As I anxiously awaited the arrival of my Xbox One to be delivered to my door on November 22, I started to reminisce about the eclectic and memorable experiences I had as I doggedly pursued console availability during the previous video game generation. I didn't manage to acquire any of the three major consoles on launch day, but I did purchase them within their respective launch windows. As I peered into the archived recesses of my memory, I noticed that each console is accompanied by a unique story. So as I waited for my doorbell to ring, thus ringing in the next-generation of games for my household, I decided to reflect upon and share my memories from 7 to 8 years ago; the days I got my hands on the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii.
Xbox 360I originally did not intend to get an Xbox 360 when it launched. At $400, it was a steep price to justify a purchase, especially with the wife. I had resolved within myself to make due without it despite the fact it was what I had been waiting for; it was the reason why I bought an HD television a few years earlier; and it was the machine that was going to play a Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion in just a few months after its release (without having to purchase a new PC). Almost every new video game console launches during the bustle and temptation of the holiday buying season. Video game manufacturers wickedly time the release of their new toys to be close to Christmas, and in 2005, I agreed to help a few people acquire a 360 to give as gifts. After committing to help my brother get a 360 for his son for Christmas, I started scouring the internet for information regarding the availability of the highly coveted and hard to find game system. I would wake up earlier than normal to check the web, or go to retailers such as Target and Walmart when they would open for the day. The day I purchased an Xbox 360 for my brother was the day I arrived at Walmart a few minutes after they opened. There was already a man walking out of the store, happily with an Xbox in his hands. I knew at that moment I had arrived at the right time in the right place. This was the first 360 I purchased for someone other than myself. The second Xbox 360 I purchased was for my wife's co-worker who wanted to give the system to her son-in-law for Christmas. In my fanatical persistence to keep updated on the system's local retail availability, I would check every major electronic store's website first thing in the morning, including the now defunct Circuit City. One morning I awoke to a big surprise: Circuit City snuck in a few Xbox 360s on their website early that morning, and I jumped on the chance to purchase one... again for someone else. I think my wife felt a little bad for me acquiring 360s for everyone but myself, so she gave me her consent to go out and find another for our household. I don't remember the day I finally purchased my first 360 as vividly as with the previous two, but I do remember that I got it in December before Christmas at Best Buy. In fact, I believe my hampered recollection is due to how easily I acquired it. I just walked in the store and picked one up.
WiiOriginally, I didn't intend to purchase a Wii. I had never owned a Nintendo console other than a Gameboy Advance, so I was not very familiar with the brand's gaming franchises. However, my wife was fascinated with the idea of gaming without the fuss of learning complicated button configurations on a controller, and she enjoyed the prospect of bowling with a motion controller. Because of this appeal, our attention was redirected toward finding a Wii in early 2007. The Nintendo Wii set a precedent when it was released; although many video game consoles are difficult to acquire at launch, never before had a console remained consistently out of stock for so many months after its initial launch like the Wii. As a result of its elusiveness, some retailers were announcing stock replenishments in Sunday circular ads. Hopeful Wii purchasers would line-up outside of their local electronic stores on early Sunday mornings, vying for one of the coveted vouchers which guaranteed procurement. On a Sunday morning in early 2007, I attended one of these Black Friday-like events at my closest Circuit City. When I arrived, the line outside of the store was already long, and my optimism quickly waned. I tenaciously pushed forth and secured my spot in line, nonetheless. A few minutes before the store opened, an individual began yelling out to everyone waiting in the line past a certain point that they didn't have enough Wiis for everybody. I was only a few people behind the last to get one of those prized vouchers. As the crowd disbanded, many turned toward the store's entrance and jeered and cursed at the employees in their disappointment. I remember sitting in my car disheartened, yet ruminating about my next move. My attention quickly turned to Best Buy down the freeway in the next city, where it was also announced as having a Wii stock replenishment that day. Without much hope since the store's opening minutes had already transpired, I decided to check out Best Buy. When I arrived, there was a large group of people still outside of the entrance waiting for their chance to get a Wii. Slavishly, I decided to join them. I was only there for a few minutes when a store employee announced to the crowd that they had enough Wiis for everyone. Once inside of the store, I noticed it was like a maze with displays containing Wii games and accessories creating a path for shoppers to follow. The path ended, fittingly, at the cash register. I walked out with my console, a copy of WarioWare: Smooth Moves, and a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. My wife quickly became of a fan of Smooth Moves, and she became the expert bowler she always wanted to be.
PlayStation 3In 2007, HD DVD was all but dead and Blu-Ray had clearly emerged triumphantly over its technological rival. Since we had an HD DVD player for our Xbox 360, we were faced with this stark reality: it was time to move on from HD DVD and purchase a Blu-Ray player. Unfortunately, Blu-Ray players were very expensive in 2007, and the PlayStation 3 was still $500 at retail. It wasn't until the end of the year when a conflation of variables coalesced together to compel us to finally invest in the PS3. My wife's proclivities toward watching and owning the latest movies proved to be a huge contributing factor in buying the PS3. I remained resistant because of the lack of compelling game software at the time and its exorbitant price, but when my PS2 died leading up to my birthday in 2007, I found myself looking to replace my fallen console. At the same time, my wife wanted a Blu-Ray player, and the PS3 was one of the cheapest on the market. Unfortunately, Sony had decided to phase out the launch 60 gigabyte version of the PS3 which was still backward compatible with PS2 games, but Gamestop was offering enticing bundle deals to liquidate their stock. The pressure was on, and my birthday was approaching fast. We decided to break down and purchase the PS3 bundle from Gamestop to satisfy these three aspirations: to replace my PS2; to provide my wife the affordable Blu-Ray player she desired; and to provide me with a birthday gift. I even got a free copy of Resistance: Fall of Man as part of the deal.
Part of the enjoyment of the video game hobby transcends just playing the games; it involves the endless amount of good memories the hobby inspires. No matter the platform or platforms one buys, or the diversity of gaming preferences there are, every gamer has good memories about the games they play and the consoles they own. No doubt many have unique and unforgettable launch memories, as well. Every console launch period is a special and crazy period for the industry and its fans, one that is sure to elicit stories worth telling. So what are your video game console launch stories? Please feel free to share in the comments section below.