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We wait for Wii (Philly downtown edition)

Vladimir Cole

9:05 AM: Arrival. The first person in line has been there since 6-something in the morning. He's a hardened camper, having already scored a PS3 in the pre-order sale earlier this week. The person directly behind him showed up about an hour after he arrived. By the time I arrived, there were 12 total standing in line. Now, this is GameStop, the place where the hardcore gamer hangs out. The place where "mainstream" never ventures, so we weren't expecting grandmothers or many women in line, but the demographics in this line did nothing to add credence to the idea that this was a mainstream lineup. Of the first 12, 2 were women, one of whom was holding a place until her little brother showed up to claim it.

The rest of the liners-up are male, aged 18 to 35. Several are Drexel students and unabashed "Nintendo Fanboys." "I've never owned a system other than Nintendo and never will," proclaimed one mohawked, unemployed art school graduate. He was cool though: he offered to do a Dunkin' Donuts run for all of us.

9:30 AM: The line has 15 people now. I ask the dude behind me (sophomore majoring in Chemical Engineering at Drexel) if he planned to buy a PS3. "Naw, I don't have that kinda money," he said, twice.

9:35 AM: A passerby asks, "This for the new PlayStation?"

Someone in the crowd says, "No, Nintendo."

Passerby says, "Oh, they got a new one?"

9:45 AM: The line has grown considerably. It's at about 20 people now. Another passerby walks by and asks, "What come out today?"

"Nintendo Wii," says one of the liners-up.

"New game?"

"No, Nintendo's new system," says someone in the line.

"What system is that?" asks the passerby.

"Nintendo Wii," says someone in line.

"Oh yeah?" says the passerby, who then finally passes by.

10:00 AM: The store manager says she's taking pre-orders for 32 systems today. As of 10AM, there are about 27 people in line. The store opens, and customers are let in two at a time.

10:25 AM: I place my order: Nintendo Wii and Zelda. A casual poll of others in the line indicates that my order was very similar to what they planned to place. Zelda was the big hit, plus random mentions of other games: Metroid, Madden, Smash Brothers. As I leave the store I count again and determine that there's still about eight spots for people to walk up and join the line. They'll likely be sold out of pre-orders by 11am.

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