Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Journey to Switch

I know, I know, I haven't been posting much lately. Life has been getting in my way for quite awhile now, and honestly I haven't had a whole lot of time to do much of anything else. With all the storms rolling in and things I've had to deal with at work, video games have been the last thing on my mind -- except for the Nintendo Switch! Yes, that's right I actually managed to get one during the release weekend, but I can say this is the most trouble I've gone through for any system. Sure Nintendo announced that they would have enough to meet demand at launch, but the reality of that is... It all depends on the area you are in, and how many people want it. This is something I learned the hard way, and I'm still in shock that I got one. So, just how did I get my hands on it? Well, it wasn't easy.

The day the Switch came out was a day I had to work (Friday). I missed out on preordering the Switch because I was under the impression that preorders would go up much later (thank you Nintendo of Japan!), and when they did go live I was already asleep. The very next day I did try to secure one at multiple online stores, but each and every time I tried I would either be met with a sold out screen, or my order would fail to process after I hit send. I ended up having to give up on preordering the console, and then I moved onto my Plan B -- to go to the store and get it day one. Well, as I just mentioned, I had to work on release day and leaving to go get one was out of the question. Thankfully there were many in stock in the stores around me, and all I had to do was wait till lunch to run out and grab it. Then every store sold out roughly 15 minutes before I could leave... Yep.

After that didn't work, my next idea was to try to send family members after a unit close by them in other towns. A few stores like Target still had them in stock, so I had a good chance of getting one from them. During my lunch hour I sent out some texts and searched online to see everywhere that had it, but not long after my search began, it also ended. Again everywhere was sold out, and I had to call the whole thing off yet again. This was a pattern that would then continue on throughout the entire day, with me and other family members checking and calling every store we could possibly find -- all of them were sold out with no estimate on when they would get another shipment in... We had all failed. The next day I was still determined to find the thing. I started researching the same stores to check if any restocked, but sadly they were all still sold out. Once again I was getting ready to give up for the weekend, but that's when a phone call to Toys R Us told me that they had them in stock!

Rushing out the door as fast as I could, I quickly got in the car and began my 1.5 hour drive to the one and only Toys R Us in my "area." I hopped on the interstate, raced as fast as I could up there, and as I got closer the idea popped into my head to call once again to double check. The reply I heard? "WE ARE SOLD OUT!" Yes, that's right, sold out. I had driven all that way for nothing, and shortly after I was turning off on an exit, and then getting back on to head home. Needless to say, I was pretty let down by the news, but there was nothing I could do. Except, call again that is.

Not sure why I decided to call back, but I did, and this time the reply was different -- there was actually one left in stock! I have no idea why the previous guy told me they were sold out (maybe there was an extra one in the back they didn't know about or something), but he was wrong and I once again had a shot at getting the thing... The only problem being by that point I had already passed the closest exit, and I had to go quite a ways to turn back around. This whole process ended up taking about 30 minutes to get back to where I originally was. Ah well, no big deal right? Ha, yeah right.

Running into Toys R Us as fast as I could (a store I hadn't been in since I bought Mega Man X7 there 11 years ago), I made my way around the familiar shelving in the toy section, and made my way down the main path towards the electronics. The first thing I noticed was the lack of Nintendo Switch stuff around, and after giving up on searching for it myself I asked the first worker I saw. "Do you have the Nintendo Switch?" Hope still burning... "Oh, you don't? Darn, well thanks." I was crushed. Turns out the last unit sold roughly 10 minutes before I walked in. Considering I was delayed by roughly 30 minutes because they originally told me they didn't have one, I wasn't happy at all. I ended up wasting around 2 hours total to get to the store, burned quite a bit of gas, and found out I missed getting the last one by a very short window. So... I went onto plan C... Something I had never done before.

According to the workers in Toys R Us (and online research), Toys R Us was holding back Switch units to be sold on Sunday, and that anyone who wanted to get one should show up early and line up outside the building. Considering the store opened at 10 AM and that the store was roughly an hour and a half from my house... It really didn't seem like it was even worth trying for... So I woke up early and went for it anyway!

When I got to the store there were about 5 others waiting, so I sat down as number 6. One guy heard rumors that they had quite a few in stock, and shortly after a worker was out to hand us our tickets. At that moment, the Switch was mine! They had around 10 colored units left (red and blue joy con) and 10 or so of the standard gray, but what I saw next basically insured no one else would get them. As those of us in line got up and walked into the building, a van pulled into the parking lot, and a group of scalpers rushed in behind us. As we picked out any games and accessories we wanted to go with our Switch, they were ready to clean out the store... Thankfully they weren't allowed to buy anything until the rest of us got what we came for, but it was still sad to see people doing this just to make a cheap buck.

With all of that said and done, I was finally able to head home with the console I had been waiting for. It might've taken all weekend to get to that moment, but looking back I'd say it was worth it. While not all of it may have been a good memory at the time, I think one day in the future I'll be able to look back on this and remember it as one. It was an adventure, I got to spend time with family that helped me track it down, and I got to start a brand new adventure in The Legend of Zelda. Currently I'm looking forward to what this console's future has in store, and I can't wait till I can start talking about the Switch more here on NGR.