It’s like gold dust, or some kind of platinum covered Dodo. No matter how hard you hunt, the Nintendo Wii seems extinct in the jungle we call the high street. OK, enough analogy.
You want a Wii, and we want you to find one. So here’s our guide to securing a Wii this Christmas.
The least likely place to find a games console is the supermarket. Why? Because you buy food there, silly. Not electronics. But with today’s megamarts packing everything from school clothes to pet insurance, they’re actually a good place to look.
Aim for the massive stores, not the dinky Tesco Metros in town. Tesco itself has a catalogue service, similar to Argos, where it lists all its stock but Asda and Sainsbury’s are good bets too. Our tip is to just turn up. Befriend a supermarket employee, find out when they get new stock in. Get a tent (aisle three), sleep outside.
With the main Wii-selling shops, like Currys, HMV, Game et al, selling out of Wiis every time a human being blinks, you could have them let you know when new stock arrives. Most of the high street shops have websites which can alert you to this rare event, as does wii-consoles.co.uk, but they operate on a first-come first-served basis. So, as soon as that alert email hits your inbox, hot-foot it down there. Online shops like Dixons and Amazon are doing the same so keep your mouse button-finger nimble.
'Every time we receive stock of the Wii in it’s like Christmas all at once,' says deVere Forster e-commerce director at Dixons.co.uk. 'The rush is phenomenal. When we had stock in last week, it sold out within minutes.'
'We’ll have new stock every week between now and Christmas, and will be sending out notices to customers right up to the 18th December, to ensure delivery by Christmas Eve.'
Buying one second hand seems obvious, but don't use eBay. That’s right, don't use it. Currently, prices are around the £200 – £250 mark on there. We know you need one, but bear with us before you go bidding your pounds away.
Check your local paper, see if there are any ads in there. Try ad-happy, multi-coloured selling paper Loot. Or how about your intranet at work? Perhaps someone is selling one on there. You could also try Gumtree, or other free online selling spots – your local paper probably has something similar online. Ask family and friends, you just never know. There’s always the Amazon marketplace, but it’s eBay-like, so take heed; prices may be steep there too.
Importing is tricky as you need to be ultra-prepared. If you buy an NTSC Wii (ie from Japan or America) you’ll need a step-down converter to ensure the Wii works in the UK, and doesn’t blow up.
You’ll also have to buy your titles from import sites, no nipping into HMV for a quick new game. Though you could use Freeloader, a legal hack disc to allow Wii’s to play games from any region.
Up sides to importing: games come out in America and Japan sooner, and they’re cheaper. Down sides: you’ll likely be charged VAT when importing your Wii, you’ll have no warranty and it won’t connect to the internet.
You could try buying a new UK Wii power supply for your imported Wii instead of a step-down. But we haven't tried this yet, so there's no guarantee.
Cunning Stuff reader David Stansfield wrote to tell us he bought his Wii from Amazon.de – the German Amazon – with no problems at all. All he had to do was change the plug fitting, which, as well know, is really easy.Win One
The only thing better than buying that rare Wii, is winning one. For nothing. Enter every competition you can; the more you play the higher your chances of winning. And where do you start? With Stuff's exclusive Christmas Wii competition, that's where.
Make Your Own
The homemade Wii has many advantages: it’s cheap, it can look very authentic (wood, cardboard and poster paint), or it can be very tasty (flour, eggs, caster sugar, icing). It can also be any colour you like, something Nintendo has yet to catch on to. The downside is that it won’t be real. But if you don’t think about that, it won’t be a problem.