It’s easy to hop into a local haunt to grab Super Mario Galaxy, but this is no ordinary game. Super Mario Galaxy is the biggest Wii release this year. I wanted to see just how excited gamers were about it and there is no better place to find out than the heart of Tokyo’s video scene, Akihabara.
The adventure begins 9:18 AM in Shibuya…
I arrived in Akihabara at 9:47 AM and things are tame. It is Thursday morning and most people are probably at work. But the hardcore fans should be lining up right? This is Super Mario Galaxy after all! As soon as I step off this escala-walkway I’m probably going to be waiting in a long line to get the game. I’m glad I brought my DS. Maybe someone will play Tingle’s Balloon Fight with me to pass the time.
Wow! That looks like a long line, I better snoop around for another place to… oh wait… that’s for the pachinko parlor. Besides this line Akihabara is a ghost town. Most stores are closed and they don’t have people loitering outside waiting for them to open.
Here we go! People are lining up for something at a video game store, but the dudes in front don’t want Super Mario Galaxy. They’re waiting for Ace Combat 6, which just came out today too. Surprised? I was. Ace Combat 6 is considerably bigger in North America and Europe, but I guess the fans in Japan can’t wait to get their hands on it.
Nothing is really going on so I went to Yodabashi Camera to pick up my copy. Seventh floor… video games. I hop into line and notice a number of people are buying Ace Combat 6 and other Xbox 360 games. It isn’t hard to identify them because people are carrying the green DVD cases in line. One person way ahead of me is buying Microsoft’s CERO Z bundle (Gears of War / Dead Rising), a few are buying marketplace points and only a handful of people are purchasing Super Mario Galaxy. There isn’t a shortage of Wiis here either. Two people in a row bought a Wii and a slim, ceramic white PSP. Yodabashi Camera is healthily stocked with copies of Super Mario Galaxy and I don’t think anyone will have a problem getting it even if they didn’t reserve it.
Maybe Softmap will have more of a Super Mario Galaxy Crowd… Nope. That’s a quick snapshot of the display, but the store is rather empty. No one is even buying Ace Combat 6 here!
So what’s the lesson? Unlike the long lines of people who wait for Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy few people are skipping out on work to grab Super Mario Galaxy. This doesn’t mean Super Mario Galaxy isn’t going to sell. I bet tons of people after work are going to pick up Super Mario Galaxy today. It’s raining after all and what's better than staying indoors vegging out on Super Mario Galaxy? However, there wasn’t an air of anticipation for Super Mario Galaxy either. Perhaps, the majority of people reserved the game to avoid the hassle of waiting in a line. No long lines or rabid fans. In hindsight I’m happy about this!
Super Mario Galaxy get!