(Editor's Note: While this story was submitted to me a bit late, I wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to read it.)
Waiting 6 hours to pre-order a Wii and 3 games. That about sums up my Canadian pre-order experience, but within those 6 hours a whole lot happened. Only 1 other time in my life have I waited in a line for the opening of brick and mortar store, and that was at the Halo 2 midnight launch. The main difference between that time and my pre-order experience was that I was already guaranteed to walk away with what I came for; this time was a little different. Not only was I not guaranteed anything, but here in Canada, pre-orders for both the Wii and PS3 were starting on the same morning. With the catch being that you could only chose one of the two consoles.
As I drove into the parking lot of my original destination at 3:00am, the EB which is 2min from my house, I discovered that this wasn't going be as easy as I had hoped. Standing in front of the outside mall playing hacky sack were a circle of about 10 people, this was not good. After some quick conversation and realizing that there was no way I would get a PS3 pre-order at that store, I left on to the next EB, on the other side of town.
Seven people, sleeping bags, and a guitar. These are the first three things I noticed while stepping out of my car and walking towards the 2nd EB location. This particular store was only accepting five PS3 pre-orders, so I was already too late, but I figured I'd hang around for a bit. After getting myself acquainted with five of the people in line (the first two were in deep sleep within their sleeping bags), I had no desire to go searching anywhere else. I had just accepted the fact that a PS3 pre-order was not in the cards for me, and that I would simply leave with a Wii pre-order. Not to say I had no desire for a Wii, but finding one on launch day without a pre-order shouldn't be much of a problem.
What I was expecting to be a long and boring 5 and a half hour wait turned into one of the most enjoyable experiences I've had in recent memory. Upon talking with these people it was one of the very few instances in my life where I've come into contact with other real gamers, face to face. The first 5 in line showed up at 8pm…8PM! With the stores opening up at 8:30am the next morning, that is a whole 12 and a half hour wait.
Within the group of 7, only 1 was there with the original intention of a Wii pre-order, and every person who got their PS3 slip had no intention of turning around and selling it on launch day. To say the least, these were real gamers, so striking up conversation about anything gaming, was effortless.
A few hours into it I decided to pull out my DS with Mario Kart, and asked if anyone else had brought theirs. To no surprise, two of the people in line for a PS3, pulled out their DS and a copy of the game. I discovered that I was better at Mario Kart then online play would have me to believe, as I completely wiped the floor with both of them during 2 hours of play, but tried my best not to gloat.
One of the inevitabilities of waiting outside in a line for 6+ hours is that eventually, nature calls. I'm not admitting to anything, but needless to say there were people in the line who had waited a total of 12 and a half hours, and at some point they had to go. The bush around the corner beside McDonalds seemed to be the hot spot, no pun intended.
As the day finally broke and the seagulls did their morning routine visit to the parking lot, the store employees arrived and we all made our way into the store. Even though I didn't leave with what I intended to get, I can't help but feel that it was completely worth it for the experience.