Aime claimed the Wii targeted--young, old, casual, and hardcore gamers.

To keep the line entertained, several Wii demo stations were placed right on the sidewalk and gamers entertained themselves and relaxed by trying out titles like Wii Sports and Excite Truck. Nintendo also gave out several Wii-branded knit caps, which gamers wore with pride.

Wii tennis, anyone?

But it wasn't just Nintendo helping the crowd out. A group of visual-arts students were handing out seat cushions, coffee, buttons, and patches to those waiting in line, all in the name of spreading good will.

Behind the scenes, Fils-Aime chatted with the press, talked to fans, and even spent a little bit of time playing the Wii. At one point, he played a round of Wii Sports tennis with a fan in line, which caused a near riot in the streets as fans rushed over to get a closer look at their idol.

Luigi was there. Sort of.

Earlier in the evening, Fils-Aime urged gamers buying Wiis to purchase their consoles in an orderly fashion, and when 12:01 a.m. hit, they obliged. Several registers were open to sell consoles, games, and accessories, and the line moved along at a quick pace.

Overall, the launch appeared to be a big success for Nintendo, with plenty of units on hand for those who waited throughout the launch event. For those who did not have one of the necessary wristbands to buy a console, Nintendo promised that there would still be plenty of additional consoles available today.

Johnson and his personalized Wii.

While Wii fever was almost ubiquitous among those outside the toy store, it didn't quite ring with everyone. One woman walking by Toys "R" Us after the launch asked her friend what everyone was milling around for, then realized it was for the Wii.

"Oh, it's for that dumb game thing," she said.

Apparently Nintendo's quest to make gamers out of everyone still has a way to go.

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Discussion

436 comments
disworldsuckz
disworldsuckz

yea, buddy, i dont think so...u think u can just foul-mouth ur way, but saying things that arent even tru is just f***in retarded. First of all, no one got hurt, but i cant say the same about the PS3 launch. 2nd, ive seen videos of ur brits gettin the wii in stores, and compared to the good ol' U.S of A., u guys went through hell and back, and back again. maybe next time u say somethin, u get ur facts straight. people were jumping and pushing while over here, people waited patiently, and if it ran out, they would know when there will be more. besides, more Nintendo Wiis came out here than in Britain, so u better know wat 2 say b4 sayin it. Bcz damn it, im gettin tired of this crap, people bad-mouthin and thinkin that wat they say is tru. Reality check, U BRITISH SUFFERED A LOT MORE THAN US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! im not sayin it as a good thing, im just sayin the truth. and trust me, im a very avid gamer, and i know a lot about videogames. people were literally running just to get their hands on the Wii, while here, people walked in, thats right, WALKED in and calmly got their Nintendo Wiis, went to the register to buy it, and just left. End of discussion.....enough said, enough said.............

frost_bite333
frost_bite333

WOOOO! Man i pre-ordered my Wi!! I'm In australia and it s coming here dec. 7th!! Stop badmouthing the Wii. U guyz pik out evry little flaw in it. lyk the xbox 360 duzn't hav any crap games. get over it! GO Wii!!!!

9344891
9344891

this looks great fun i hope it is like this in the uk

MarkoWii
MarkoWii

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Omgwtflolzz
Omgwtflolzz

That guy in the Luigi hat... o_O he's stylin' hahah

DAmore_117
DAmore_117

This is exactly what I pictured would happen when they revealed the wii-mote at the TGS. Nintendo PWNS!!!!!!!!!!!!

puttytutty
puttytutty

I know some one who waited in line since 6:00 AM. The crappy part some people bought two. He said he saw siblings buying two some people do not know how to share. Now me and him have to wait like 2-3 days, to buy a Wii!

payback_56
payback_56

This lady i work with was trying to get one for her kid, and went everywhere on launch day, but lines were out the door on sunday moning, then she passed by costco and only saw like 5 people, so she got in line, they said they had 43 on hand, and she was number 6, guess u were just at the wrong store...lol

_Sam_
_Sam_

It seems like a good launch

zero10999
zero10999

I had mine preordered for a while so I didn't have to sleep out, but man does that seem like it was fun. And lol at the random stupid passing woman.

omfg_its_dally
omfg_its_dally

I've waited in line for a Wii two times in the last week ( one on launch day and one on black friday) and I haven't got one yet!!!!!!!!! So what do I do? Ehh they say third time is the charm, I'll see what I can do this week!

jazreal
jazreal

Hey, anything that'll get grandma(they say it will bring us all together) to stop talking about the good ol' days and pick up a controller....there just may something good here.....:) good job and good luck Nintendo...we all owe you at least a nod for helping shape the industry we all claim to love.

iceboxx006
iceboxx006

The wii didn't do so well in my city. i mean it eventually sold out later on in the day, but there were people selling them in the stores for like $175.00-$200.00 and had no one buy them.

Trogeton
Trogeton

The poor little wii, has so few games that has at leas a 8.7... so so sad

caveturd
caveturd

Dang. I want a Wii signed by Reggie... Man... that Johnson dude is so freakin lucky! Although waiting in line PROBABLY helped. Can we still get those Wii caps? I really want one yall. Maybe they sell them on the nintendo website?

siafni
siafni

to skatrbub54 What do I call Zelda? An excellent title...for the Game Cube! Isn't it curious that the Game Cube version has been postponed? The Wii has already been launched in the US, it is going to launch in Japan on December 2nd and in Europe on December 8th. And when is the Game Cube version of Zelda coming out? On December 13th! How convenient! Even the press was puzzeled when they learnt that there would be a Wii version in the first place, and that it would be available before the Cube version. What do I call the other games currently available? Not good reason enough to buy a Wii. As far as I'm concerned, I am going to play The Twilight Princess on the Game Cube where it belongs. I totally agree there is no reason for buying a PS3 right now given the lack of worthy titles, but I can't see why you couldn't say the same thing about the Wii.

jonzilla_basic
jonzilla_basic

One woman walking by Toys "R" Us after the launch asked her friend what everyone was milling around for, then realized it was for the Wii. "Oh, it's for that dumb game thing," she said. Apparently Nintendo's quest to make gamers out of everyone still has a way to go. "Just another ploy for Gamespot to hate up on Nintendo" GO GAMESPOT!!!

jehuteez
jehuteez

maverickexe : ps3 cost a bomb, just because of its blue ray, for a blue ray player alone will cost you $1500 bucks... if you ask me, ps3 + blue ray, just for $600, thats a steal... nintendonerd101 : the reason people sell ps3 at e-bay, is just because, its hard to get, not many of them out there, compare to wii.... and wii is cheap, with a lot of stock, why the hell people wanna sell it at ebay for...? if the cost is the same and the stock is limited, Im sure its gonna be the same like ps3.... make sense to you...? think before y'all say something... bashing a console (any console) is just childish...

MarlonHern
MarlonHern

I can't wait to get my hands on a Wii

Boomarley
Boomarley

I'll personally wait until next year to buy a Wii. That's when the truly awesome games will come out.

Comply
Comply

Issachar said "Now just bring on a killer Mario game and we'll be all set." there has not been a good classic Mario game since Mario 64. I don't count RPG or sport Mario games.

Issachar
Issachar

Id say Nintendo at least had the best launch of the 3. Now just bring on a killer Mario game and we'll be all set.

skatrbub54
skatrbub54

to siafni: no core gamer games? wtf do you call zelda? wtf do you call monkey ball and DBZ? and then theyre comin out with brawl, corruption, galaxy, warioware, resident evil, all the virtual console games, and all teh other games that are coming out that look good. wii is for BOTH categories. also are you kidding wii is in its own gen above the ps3 and 360. its not even a battle between wii and any other because wii is so much better. its only between the ps3 and 360 now. those people who bought a ps3 were no hardcore but stupid for paying 600 for a machine that has no games. wii will dominate

skatrbub54
skatrbub54

the lady who said, "Oh it's for that dumb game thing" is probly a b*tch

siafni
siafni

RE: maverickexe and nintendonedr101 Do not get me wrong guys, I really do sympathize with your passion for Nintendo and your loyalty, and that Reggie guy is a real show men, but despite people selling their brand new ps3 on ebay or the 600 bucks for a ps3 or an xbox360 (assuming one wants the xbox360 also to be able to play hi def movies), we'll see at the end of the day how many hard core gamers were willing to spend thair 600 big ones to properly enter the next gen...I guess you'll eventually have to prise yourselves for being part of an elite...already been there?

nintendonerd101
nintendonerd101

People are saying that Nintendo fans aren't the hardcore gamers, but look at what happened in my local town: At the Wal-Mart I work at, we recieved 8 Playstation 3's with which most of the people who got one were waiting for about 15 hours for (along with about at total of 29 people for the day), and all of the consols but one went on ebay. For the Wii's launch, we got 20 consols and a total of 27 people showed up that day (of which I was one for 14 hours) and everyone who bought the Wii bought it to own and play it, and not a single one was slated for ebay. You tell me who the hardcore gamers here are.

maverickexe
maverickexe

RE: "siafni ...well...it seems to me Nintedo is trying to avoid competition with both Micorsoft and Sony and focusing on casual gamers...I don't see a lot of attention for hard core gamers here...it they had been braver and had built a console as powerful as a ps3 or an xbox adding the new control system...well...that would have been the one to get...too bad...I am really happy with my DS, but I'm kinda disappointed with the wii..." Dude, do you even know what your saying? So, more or less you want nintendo to pretty much be like sony and just try to outdo and slighty copy everyone else, so you can attract the less than 15% of the "Hardcore" gaming community thats willing to pay $600? It's a good thing sony's hiring, they could use another "Smart guy" like yourself with them.

Omega3210
Omega3210

Cabbage9 "Oh, it's for that dumb game thing," "Just like my parents... " oh man...exactly!! I hope that they will get along with the Wii... :D

Cabbage9
Cabbage9

"Oh, it's for that dumb game thing." Just like my parents...

zombiecheese
zombiecheese

I agree the wii looks ace. We havent got the wii here in england yet but i know what u can and cant do even though we havent played it yet. For example how can you give a classic franchise like zelda 8.8 disgraceful.

siafni
siafni

...well...it seems to me Nintedo is trying to avoid competition with both Micorsoft and Sony and focusing on casual gamers...I don't see a lot of attention for hard core gamers here...it they had been braver and had built a console as powerful as a ps3 or an xbox adding the new control system...well...that would have been the one to get...too bad...I am really happy with my DS, but I'm kinda disappointed with the wii...

birdcrap
birdcrap

i thought they would have a lot o wii's for sale, went to 2 stores and they were sold out of wii's and "Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess" games ='(... MII WANT WII!

Lepuke
Lepuke

Dude! Is johnson wearing a Power glove!? lol awesome